“My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you. Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye.” – Proverbs 7:1-2 (NKJV)
A son valuing, treasuring, and guarding his father’s godly counsel, directives, and instruction is greatly needed from the earliest age on. Knowing and following them will serve him well in life as obedience to his father and mother (Prov.1:8) comes with a promise- Keep my commands and live. Solomon’s words here point his son to the 5th Commandment in Exod. 20:12, as well as the third use of the law, don’t they? The normal expectation is that wisdom will lead to a long, prosperous life, which is the blessing of God. God’s law is light that guides us in the paths of righteousness, showing us how we must live.
Solomon knew the temptations that are particularly strong in one’s youth. As Solomon was once a young man himself, he knew the temptation for his son to not attentively guard, but rather let his good and wise words go in one ear and out the other just as quickly. Solomon knew the pitfall of his commands not being stored up and protected in a special place in his son’s heart for future, if not that day’s benefit. He was well familiar with the lure to jettison wise words from one’s parents, and treasure the counsel of peers or others in their life, even if it’s ungodly. He knew the challenge for young people to not keep such heavenly wisdom as the “apple of their eye”.
Many of you who attended the evening service this past Lord’s Day, or have listened to the sermon recording, know that David expressed his sincere plea to God in prayer that God would keep him as the apple of His eye and hide him under the shadow of God’s wings in Psalm 17:8. What is the significance of David being the apple of God’s eye? The phrase carries with it the idea of being special and cherished. However, it also means much more than that. Scholars agree that the “apple” is referring to the pupil of the eye. Interestingly, in Hebrew, the words mean something like the “little man of the eye”. It’s possible this idiom was used because you can see your reflection in the pupil of the person you’re talking to. Further, the pupil is so important because it’s one of the most sensitive parts of the body. It admits light into the eye. It’s one of the parts that God has designed the body to automatically protect when danger is sensed. David prayed that God would guard him with similar concern as that delicate and sensitive body part, as David knew that he was part of God’s special treasure.
In Prov. 7, Solomon communicates a similar message about things of special value to his son, yet in regards to guarding the treasure of the law that Solomon gave him. Particularly, Solomon wanted his son to follow his commands as they were in accord with God’s commands. For the treasuring of his commands would bring blessing in his life. Treasuring his commands would keep his son from being devoid of understanding. Importantly, they would keep him from the immoral woman and the seductress (Prov. 7:5). Part of our training our children as parents needs to be the imparting of the value and true treasure of godly wisdom to them. We need to share this message with words and godly example in ways they can grasp and receive. Doing this successfully is all by the grace of God. Know that in many ways it begins with you. As you read and study the wisdom in Solomon’s godly law in Proverbs, do you treasure it and seek to guard it in your heart? Do you approach the rest of God’s commands in the Bible the same way? For if they aren’t kept as the apple of your eye, it will show and be a difficult challenge for your children to keep them as the apple of theirs.
Therefore, we must be most careful and attentive to do this! We must keep God’s wisdom, His law as our treasure that is safely laid up within us so that we walk in a manner worthy of our calling, one that is pleasing to our Savior and King, one that is helpful and instructive for our children to see and understand. When you see the fruit of such treasuring in obedience in their lives, give them encouraging words regarding what you see. Guide them to and in the Word, praying that the Word will guide them in life now, as they grow older, and after you’re gone.
Young people – listen to and obey the law of your parents. Love and treasure God’s law. Keep it as the apple of your eye. May doing so be clear, and grow clearer in you for all to see to the glory of Christ!