Don't Take the Bait (Proverbs 1:10)
My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. —Proverbs 1:10
I’m from Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” And of those more than 10,000 lakes throughout the state, I believe the most beautiful lakes are nestled in among the forests and rock formations of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). The million-acre expanse of the BWCA is home to more than ten percent of Minnesota’s lakes.
There is so much to love about the BWCA; all of it shouting praise and glory to its Creator: the beauty and wonder of land, trees, and northern lights; the starry skies having no other lights to compete with for their glorious splendor, crystal clear water, the echoing call of the loons, wildlife, and my favorite—fish—lots of them. Only God could create something so praiseworthy!
Before each trip to the BWCA with my son and daughter, we spend time—a lot of time—thinking about and then purchasing the perfect bait to catch fish. We want that bait to attract walleye, small mouth bass, and northern pike. We expend a lot of energy in making the right purchase. We want to entice those fish to take the bait, to lure them to bite.
As a dad, I have often used the illustration of fishing to teach my children some really important truths, truths about making wise choices, forsaking sinful desires, being careful about relationships, and ultimately, truths of life and death. That isn’t hyperbole. Some of the fish we caught became a tasty meal.
Many times I have warned my children, “don’t be fooled by sin. Like the worm twisting on the hook, it is flashy, it is enticing, it may be enjoyable for a moment, but it will lead to death.”
The book of Proverbs repeats these words often “Hear my son.” As parents, we plead and implore our children because we know that unrepented foolishness and unrepented sin leads to death. And if sinful practices were not enticing enough on their own, there are those who are intent on luring our sons and daughters to join them. Years ago, enticement was confined to person-to-person communication; now it flows freely through social media, the internet, videos, books, and magazines, to name just a few.
Moms and dads, have you spoken the exhortations and sounded the warnings of Proverbs to your children?
Knowledge begins with the fear the Lord (vv. 1-7).
Enticements take away life (vv. 8-19).
Wisdom calls, and if heeded, makes us dwell secure without dread of disaster (vv. 20-33).
Maybe you’ve only had to sound the warning a few times, and by God’s grace your children embraced the truth and the message of Proverbs 1. Praise God! Or maybe you’re sounding the warning continually—because truth has not been embraced. May the Lord continue to give us a voice with our children, both with our words and example of forsaking sin and rejecting enticements. May our children be drawn to the precious gift of walking in step with the Lord, knowing that
…no good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you! Psalm 84:11b-12
Parents, we were once young sons and daughters. What were the enticing sources of our day? How are they the same today; how are they different?
How can you help your children navigate the streams of enticement offered through the impersonal, yet very compelling, mediums of social media?
While giving thought to this topic, are there any enticements that you’ve fallen prey to? May Proverbs 1 be an encouragement to you. And believers, remember your perfect Advocate (1 John 2:1).