Some Things Are Best Left to God.
“Fathers can give their sons an inheritance of houses and wealth, but only the Lord can give an understanding wife.” – Proverbs 19:14 NLT
As a father, I feel a real pressure to be the provider for my family. I have a strong work ethic and have had instilled inside me the determination to work hard so that I can take care of the needs of my wife and kids. I haven’t always done it well or consistently, and I may not provide at the same level as other men do, but I have never failed to put food on the table or clothes on their backs. Even in times of job loss or financial difficulty, I have inherently known that I have a God-given responsibility to be the bread-winner for my family. I am not leaving God out of the equation, because I am fully aware that it is He who provides for all of our needs. And when times have been tough, I have never failed to turn to Him for help. But I know that God wants me to work hard. He wants me to use my talents and abilities wisely. He wants me to work diligently and faithfully. God gets glory when we put in an honest day’s work. So there is nothing inherently wrong in having a healthy sense of responsibility about our need to provide.
But it can get out of whack if I allow myself to think that I can provide EVERYTHING my family needs. I have to constantly remind myself that I am limited in my capacity to provide. I can’t provide my children with salvation. I can’t provide my wife with contentment. I can’t provide my home with peace. I can try to create the right kind of atmosphere where those things can prosper and find a home, but I can’t provide them. Only God can do that. And Solomon reminds me that while I can provide an inheritance for my children made up of homes and financial assets, I can’t provide a single one of them with a godly mate. I can’t give my sons understanding wives or my daughters compassionate husbands. I have to leave that up to God. And to be honest, that scares me, because it leaves some pretty important things out of my control! What could be more important, life-changing, and potentially life-damaging than for one of your kids to marry the wrong kind of person? It happens all the time and we have all watched the painful results. It produces homes filled with unhappiness, unfulfilled dreams, disappointment, pain, heartache, and all kinds of mental, emotional and, sometimes, physical abuse. But God is reminding us that there are just some things we can’t control or contribute. I have to trust God. I have to remind myself that so much of what I DO provide is of little value in comparison to what God makes possible. We all know that beautiful homes and lots of money are no consolation in a marriage where love and understanding are missing. Money may buy a bit of happiness, but it can’t produce joy.
I think if you take this verse in the context of the Book of Proverbs, you will see that it is a subtle reminder that we need to plead with our kids and point our kids toward God – who is the only source of the wisdom, understanding, knowledge, common sense, discernment and good judgment that they will need to live well in this life. Because while God CAN give an understanding wife, unless your son has the discernment and good judgment to recognize the value of an understanding wife, he may just as easily reject that woman when she shows up in his life. God makes all kinds of good gifts and gracious treasures available to us each and every day, but it is due to our lack of godly wisdom that we walk right past them. We are too foolish to recognize the gifts of God right in front of our noses. So I believe Solomon is reminding us as dads (and moms) that there are some things we can’t provide for our children. We will have to trust God for those things. But we also need to prepare the hearts of our children to receive the wisdom of God so that they can accept the good gifts He has for them in the future. Which is why Solomon constantly reminds his sons to listen to his commands and instructions. He pleads with them to “Keep their words always in your heart” (Proverbs 6:20), “write them deep within your heart” (Proverbs 7:3), “let them penetrate deep into your heart” (Proverbs 4:21). It is the wisdom of God within the hearts of our children that will help them recognize and receive the good things God has in store for them – such as an understanding wife and a godly husband.
Father, never let me forget that You are the ultimate and only provider for myself and my family. I need to point them to YOU as their provider, not me. I need to challenge them to accept Your wisdom into their hearts, not settle for my petty provisions. Nothing I can give them will last. But all that You provide is eternal and secure. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men