THE PORTRAIT OF A WISE CHILD

BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO

“Then Hiram king of Tyre answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon: because the LORD loves His people, He has made you king over them. Hiram also said: blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who made heaven and earth, for He has given King David a wise son, endowed with prudence and understanding, who will build a temple for the LORD and a royal house for himself!” (2 Chron 2:11-12, NKJV).

It takes wisdom to build. And for the assignment of building a temple for the Lord and a royal palace, it requires nothing less than prudence and understanding. And God’s candidate for this assignment was Solomon, an embodiment of wisdom and understanding. Prov 24:3-4 says, “A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense. Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables” (NLT). Solomon had what it took to build. Fools pull down their lives, homes, business, etc. but the wise build.  “A wise woman builds her house; a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands” (Prov 14:1, NLT).

Solomon was a wise son; he inherited wisdom from David who was a wise person. On more than one occasion, the Bible records that David behaved himself wisely before Saul. This was a manifestation of his wisdom. “And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and Jehovah was with him. And when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he stood in awe of him” (1 Sam 18:14-15, ASV).

David did not cease to behave himself wisely; he continued to do so and even behaved more wisely. 1Sam 18:30 says, “Then the princes of the Philistines went forth: and it came to pass, as often as they went forth, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul; so that his name was much set by” (ASV). Compare that testimony to what Samuel said about Saul in 1 Sam 13:13: “And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly; thou hast not kept the commandment of Jehovah thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would Jehovah have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever” (ASV). David behaved himself wisely before Saul but Saul behaved himself foolishly before God and lost the throne.

My focus in this message is a wise child. I want to show you the characteristics of a wise child. You can be a wise person and raise a wise child to take over from you as it was in the case of Solomon. Even David, his father, testified to Solomon’s wisdom even before the encounter with God at Gibeon where, I believe, God took him to a higher level of wisdom. Hear what David said to him while telling him what to do to those who were his enemies but whom he didn’t kill during his reign: “Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to Sheol in peace” (1 Kings 2:6, ASV). Did you see that he didn’t tell him the details of what to do or how to go about eliminating this enemy and other persons he mentioned? Why? Because you don’t have to give a wise child all the details of the assignment you want him to do. Just give him a hint and he knows what you’re talking about. You may not tell him all that is in your heart; he can understand it.

At Gibeon, Solomon demonstrated his wisdom in asking for wisdom above any other thing. He knew the importance of wisdom and what difference wisdom can make in the life of a person especially in leadership. In the dream he had, he prayed: “O LORD my God, now you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am among your own chosen people, a nation so great they are too numerous to count! Give me an understanding mind so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great nation of yours?’” (1 Kings 3:7-9, NLT).

Verses 10-14 tell us God’s response to Solomon’s request:  “The Lord was pleased with Solomon’s reply and was glad that he had asked for wisdom. So God replied, ‘Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people and have not asked for a long life or riches for yourself or the death of your enemies — I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding mind such as no one else has ever had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you did not ask for — riches and honor! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! And if you follow me and obey my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life’” (NLT).

Solomon was wise that was why he asked God for wisdom when He told him to ask for anything. A foolish person would have had no appreciation for wisdom. According to Prov 18:2, “A fool hath no delight in understanding, but only that his heart may reveal itself” (ASV). Wise people appreciate the importance of wisdom and value wisdom wherever they see it. They will pay any price to get wisdom and understanding. As said in Prov 4:7, “Wisdom (is) the principal thing; (Therefore) get wisdom; Yea, with all thy getting get understanding” (ASV). Prov 24:7 says, “Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate” (ASV).  The Bible also says, “Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.” (Prov 17:24, NKJV). According to Prov 13:16, “Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly” (KJV).

It takes wisdom to appreciate wisdom. God took note of Solomon’s choice and gave him wisdom which he requested for and what he didn’t even ask God for. “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea-shore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east, and all the wisdom of Egypt” (1 Kings 4:29-30, ASV). Solomon was a wise son and he became a wise king. Verse 1 Kings 4:34 goes ahead to testify to how famous he became for his wisdom: “And there came of all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom” (ASV). That was a good testimony about Solomon. Solomon ruled the kingdom in unparalleled wisdom until he began to desire and acquire foreign women who stole his heart from God and he derailed.

The fame of Solomon spread abroad because of his outstanding wisdom. When the Queen of Sheba heard about Solomon’s wisdom, she came to confirm the report she had received and she was dumbfounded. Having seen all, she said, “And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not their words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it; and, behold, the half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me: thou exceedest the fame that I heard. Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, that stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom. Blessed be Jehovah thy God, who delighted in thee, to set thee on his throne, to be king for Jehovah thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever, therefore made he thee king over them, to do justice and righteousness” (2 Chron 9:5-8, ASV). So impressed by all that she saw which was far above what she had been told, she  gave Solomon a hundred and twenty talents of gold and great abundance of spices and precious stones.

Wise father, foolish son

But you may be a wise father and have a foolish son succeed you as it was in the case of Rehoboam who did not appear to have inherited wisdom from his father. Through his wisdom, Solomon retained the kingdom he inherited from his father but through folly, his own son, Rehoboam, presided over the division of the kingdom.

Because of Rehoboam’s foolishness in handling the request of the people to reduce the burden placed upon them by his father, he lost the throne. It was foolishness that made him despise the counsel of the elders who had served his father. He rather went with the advice of the young people like him. “So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king bade, saying, come to me again the third day. And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the counsel of the old men which they had given him, and spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, my father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. So the king hearkened not unto the people; for it was a thing brought about of Jehovah, that he might establish his word, which Jehovah spake by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. And when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, what portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents. But as for the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them” (1 Kings 12:12-17, ASV).

There are many sons and daughters today that are like Rehoboam. They will reject wise counsel because they are not wise and consequently waste their inheritance. There is no future for a child who rejects wisdom and despises understanding. Prov 24:3-5 says, “Through wisdom is a house builded; and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge are the chambers filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong; Yea, a man of knowledge increaseth might” (ASV).

Eccl 4:13 says, “Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished” (KJV). That tells us how important wisdom is even for kings. A poor and a wise child is better than a king who is foolish and will not receive advice.

 In this message, I want to quickly highlight the characteristics of a wise child. What the Bible says about sons in the scriptures I am going to to be making reference to is also true about daughters. What he says about sons, he is also says about daughters. Any son or daughter who manifests these qualities could be said, by Bible standard, to be a wise son or a wise daughter.

1. A wise son or daughter keeps the law. This includes the law of God in the Bible and societal laws. Prov 28:7 says, “Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father” (KJV). And no child will cause shame to his parents and excel in life. He’ll serve other children who obey the law and bring honour to their parents. Prov 17:2 says, “A servant that dealeth wisely shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part in the inheritance among the brethren” (ASV).

Left to children, they want to do what please them. They want to do what seem right in their own eyes. This is a recipe for anarchy. That is why parents are there to set standards and to teach them to obey the laws of God in the Bible and be obedient to rules set anywhere they find themselves otherwise the law will take its course – they will be punished.

The children of Israel were in a situation in the Bible where everybody did what seemed right in his eyes. “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg 17:6, NKJV). Judg 21:25 also records: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (NKJV). Yet many years before then, God had warned the children of Israel: “Today you are doing whatever you please, but that is not how it will be when you arrive in the place of rest the LORD your God is giving you” (Deut 12:8-9, NLT).

Even if in the time of the judges there was no king, Israel had the King of kings as their leader who had given them His laws as regards what to do and what not to do. Each one had no excuse to do what seemed right in his or her eyes. They could be righteous in their eyes but their self righteousness was no better than a filthy rag  (Is 64:6).  But Prov 30:12 says, “There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness” (NKJV).

God has instituted human authority to set rules and standards on His behalf for smooth and proper conduct of human affairs. A wise child should obey all rules and regulations put in place by civil authorities as long as they do not violate the supreme laws of God. It is in the interest of every child to do so. It is also advisable for a wise child to have nothing to do with anyone who deliberately walks against authorities because such a person is invariably in opposition to God.  Rom 13:1-7 says, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.  For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.  For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.  Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor” (NKJV).

God’s instruction is very clear about obeying authorities – a child should not disobey authorities. Children who disobey are saying they are not accountable to the authorities, and therefore not accountable to God. God becomes the enemy of such a person! 1 Peter 2:13-17 says, “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme,  or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men — as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (NKJV). Simple and clear!

As a child, God expects you to be accountable to your parents – you are to obey them.   “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth’” (Eph 6:1-3, NKJV). Exo 20:12 and Deut 5:16 say a similar thing. Hear also what Col 3:20 says: “Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord”  (NKJV).

Children who habitually disobey their parents are rebellious and bring a curse upon themselves; a sorrowful future awaits them. “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy” (Prov 29:1, KJV).  Only wise children who obey the law will be happy. Those  who disobey will suffer the punishment for disobedience. “Happy Is He Who Keeps the Law. He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy” (Prov 29:1, NKJV). Hear also Prov 29:18: “When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is happy” (NLT).

2. A wise son or daughter will listen to his father’s and mother’s instructions. This is related to the first point discussed. Both parents have a responsibility in training their children (Prov 1:8, 4:1-4, 6:20).

Prov 13:1 says, “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke” (NKJV). The word instruction here also means discipline. “A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline; a young mocker refuses to listen” (Prov 13:1, NLT). A wise child will not reject his or her father’s or mother’s discipline because discipline of a child is part of a parent’s responsibility. Prov 29:17 says, “Discipline your children, and they will give you happiness and peace of mind” (NLT).  The converse is also true. Don’t discipline your children and they will give you sorrow and lack of peace of mind.

Failure to discipline a child is a clear violation of the Word of God because God knows children will not turn out well on their own without discipline. They must be instructed; they must be disciplined. Prov 23:13-14 says, “Don’t fail to correct your children. They won’t die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death”(NLT).  Even the Bible recommends physical punishment where necessary as part of the process of raising one’s child. This is notwithstanding what law says in some societies. Prov 20:30 says, “Physical punishment cleanses away evil; such discipline purifies the heart” (NLT). Prov 22:15 says a similar thing: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him” (NKJV). Refusing to beat your child to correct or discipline him or her is contrary to the Word of God. The Bible knows that there are certain things our children will not get or do right except we apply the rod of correction. Prov 29:15 says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom; but a child left to himself causeth shame to his mother” (ASV). Don’t leave your child to himself or herself.

Our children don’t have to enjoy being disciplined. Parents also may not enjoy doing it but all the same parents have a responsibility to discipline their children and where necessary apply the rod of correction. Heb 12:11 says, “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening — it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (NLT).  To withhold the rod of discipline is to destroy your child. That does not however mean that a child should be beaten just for every misbehavior or be beaten without regard for his or her safety. You don’t beat a child to the point of injuring or killing him or her. That will be child abuse; that will be criminal. The Bible says, “Chastise your son while there is hope for him, but be careful not to flog him to death” (Prov 19:18 New English Bible).

Wise children will cooperate with their parents knowing the discipline they administer is for their own good. “But the wise, when rebuked, will love you all the more” (Prov 9:8, NLT). Because wise children don’t reject discipline, they learn and thereby become wiser. No one hates discipline and become wiser. “To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction” (Prov 12:1, NLT) But foolish children will not heed the instruction or discipline of their parents. They’ll not respond to their words of wisdom; they’ll rather react against it. Prov 23:9 says, “Speak not in the hearing of a fool; for he will despise the wisdom of thy words” (ASV).

Some children reject discipline and walk out on their parents. They grumble and say that their parents are archaic; they’re not civilized or they don’t know what is in vogue. That’s foolishness.  Do you know as much as your parents in the school of life? “A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent” (Prov 15:5, KJV). Rebellious children always think they can handle their lives themselves. They assume everybody is wrong and they’re right. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise” (Prov 12:15, KJV). Every child who rejects discipline lives to regret it later in life. “I wish I had listened to my parents,” is their usual refrain.

3. A wise son or daughter makes his or her parents glad. Prov 10:1 says, “The proverbs of Solomon: A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother” (NKJV). Prov 15:20 says a similar thing. “A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother” (NKJV). Wise children will always do what will make their parents happy. They seek to rejoice the heart of their parents. Prov 23:24 says, “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; and he that begetteth a wise child will have joy of him” Wise children don’t want to hurt their parents. They avoid what can make them feel disappointed. They make their parents proud. They have no regret giving birth to them.

The desire of every parent is to have children who are wise because they know that such children will make them glad. Such children will bring honour to them and the family. Wise children are considered a blessing by their parents but not so foolish children. They are a curse rather than a blessing. “A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him” (Prov 17:25, ASV). He is a disaster to the father and the mother. He daily causes them pain and there is always the fear of the next foolish thing he’ll do. Prov 19:13 says, “A foolish son is the calamity of his father…” (ASV) “A foolish son is the ruin of his father…” (Prov 19:13 NKJV). Foolish children don’t add value to the family; they are a minus. What joy do the parents of foolish children have? It takes divine intervention to change them and that is the most important daily prayer of their parents – that is if they have not yet given up on them. “It is painful to be the parent of a fool; there is no joy for the father of a rebel” (Prov 17:21, NLT). Your children will not become rebellious in Jesus’ name. Your children will give you joy; they will not cause you pain.

4. A wise son or daughter is hard working. Prov 10:5 says, “A wise youth works hard all summer; a youth who sleeps away the hour of opportunity brings shame” (NLT). Look at the contrast between a wise son and the other son who sleeps when he is supposed to be working. There is a time to work and a time to sleep. A child who sleeps at the wrong time is a foolish child. The Bible says the glory of young men is their strength (Prov 20:29). Unfortunately, the youth in Pro 10:5 is not deploying his strength towards productive ventures. Such a lazy child will end in poverty. He cannot make it in life because in the equation of success in life, hard work (diligence) is a constant!

Prov 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty” (NKJV). You cannot make it in life if, as a child, you fail to apply yourself to hard work. Please take note of the second part of Prov 10:5. It says, “but those who sleeps away the hour of opportunity brings shame.” Shame is the reward of the foolish child who sleeps away in the hour of opportunity. That is talking of those who failed to take advantage of opportunities. Fools waste opportunities but the wise take advantage of them. That is why the Bible says, “So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do” (Eph 5:15-17, NLT). The Contemporary English Version says, “Act like people with good sense and not like fools. These are evil times, so make every minute count. Don’t be stupid. Instead, find out what the Lord wants you to do.”

 The slothful will never make it in life and that is why the Bible does not spare the slothful. Prov 18:9 says,  “He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer” (NKJV). Prov 12:24 says, “The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor” (NKJV). That means that the diligent will have the upper hand.

Jesus said in Luke 2:49: “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’” (NKJV). He said again in John 5: 17, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working’” (NKJV). No lazy child will make it in life who says because his father has worked or is working that excuses him from hard work. Jesus didn’t show us that example. His Father worked and he worked.

Prov 22:29 says, “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (KJV). That  means that a man who excels and is sharp, skillful and expert in his work will serve kings and not ordinary, common, undistinguished or obscure people. Wise children will give themselves to hard work not day dreaming or living off their father’s wealth. Children that will fulfill their destinies will not be sleeping while their colleagues are working. “The desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor” (Prov 21:25, NKJV).

If you talk to a foolish child who is sleeping when he is supposed to be working, he is likely going to tell you, “Leave me, I know what I am doing.” But that is what fools usually say. They always feel they know what they are doing and it is always a difficult thing to make them realize their folly. The lazy child is wiser is his own eyes but he is just being a fool. Prov 26:16 says, “The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason” (KJV). He is a fool who worships his ideas and never considers others’ advice.  That is “Mr. Know-it-all.” Prov 28:26 says, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool; But whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered” (ASV). Prov 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise” (KJV). Children who have this kind of mindset are fools and will wreck their life if they don’t repent.

But this is God’s counsel to every sleeping, lazy child: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man” (Prov 6:6-11, KJV).

CONCLUSION: Pov 23:15-16 captures the desire of every right thinking parent:  “My child, how I will rejoice if you become wise. Yes, my heart will thrill when you speak what is right and just” (NLT). My prayer is that your children will be wise children. I also pray that you will not give birth to foolish children.

The marks of foolish children and wise children are clearly given us in the Bible. If we have any child who is not manifesting the characteristics of a wise child we need to intensify our prayers for them; we must never give up on such a child. An adage goes thus: “A child is foolish but the parents say ‘No problem, provided he does not die.’ What will kill the child if not foolishness?” I pray that the Lord will deliver every child, especially your children, from the marks of a foolish child I have considered in this message.

As I have shown from the Bible in this message, only a wise child will bring joy to the parents; the foolish child will bring sorrow, pain and shame. We must pray for wisdom for our children as we teach, instruct, counsel and discipline them. We must also guide them to ask for wisdom from God for them.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:5-7, NKJV).

This is important because without wisdom our hope and prayers that our children succeed in life will be a vain. “Since a dull ax requires great strength, sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed” (Eccl 10:10, NLT). Even Jesus, the Son of God, could not do without wisdom. He needed wisdom from childhood. The Bible says of him that he increased in wisdom among others things (Luke 2:52). May your children also increase in wisdom as they grow in age. May your labour over them not be in vain in Jesus’ name.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to make yourself ready for eternity. I want to urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible -teaching church. There you will be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: “0 Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you Jesus for saving me and making me a child of God”

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you will be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.

 

dsc_0581T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
Email: cedarministryintl@yahoo.com,
cedarministryng@gmail.com
Website: www.cedarministry.org