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Parental Advice

"Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching" (Prov. 1:8). When children in the Bible followed their parents' directions, the results were sometimes favorable, sometimes disastrous. Can you match these parents (and children) with their words of advice?

Parents: Abraham, Manoah, David, Mordecai, Hosea, Naomi, Paul, Jacob, Rebekah, Jesse, Solomon
Children: Timothy, Solomon, David, Ruth, Samson, Jezreel, Esther, Isaac, Rehoboam, Reuben, Joseph, Jacob
(More names are listed than needed)
  1. The advice ____________ gave his son ______________ is still worth heeding today: "My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in."
  2. ___________ told his spiritual son _____________, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."
  3. _________________ told her son _________ to "Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it."
  4. ____________ should have listened to his father __________ as well as his mother when they inquired about their son's love interests, "Isn't there an acceptable woman among your relatives or among all our people?"
  5. Before he died, _____________ gave these final instructions to his son ____________: " ? observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go."
  6. ____________ didn't know the results would be disastrous when he told his son ____________, "Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks."
  7. ______________'s stepfather ____________ told her to go into the king's presence to beg for mercy and plead for her people.


1. King Solomon, Rehoboam (Prov. 3:11-12). Solomon understood that a righteous man's suffering may be evidence of God's love, not his displeasure. The author of Hebrews quoted Solomon's words to encourage persecuted believers (Heb. 12:7).
2. Paul, Timothy (2 Tim. 2:15). Paul considered Timothy his son "because ? he has served with me in the work of the gospel" (Phil. 2:22). Imprisoned in Rome, Paul offered Timothy this advice during Emperor Nero's persecution of Christians.
3. Rebekah, Jacob (Gen. 27:9). In plotting to win God's blessing for Jacob, Rebekah deceived Isaac, caused Jacob to lie, and ignited Esau's hatred. Her scheme was unnecessary since God had already promised that "the older [son] will serve the younger" (Gen. 25:23).
4. Samson, Manoah (Judges 14:3). Like Manoah, God also warned his children not to marry unbelievers (Ex. 34:16). Samson's refusal led to the loss of his anointing and later, his life. Christians today are to heed the same warning (see 2 Cor. 6:14).
5. King David, Solomon (1 Kings 2:3). The failure of Solomon and his sons to take David's advice led to the nation's captivity. It was only through their descendant Jesus Christ, who perfectly fulfilled all that God's law required, that David's dynasty was restored.
6. Jacob, Joseph (Gen. 37:14). When Joseph found his brothers, they plotted to kill him, then sold him into slavery. Later he became the means of their salvation. Jesus, the beloved son of his Father, was also sent to his brothers the Jews, "but they did not receive him. Yet ? to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:11-12).
7. Queen Esther, Mordecai(Esther 4:8). Esther would risk her life to plead for her people because entering the king's presence unbidden meant certain death unless pardoned. Likewise, none of us dare enter the presence of a Holy God and plead for mercy on the basis of our own merit.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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