What is the Meaning of Proverbs 1.8-9

“A Mother’s Teaching or the Gaining of the World”

Proverbs 1:8-19

INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Proverbs 1.8-9

This past Thursday night we had our usual Thursday night service. And in light of Earle Paterson’s passing, I gave a short Bible study on Psalm 40. I would like us to turn to Psalm 40 briefly before we have a message in light of Mother’s Day. I would like to capture for us again the point of that message on Thursday.

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We learned from Psalm 40 what God desires in us in order to do, so that in a godly way, we can get through difficult times. David again is in a difficult time. Psalms 40:12 For evils beyond number have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to see; They are more numerous than the hairs of my head, And my heart has failed me.

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So, what does God desire in us so that he can act for us?

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And in verses 6-8, we have the answer. Psalm 40:6-8 is quoted in Hebrews chapter 10 and the author in Hebrews refers to this passage as having been the Lord Jesus’ mindset.

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And you remember his trials. Suffering and crucifixion along with being separated from God the Father while bearing his wrath on us at the cross. Indeed, the Lord Jesus had trials. And the Lord delivered him from them in a godly way.

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First, from verse six, we learned that God’s focus is not external, but the internal, our heart.

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Psalms 40:6 Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; My ears You have opened; Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.

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It was not the external offerings that pleased God in the end, but verse six the internal…”my ears you have opened.” God has opened our hearts. And in difficulty, God is doing this very thing for his people and as well for those who do not know Him.

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But secondly from verse 7-8, we learn that we should renew our commitment to Scripture in times of difficulty.

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Psalms 40:7-8 7 Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. 8 I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.”

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So, secondly, in times of difficulty, renew your commitment to Scripture. At the end of verse eight make “God’s law within your heart.”

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And finally delight to do God’s will, also in verse eight. “I delight to do your will, O my God.”

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So first respond to him, second renew your commitment to Scripture, and finally be committed to delighting in his will.

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But, of course you can’t do this perfectly, but this was Christ’s heart, Hebrews 10 verse 5 says. So you can claim his perfect fulfillment of this on your behalf. If you, have this heart that is committed to him, to His Word, and to His Will…if you have that heart, in your time of deepest need, the Lord will see you through your difficulties in a godly way.

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And now for our Mother’s Day message, let’s turn to Proverbs chapter 1. Our second sermon of the day…Our text will be verses 8-19, but mainly from verses eight and nine.

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And as we are turning, I am pleasantly aware of the fact that we have mothers in our midst this morning! And I’m also aware that our mothers also have mothers.

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And so that makes us all children, doesn’t it? And so this morning’s message will not be so much a message preached to the mothers but for the mothers. So we will focus this morning on preaching to ourselves as children.

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And I’m also aware that not all of us have mothers who are godly. And because of that, you might find it difficult to respect your own mother.

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But I would like to point out that the wisest mortal man in the history of the world had great respect for his mother.

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1 Kings 2:19, Bathsheba comes to her son, the King of the nation of Israel, King Solomon. King Solomon as you know was especially gifted from the Lord for wisdom.

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In 1 Kings 2, Bathsheba comes to Solomon and asks a special request of him.

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1 Kings 2:19 [says this…] So Bathsheba went to King Solomon …And the king arose to meet her, bowed before her, and sat on his throne; then he had a throne set for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right.

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King Solomon is honoring his mother. And you remember how Bathsheba became David’s wife. Not exactly a woman with a godly past, yet the wisest man on the face of the planet respects and honors his mother. No matter what the spiritual condition of your mother, honor her today and every day.

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We are in Proverbs chapter 1. Our text will be verses 8-9. Let’s read Proverbs 1:8-9 8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction And do not forsake your mother’s teaching; 9 Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head And ornaments about your neck.

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We have in this passage the instruction of a father and the teaching of a mother in verse eight. We also have the command, as children, to listen to their instruction and teaching.

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Verse 9 contains the promise of following the instruction and discipline of godly parents.

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And then in verses 10-19, we have the alternative. And that alternative, broadly applied, is what we’ll call, “the gaining of the whole world.” You can either listen to a mother’s teaching or go out and gain the whole world.

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So I’d like to preach this morning on the choice that especially you young people have, which is “A Mother’s Teaching or the Gaining of the World.” Which will it be this morning? That is the message of Proverbs 1:8-19.

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A main focus in the book of Proverbs is in verse seven. Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…

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God’s goal for His people in the book of Proverbs is the fruit of wisdom. What kind of tree produces the fruit of wisdom? From verse seven, it is the kind of tree that has as its roots the fear of the Lord. Someone who reverences God and is afraid of disobeying him and enjoys respecting Him and His Word. That’s the kind of tree that has fear of the Lord roots.

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So if the fear of the Lord are the roots and wisdom is the fruit and, then what is the trunk? The way it works in Proverbs is that the trunk that nourishes and produces that fruit is family instruction. For children, there will not be the fruit of wise living without family instruction.

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TRANS: So, first, in verse 8, a Mother’s Teaching.

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  1. A Mother Teaches (Prov. 1:8)

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    Proverbs 1:8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction And do not forsake your mother’s teaching;

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Your fathers instruction. That word for “instruction” is an intense word for teaching. It includes the idea of discipline. Dad’s are more known for their discipline-oriented focus in parenting, and rightly so. Sometimes a more “hands-on” approach to godly living…

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But concerning the mother when children are commanded “do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” The word for teaching is literally the word Torah, which is elsewhere used in the Scripture to refer to the first five books of the Old Testament.

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God has his Torah [*left finger*] and your mother has hers [*right finger*]! But really, in the Old Testament context here, they were to be one and the same [*together*]. Because parents were commanded in Deuteronomy 6:6-9 6 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

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So a mother’s teaching and the teaching of Scripture is, really, one and the same thing, at least from the same source and with the same flavor. That was the way it worked under the Old Covenant, how much more for us, in our New Covenant era, who have the Holy Spirit.

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So as parents, we must have God’s Word on our lips to the primary influence for our children.

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But in our Western culture and even in Christianity today, much of the influence in the lives of young people are their unsaved public school teachers, fellow foolish classmates, and the entertainment industry.

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But God’s plan for young people is that godly parents are to be the major influence.

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EXP: So this is an appeal from a father to his child to listen to his mother. “My son here your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

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APP: Fathers, appeal to your children to listen to the wisdom of their mother’s. Young people, fully expect your parents to appeal to you to listen to them. You would fully expect godly parents to appeal to you. You would not necessarily get that from parents who do not know the Lord. And so you’ll know a godly parent when that parent appeals to his children in the same vein as verses 8-9, here.

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ARG: And yes, both parents are there to teach. For example the last chapter of the book of Proverbs, in Proverbs 31, you ladies are probably familiar with. It is this Proverbs 31-woman, with these impossible standards that every woman tries to live up to.

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And that chapter is a mother’s instruction to her king son on what to look for in a godly wife, a queen. So mothers, feel free to teach … to your son Proverbs 31! That is a chapter actually designed for young men to be most familiar with, and the young ladies as well, of course. So, mother’s teach…teach your son!

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And I’d like to ask you turn to 2 Timothy in chapter 3. 2 Timothy 3.

And Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:14-15… And there, Paul describes Timothy’s upbringing. And Paul appeals to Timothy based on Timothy’s godly upbringing …

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2 Timothy 3:14-15 14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

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Paul appeals to Timothy to continue in the things that he has learned knowing from whom he has learned them. He has learned them, in part, from his mom!

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2 Ti. 1:5 teaches that. Just a couple chapters earlier. 2 Timothy 1:5 …Paul says to Timothy…For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.

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APP: Young person, realize it or not, your godly mother is teaching you how to live. Public or homeschool, mom teaches more than just math and cooking and how to work hard. God’s design is that you look to your mother to follow her godly example. They are, by God’s design, a source of wisdom for you, either from the Scripture or from a life lived for God.

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TRANS: So, a godly mother teaches. And secondly, a child listens.

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  1. A Child Listens (Prov. 1:8)

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Proverbs 1:8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction And do not forsake your mother’s teaching;

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You can see that the child listens. “Hear, my son” or daughter, as the case may be. The mother’s godly teaching comes into the child’s ears. And if that child is godly, then those ears will welcome it and be thankful for it and use it and apply it.

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So young person, always let your parent’s teaching be with you as it aligns with the teaching of Scripture.

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APP: You’ll know a wise child when he attentively listens to the godly advice of his parents and desires their influence.

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When the mother teaches, a wise child will not say “Ah, come on mom ….” Now, mother may not always be teach correctly and in the best spirit, but a wise child knows even how to respond to that.

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A wise young person in the home realizes that his inexperience in life can lead him down the wrong path. So it is prudent to feel dependent on the spiritual leaders God has given you.

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APP: Young person, pray for your parents. Pray that they have the godly wisdom in them that you need. Pray that you listen to them. Pray that you have a heart that God wants you to have toward them.

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Are you thankful for your godly parents? And I did not ask “Are you thankful for your perfect parents.” You remember that Solomon’s mother was not perfect, but he greatly respected her, even bowing before her as the queen mother that she was.

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TRANS: And so when a mother teaches, the children listens. Thirdly, the reward.

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  1. A Child’s Reward (Prov. 1:9)

And we all know how young people especially are motivated by reward. We give rewards in our home. Because our children are the age that they are, we are reinforcing basic life habits. And more so these days, with the stress of a new child in the home. And when proper behavior is demonstrated in certain circumstances, they are rewarded. When improper behavior is demonstrated, they receive discipline and additional teaching.

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Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his deeds, Whether what he does is pure and right.

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“Even a child is known by his deeds.” Everyone knows and sees the ways of someone, whether they are in the path of righteousness or not. That is true for the youngest of children.

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And the reward for whole-heartedly following your godly mother’s advice and counsel and wisdom is, verse nine, Proverbs 1:9 Indeed, they [the father’s instruction and the mother’s teaching…they…] are a graceful wreath to your head And ornaments about your neck.

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What is he saying? He is saying that if you truly listen to your godly mother’s teaching, they will be your reward. If you get in the habit of listening and delighting in and …can you do this … and long for your mother’s teaching, your mother’s teaching will be to you a crown upon your head and golden chains around your neck.

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Everyone will know that you walk in the way of wisdom and that your life is a crown…yes, a crown for you…and if it is a crown for you, it will also be a crown for your mother and your father as they see you living for Christ Jesus, who died and gave himself for you.

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APP: Your parents are not perfect, but in God’s design for your spiritual growth, God has placed them there for you. And God can use the counsel of your fallen parents to lead you in His perfect will. Give your parents the benefit of the doubt.

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So as your parents appeal to you to turn away from the things of this world and as they plead with you to pray and to read the Bible, listen to them and do it! As they teach you about how attractive wisdom is, heed their voice!

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And so listen to the voice of God through your parents as they teach you about the death of Christ and how his death is truly effective to take away all of your guilt before God. Learn to hear the words of God when your parents speak about the blessedness of freedom from the power of sin because of the resurrection of our appointed Savior. And fear, knowing, as your parents teach you, that in the last day you shall give an account. And heed your parents advice to turn … turn from the wickedness that is in this world.

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“Lose your life for the sake of Christ’s.”

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TRANS: The alternative to listening and following your godly mother’s counsel and teaching is very enticing. Either you listen to your mother who gives you the Scripture, or you listen to the world.

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  1. Or Gaining the World? (Prov. 1:10-19)

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Right out of the gate in the book of Proverbs, peer pressure from the world is the focus. And we know how strong peer pressure is for young people. I remember it to this day…

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Proverbs 1:10-19 10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait for blood, Let us ambush the innocent without cause; 12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, Even whole, as those who go down to the pit; 13 We will find all kinds of precious wealth, We will fill our houses with spoil; 14 Throw in your lot with us, We shall all have one purse,” 15 My son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path, 16 For their feet run to evil And they hasten to shed blood. 17 […and I’ll give the sense of verse 17 …] From the bird’s perspective, the net is spread [with grain] for no reason … … [the bird doesn’t know the point of the net that is about to catch him if he eats that grain…in the same way verse 18 …]

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18 But they lie in wait for their own blood; They ambush their own lives. 19 So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; It takes away the life of its possessors.

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Think of life in the Old Testament. Life was extremely difficult. In order to have enough food to eat, the hard work required was something beyond we could think of. And so the enticement of stealing and murder for gain was much higher than today.

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Today, this would be the equivalent of following the ways of the world. This would be the same thing as observing the glitz and the glamour of those who live apart from Christ and following it, like a carrot on a stick. “And how lost people’s lives seem so attractive! They seem to be having so much fun and enjoyment while I’m stuck here living the life of a monk.”

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Asaph admits this in Ps. 73. You could turn there, to Psalm 73. Asaph, a righteous man, is tempted with the ways of this world…Psalm 73:1-3 1 Surely God is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart! 2 But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, My steps had almost slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

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He talks about their wealth and ease in life. He didn’t come to grips with a godly reality until He came to the Temple to worship…verse 16 … Psalms 73:16-17 16 When I pondered to understand this, It was troublesome in my sight 17 Until I came into the sanctuary of God; Then I perceived their end.

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Know their end! Does that matter? It should. Their end is eternal damnation and if you desire to be a friend of the world, James 4:4 says you’ll be an enemy of God.

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Mothers, the life of your child is at stake. Mothers, you already feel this! But young person, you don’t feel it as much.

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ILL: It’s like the frog in the proverbial frying pan. The frog doesn’t know that the temperature is increasing in the frying pan as he sits in it.

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“Look,” the mother frog says … “I’m telling you, you’re in the frying pan and if you jump over there, it’s fire!”

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And just like that, if you can’t wait to get out from underneath the godly advice and counsel of your parents while you are still in your home, my friend, you are in the frying pan and about to jump out of the house and into the fire!

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You will be tempted and tried. The sites will dazzle. Their words will be so enticing. “Come on…, come on!” You will sense from the pull of this present evil world that indeed there is pleasure in sin.

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And some, I fear, will choose to play with the beast that is this world. And you will feel yourself along and enjoy pleasantries of sin that this world has to offer. And finally, one day, only when you get to the tail of that beast…. and only after the world has eaten you alive along the way, only then will you realize that all along you have been playing with a scorpion. “You gained the whole world, but lost your own soul.” Mark 8:36

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Young person, your godly mother is right there on the path of life giving godly instruction. And she lifts up her voice….among all the other voices pulling for your attention…listen to her… “do not forget your mother’s teaching.” Proverbs 1:20-23 20 Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square; 21 At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: 22 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge? 23 “Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.

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Praise the Lord for godly fathers and mothers who do not cease to plead with their children like that! Children, if it sounds like your mother is shouting…perhaps that’s wisdom shouting in the streets!

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CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Proverbs 1.8-9

[1]I read a job description online recently. It went this way…

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Wanted “Director of Operations” and all it said was

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Area of Talent:

Managers/Directors/Administrators

Position Type:

Full-Time

Salary:

Pro Bono/No-Pay

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An ad for a full time job, with no pay? There were 2.7 million views of this ad both online and in print, but only 24 responded.

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The company made a video of all the respondents by interviewing them. This was the world’s most difficult job.

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As you watch the interviews, you come to find out that the requirements sounded nothing short of brutal:

• Standing up almost all the time

• Constantly exerting yourself

• Working from 135 hours per week to 168 hours per week.

• Degrees in medicine, finance and culinary arts or the equivalent.

• No vacations

• The work load goes up on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and other holidays

• No allotted time for sleep

• Salary = $0

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As the list of requirements were given, the interviewees are saying things like “are you insane” … that’s crazy, who would do that? Someone else says … “Is that even legal?”

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It turns out the whole thing is fake. The interviewer asks “And did you know that millions of people hold this job right now?” “Really, who?” Are you ready for this, “Moms” …

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And the nervousness of the job interview quickly fades as you watch faces melt into the realization of how awesome their own moms have been.

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Moms, you are a wife, mother, friend, confidant, personal advisor, referee, peacemaker, housekeeper, laundress, chauffeur, interior decorator, gardener, painter, wall paperer, dog groomer, veterinarian, manicurist, barber, seamstress, appointment manager, financial planner, bookkeeper, money manager, personal secretary, teacher, disciplinarian, entertainer, psychoanalyst, nurse, public relations expert, dietitian and nutritionist, baker, chef, fashion coordinator , and letter writer … travel agent, speech therapist, plumber and automobile maintenance and repair expert . . .

And if we had to pay someone to do your job, we would need at least $125,000 a year. And even that figure cheapens what you do.[2] Praise the Lord for godly mothers! Children, listen to them!

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731, O give us homes.

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Go to Proverbs Main Page

Go To Old Testament Books

Go To BibleTrove Home Page

 

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  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB3xM93rXbY. Please mute at 3:11, when, out of excitement, God’s name is used inappropriately. Be fast to do that, for 1 second.

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  2. Ann Landers, May 1988, quoted in Mom, You’re Incredible, by Linda Weber, Focus on the Family, 1994, pp. 23–24

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