KEY: Listen, my child, to your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland of grace on your head and an ornament to adorn your neck. = Proverbs 1:8-9
The Book of Proverbs in the Bible is super-loaded with intensely relevant, timeless wisdom. Even in the first nine verses, major treasures of wisdom are poured into the attentive reader – some jewels especially relevant for Mother’s Day, May 13, 2018. For example,
In Godly contexts, men and women are always treated with equity. In Proverbs 1:8, the “child” is referenced as “ben,” a Hebrew word that covers all offspring, including females and males. So “my child” is a better translation than “my son” at the beginning of verse 8 – and this awesome teaching applies to both girls and boys.
Moreover, instructions and teachings are to be treasured from both fathers and mothers. This is based on what is already established in Genesis 1 and Exodus 20. Men and women are all God’s image from the beginning, and in the central Fifth of the Ten Commandments both mothers and fathers are to be honored.
“Torah,” the most elevated Hebrew term for Biblical content, is actually the word for the “teachings” form the mother to then child. This “Torah” is the central reference of Jewish faith. “Torah” is inclusive of all Biblical teaching. Proverbs 1:8 seems to put this major positive responsibility in the hands of the mother. In contrast, the father’s responsibility is “muwcar,” translated “instruction” covering warnings, corrections, or chastenings. This difference between the influences of mother and father is not rigid or legalistic – but this lesson of Proverbs elevates mothers, nevertheless.
Proverbs 1:8 starts with the command for the reader to “Shama,” correctly translated “Listen.” It is a dramatic Hebrew word that signals an intensely important lesson from God. Of course, Godly teachings and instruction from mothers and fathers will have good effect only as we truly listen and learn.
In Proverbs 1:9, the precious teachings we receive from mothers – and instructions from fathers – produce the physical results of the “grace” that shapes how we look, how we behave, and who we are. The resulting “garland of grace on our heads” is a symbol of God’s amazing grace actively shaping our perceptions, thoughts, and decisions.
Moreover, grace as an ornament adorning our necks in Prov. 1:9 is a reminder that good intentions are not enough. Instead, God’s grace like a neck links our perceptions, thoughts, and decisions with faithful physical behavior. Good intentions and lessons from mothers and fathers matter – and amazing grace makes the difference producing real results. God’s grace is the essential element that makes the teachings of Godly mothers and fathers work for good.
In the preferred settings of Proverbs 1, the mothers and fathers are Godly people. Where children do not have Godly mothers or fathers, God can use other adults to help input the essential positive influence of grace – to provide a true “garland of grace,” and a precious “grace” necklace for the child as he or she grows up.
CONCLUSION: Godly mothers have a very high rank in the LORD’s world. By God’s amazing grace the great teachings of mothers transform our appearances and behavior. Let us honor Godly mothers and celebrate the grace that is poured onto us through their teachings.