King David had a lot of children. Although we have indication in several passages in Scripture that some of his parenting was not very good, David did have some great insights to parenting and we can see some of those by looking at his writings and song lyrics in the Psalms, as well as looking at the the life and writings of one of his more famous sons, Solomon. (Solomon was one of the wisest and most successful people in all of history, and through him, come several books in the Bible.)
Solomon repeatedly tells how to raise and train kids and it always involves godly teaching and warnings against ungodly influence. A verse of Solomon we use frequently is Pro 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Solomon was partly trained by his Father David, and is the product of David’s most important devotional on the subject of raising kids: Psalm 1. It was so important that it is placed as the first Psalm in our Bible, and some say serves as an introduction to the entire book of Psalms.
For parents who want to have wise and successful children in the eyes of God, or for Christian school leaders who want their students to be blessed by God, they should carefully study Psalm 1 and apply it to parenting and schooling, and to the training of children daily.
Here is the Psalms 1:1-3 passage, it is in three sections: what not to do, then what to do, and then the results:
“Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; (2) But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. (3) He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. ” (NKJV)
What NOT to do (from verse 1):
Blessed is the first word, and it is the desire of us all, and the desire we all want for our kids (students): to be blessed by God. We want our kids to have the joy and contentment that comes from being well pleasing before God, and we want our kids to receive blessings from God. It is significant that the book of Psalms begins with the word “blessed”, but is especially significant for the context/perspective here, which is a student will be blessed if they obey the first six verses in this passage.
Is the man the term “man” here is the same Hebrew word used in other passages meaning mankind, and so it is not necessarily gender specific, nor age specific. It can be read “blessed is the person who…”
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, David uses the three positions of an awake person in this sentence (walk, stand, sit) to convey “all your waking moments”. He uses “walks” here to describe an ongoing action for a period of time. That period of time is when your kids are under your parental care and nurturing, when God has them with you for their training period, which in our culture is about 18 to 23 years. During that time, a parent is to make sure their kids are not in the counsel of the ungodly, which is to also say constantly in the counsel of the godly. Another way of looking at this is if your kids are under the counsel of the ungodly, the passage says they will not be blessed.
Counsel means “tutelage”, “teaching”, “advice”, and “influence”, and should not be anything ungodly. (This is one reason this passage of Psalms can be used for parents and education.) All kids’ “counsel” needs to be godly, or God based. Who is teaching your kids? Who is giving your kids advice? Who (or what form of media) is influencing your kids? Are they all godly?
Nor stands in the path of sinners, David uses the term “stands in the path of sinners” to mean only one thing in context here. We are not to allow our kids to line up with sinners. The word picture here is of a path with a bunch of people walking in a line on that path. If that path consists of sinners, we are NOT to allow our kids to be one of the people in that path. When there are a bunch of people standing in line, what is going on? A lot of talking. A lot of opinions being said, and a lot of influence. Kids will be blessed by God if they are not hanging around and being influenced by ungodly sinners. Christian schooling should endeavor to provide a full “path” of godly people for students to line up with and be influenced by.
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; I love this phrase from David, it bursts with insightful instruction for us in our society and education culture today when we study the original meanings of the two key words: The term “seat” here comes from the Hebrew word pronounced “mo-shawb” and it means “figuratively a site, and abstractly a session; an abode (the place or the time), an assembly, dwelling, inhabited place, seat, or a situation.” (Strongs H3427) It is important here to realize the term “scornful” comes from the Hebrew word pronounced “loots” and it means “To make mouths at, that is, to scoff; to interpret, or (generally) intercede: an ambassador of derision, to have derision, interpreter, make a mock of, a mocker, or a mocking teacher.” (Srongs H3887) The term “scorn” is defined by Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary as: “1: open dislike and disrespect or derision often mixed with indignation. 2: an expression of contempt or derision. 3: an object of extreme disdain, contempt, or derision : something contemptible.”
Christian parents are not to seat their kids in any influential or educational situation where there is scorn. To put this passage in a term we can understand today: Christians are not to have their kids sitting in a seat in a classroom where the teacher makes a mockery of the teachings of the Bible (Evolution, age and origin of the earth, humanism, atheism, etc. come to mind.) We are not to have anyone teaching our kids that openly dislikes, discredits, disputes, or disrespects the Bible. This applies to schools, curriculum, teachers, as well as other things that our kids learn from such as some television shows, some movies, some music, some books, or even some friends.
Christian schools or home schools should therefore provide an environment that is NOT scornful as described above.
Tomorrow will be the next post on what TO do, from Psalms 1.
Copyright 2012, Kevin Brownlee