Sunday, May 08, 2022

“Do Not Forsake Your Mother’s Teaching” [Matt's Messages]

“Do Not Forsake Your Mother’s Teaching”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
May 8, 2022 :: Proverbs 1:8-9

The title of this messages comes right out of the last phrase of verse 8 where Solomon says to his royal son, “ not forsake your mother's teaching.”

That’s the whole message for today. It’s in the Proverbs, so it’s short and sweet and to the point, and it’s meant to be meditated upon, chewed on, mulled over.

“ not forsake your mother's teaching.”

And there was, all of a sudden, a whole lot of elbows in the ribs and knowing looks passed around this room!

“Are you listening to this? I hope so, son. I sure hope so, daughter.”

Verses 8 and 9 are the opening salvo of the opening appeal in the first major section of the Book of Proverbs. The book began with a short explanation of its purpose. Look at verse 2:

This book is “...for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young–let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance–for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.”

The point of this book of Proverbs to its original readers was to help young people especially (and anybody else who wants to be wise) to gain and grow in true wisdom. 

And after that opening section, there are like 10 different appeals in the next 9 chapters from all of the authors (the main one of whom was King Solomon) for the reader (who is pictured as a royal prince) to choose wisdom over foolishness.

The path of wisdom is the right path, and it is the path of blessing.

And here’s where it all begins. The starting line of that path. Verse 7. 

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

And so in our verse 8, the King appeals to his son to choose that wisdom and to stay with it. And he pictures that wisdom as coming through Dad and Mom.

Yes, Dad is in this passage, too. And he will show up again and again in the Proverbs talking to his son this way. Proverbs was written primarily by men for young men, and then it was given to all of us.

But we are not going to focus this morning on “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction...” [Maybe I’ll preach this same message again in a month on Father’s Day.] No, instead, we going to focus on the parallel idea, “ not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

That is God’s word to all children who want to be wise.

“ not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

And that’s regardless of your age.

If your mother 70 years ago taught you the Lord’s wisdom, this is God’s Word to you today: “Do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

I have just two points of application for this morning’s message. One from verse 8 and one from verse 9, and they are both very simple. 


And don’t stop walking!

“Do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

Now, yes, this assumes that your mother taught you or is teaching you wisdom.

So, we could address the Moms today and encourage all of the Moms to be teachers of your children. Teach them the fear of the LORD.

But we just did that in March with the message, “Impress Them On Your Children.” Do you remember that? In Deuteronomy 6? How parents are to be the resident theologians in their homes and pass on the faith to the next generation.

Moms, you might want to go back and review that message if you are looking for some teaching on being a disciple-making Mom this weekend. You can do it! 

But this passage is not addressed to the Moms. This passage is addressed to the kids–especially the sons, though the son stands for all of us who are the children of a wise mom who has taught us the fear of the LORD.

Notice that verse 8 begins with the word, “Listen.” It’s the same word as Deuteronomy 6, “Shema!” “Listen up!” “Hear this, my son!”  He’s flicking the lights on and off. He’s pulled the power cord on the wireless router. I have a friend who when he wants his family’s attention, he turns off the wireless router, and his kids all come of out their rooms. 

Solomon is getting his young son’s attention, and once he does, he is telling him to take to heart his parents’ instruction. Their homeschooling in the fear of the LORD.

And he wants his son to stick with it.

“Do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

Don’t just let it go in one ear and out the other.
Don’t just nod your head and then turn away.

Don’t walk away from the wisdom of your Mom. Walk in it. And don’t stop.

Now, some of you do not or did not have a wise mom. It is very possible that a number of you in this room did not have that particular blessing. Perhaps your Mom was not a believer or died when you were young. Or she had some wisdom, but her life was marked more by folly.

Don’t worry; this passage is for you, as well.

Because the wisdom that this Mom is sharing here is in this book. You don’t have to have a Mom to teach it to you, though she should, and it is a blessing if she has.

But it’s not like this teaching can only come through your biological Mom.

If you didn’t have a wise Mom or don’t have a wise Mom, I encourage you to find one and adopt her. This church is full of women who can serve as a spiritual Mom to you. Go after their wisdom. Even if you have one already, it doesn’t hurt to have more. The family of God has plenty of spiritual aunts and grandmas to teach the next generation the fear of the LORD.

The point is to get that wisdom and then to not lose it.

“Do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

I don’t think there is a greater heartache for a Christian mother than for her children to walk away from the faith. All of those years of a Christian Mom not just feeding and clothing their kids and nursing them when they’re sick and driving them to all of their things and helping them with their schoolwork and paying their bills and cleaning them and cleaning after and cleaning after them and cleaning after them, not just doing all of that but all of the time those Moms have put into teaching–by both word and example–the Christian faith to their kids.

And then the kids turn their back on it? That is top-level painful for Christians Moms.

But that’s not why Solomon says we ought to stick with it.

This verse does not say, “Please do not disappoint your Mom” even though it would.

This is not about pleasing your Mom, but about what is right and good and (perhaps surprisingly) what is good for you. Look at verse 9.

“They [Mom’s teachings] will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.”

Here’s point two of two:


Walk in the wisdom of your mom and keep walking in the wisdom of your mom, and you will be wearing the wisdom of your Mom.

Her wisdom will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.

Who wouldn’t want that?

Maybe that doesn’t sound so awesome to guys at first. But think about it.

A garland on your head would be like some kind of a wreath or a headdress of honor.

So, guys in our culture may not know what a garland is, but we do like hats.

And we like hats that show that we have status.

Crowns, for example, everybody still likes a crown.

Or the white hardhat that says that you are the boss.

And this chain around your neck? That is a status symbol, too. That is not like a prison chain. Some translations have “pendants,” that sounds too much like Pandora jewelry to me.

It is bling, though. Many guys today wear chains. Think like Mr. T!

Or the jersey of your favorite team. The jersey at the signing ceremony. Showing off what team they have just joined.

The wrestler that puts on that big belt. Holds it above his head.

10 years ago this month, I graduated with my doctorate from Westminster Theological Seminary. When you get one of those, you have to step in front of the faculty and kind of kneel and they put this stole or “hood” over you head ,and then it hangs around your neck, and it says, “Your are Dr. Mitchell now.” It is an honor.

Like the at Olympics when they place that gold medal around their necks. And they take a bite out of it show that it’s real. It’s a real honor.

I think this in verse 9 is an honor. A garland, a chain.

If you walk in the wisdom your Mom is trying to teach you, you will be blessed!

You will be rewarded. You will be recognized as wise. You will experience favor.

Your Mom’s teaching will become swag for you. Doesn’t that sound good?!

Now, why does he have to tell you that? 

It’s because it’s not obvious, right? Is everybody who walks in wisdom honored for walking in wisdom? Not right away.

Look at the Lord Jesus Christ! He was Wisdom itself. Wisdom incarnate, and not only was He not recognized for it, but He was crucified for it. The garland on his head was twisted together with thorns.

So, this blessing is not a prosperity gospel blessing. This honor is not always immediate or obvious. But it is nevertheless quite real.

If you keep walking in the wisdom of your Mom, you will wear the wisdom of your Mom. Her wisdom will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.

It will be a prize all by itself. Obvious to all who have eyes to see it and forever.

Jesus is now crowned with many crowns.

Turn with me to chapter 6? Verse 20?

This phrase, “Do not forsake your mother’s teaching” appears a second time there in the book of Proverbs. I want you to look at it and see how it takes this one step further. Look at verse 20.

“My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching [same exact words in Hebrew]. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck.”

See how that’s similar?

But the emphasis here is not the honor of that decorative chain. That’s there, but it’s more than that.

Here it’s keep that teaching close to your heart. Not letting it go.

Like if you have a key that you want to keep safe, you wear it on a chain around your neck inside your shirt.

That word “bind” is the word we saw in Deuteronomy 6 for what the Israelite parents were told to do with God’s Word and their children. “Tie them as symbols on [their] hands and bind them on [their] foreheads.” Don’t let it go!

Why? What will it do? V.22

“When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life...”

Doesn’t that sound good? And doesn’t that sound familiar? It’s like what the parents were taught in Deuteronomy 6. “Impress [God’s words] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

This is saying that if you and I take Mom’s wise teachings to heart, they will guide you through all of life!

Doesn’t that sound good? Why would we walk away from that?

Why would we turn off the lamp, the light, and get off the path to life?

Well, fools do despise wisdom and discipline.

That’s why we need to be reminded, “Do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

Do not step off the wise path.

So, I want to do something a little different at this point in the message. I’d like your help. I’d like to hear from you.

Would you share with us something that your Christian Mom either taught you about the Lord or is teaching you about the Lord?

We have two microphones. There is one right here and one going around.

Either put up your hand or go to the mic. I’d love it if we heard from 10 or 15 you today.

This is for any disciple here, no matter how old or how young.

Last time, I said that I might put the kids on the spot and ask them what their Mom has been teaching them.

Well, today, we’re all on the spot. Would love to especially hear from some guys. What has your Mom taught you about the Lord?


I could say a lot of things, but the one that came to mind yesterday was how my Mom taught me in many different ways about the value and valor of strong Christian women.

Christianity is not just a masculine thing. It’s not boys’ club. It’s not just about dudes.

One little way she did that was by emphasizing all of the Bible stories about women. Where women are the heroes, the heroines.

Mom was the only female in our family. We had Dad and my brother and me and then Mom. And when we went on long trips in the car, we would fill the time with lots of things, but one of them was a Bible trivia game, where we were supposed to guess what each other was thinking. “I am thinking of a Bible character whose name begins with...” And if it was J it could be Jesus or Joseph or John or whatever.

And Mom was a little predictable. She often started with “D.” I’m thinking of a Bible character whose name began with “D.” And it wasn’t David. It was Deborah or it was Dorcas. And she did R for Ruth and E for Esther and M for Mary. 

And so from a young age, I knew that the Bible was a book for strong females of faith.

And look at this amazing thing in this book that a woman is called to do!

She is called to teach the faith to the next generation!

If she is called “Mom,” she is called to raise up royalty in wisdom!

Think about that. If this is Solomon’s son, that means that he is a prince who may one day be a king whose job it will be to rule with wisdom and justice and faithfulness.

Where will he learn that? At his mother’s knee.

Moms, I can’t help but point it out, you are called to raise up royalty in wisdom, justice, and faithfulness–sons and daughters, not just of Israel’s monarch, but sons and daughters of the Living God!

That’s how important it is for you to teach your children the fear of the LORD.

But again, this passage is not written to Moms. It’s written to us kids.

And it tells us to walk in that wisdom and to not forsake it.

By the way, what is the warning of wisdom that is emphasized in Proverbs 1 and Proverbs 6?

After both of the initial calls to “not forsake your mother’s teaching,” and a description of the beauty and benefits of that teaching, there are two examples of that teaching in action.

In Proverbs 1, the parents warn their son to not take up with a gang. And in Proverbs 6, the parents warn their son to not take up with a loose woman.

One commentator I read this week pointed out that these were common temptations of young men: easy money and easy sex.

Money gained not by hard work and prudence but by violence and theft.

Sex gained not by marriage and faithful commitment, but by stolen pleasure.

The wise mother warns her son against those things and warns about the inevitable consequences of those foolish choices.

This afternoon, read chapter 1 all the way through. And read chapter 6 from verse 20 to verse 35. There is only trouble for those who take those paths. Death is at the end of those paths!

“Fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

Moms, thank you for teaching us the fear of the LORD. Keep it up!

We need it! We are, by nature, foolish, and we need your wisdom to speak into our lives–to show us the way to go and to warn us against the other way.

And all of us, let’s walk in the wisdom of our moms and keep walking in that wisdom. So that we begin to be marked by it. Visibly! People can see it in our lives.

All our Moms are fallen and fallible. None of them are perfect. 

So their teaching will not be perfect either.

Where their teaching was wrong, we need to discard and depart from it.

This is not saying that we need to unthinkingly follow Mom wherever she leads even into error or foolishness. No.

But it saying that God has given us wise Moms for a reason.

They have been given to us to teach us the fear of the LORD.

And to the degree that they do that, we need to hold on for dear life to their instruction.

Because that’s where life is!

“Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck [for safe keeping]. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life..."

Walk in the wisdom of your Mom.
And wear the wisdom of your Mom.

“Do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”