Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Increasing Influence Through Wisdom

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss was greatly influenced by her father’s honesty.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: My dad had struggled with alcohol before he became a believer. He knew how damaging and deadly it could be, and he talked to us about the dangers of drinking.

You don’t hear a lot of parents talking about those kinds of things honestly and openly with their kids today, but my dad wasn’t afraid to say it. He wasn’t mean; he wasn’t ugly; he wasn’t heavy-handed. He loved us dearly, and we knew that, but he wasn’t afraid to repeat instruction over and over again. Those are the things we remember.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, August 21.

When life is complex, you need godly wisdom. Nancy’s been explaining why in a series called The Way of Wisdom. Not only do you need to seek godly wisdom for yourself, you also need it so you can have something to pass along to the next generation.

Here’s Nancy.

Nancy: God’s plan for His people is that His truth should be imparted from one generation to the next. It’s like a relay race where the baton is passed on from one runner to the next. Moms and grandmoms, when you have run your leg of the race, you want to be sure that you have passed that baton on to the next runner, that you pass it on to the next generation.

I know that some of you, your children are already grown, and you’re saying, “It’s too late. I didn’t do it God’s way.”

Well, first of all, if your children are still living, it’s not too late for God to intervene in their lives, so you can pray. There are many, many stories of the power of a praying mom, a praying grandmom. Don’t ever give up, and keep pleading with God to turn their hearts.

I’ll tell you what else you can do: You can influence other people’s children. Maybe you didn’t know, maybe you weren’t a believer or you weren’t seeking God when you were a young mom, but you have friends who have young children. You can encourage those moms, you can encourage those kids to learn the pathway of wisdom.

You see this illustrated in the book of Proverbs where we have three generations represented. Solomon, who’s the primary author of the book, talks about some things he learned from his father, who was David. Then throughout the book of Proverbs, Solomon is speaking to his son, who is Rehoboam, and saying, “My son, you need to learn this.” So we have David passing the baton to Solomon, passing the baton to Rehoboam.

But let’s back up. We’re talking about what Proverbs has to say about training children in wisdom.

  • How do you pass the baton?
  • How do you keep that relay going from one generation to the next?

Let me start with two comments.

First of all, I’ve been recommending to you this week a book called Proverbs for Parenting. It’s a topical guide for childrearing from the book of Proverbs. It’s just Scripture, just Proverbs, arranged topically in topics you will want to teach your children. Then there is an introduction that will give you some ideas about how you can use this book in training your children in wisdom.

There’s a coloring book that goes with it, and we think this will be a helpful resource for you as moms and grandmoms.

Then, let me make this disclaimer: I am not a parent, but as I have been studying the book of Proverbs, I’m seeing there are some insights here that I think are helpful to someone who is really wanting to pass that baton on to the next generation.

Here’s something that stood out to me in the book of Proverbs: As you train your children, plead with them, urge them to listen to God’s Word and to obey Him. This is serious. There’s an intensity and an earnestness of heart in the book of Proverbs that you see.

In the first seven chapters of Proverbs, you see this phrase over and over again: “My son, listen. My son, obey.” In fact, if you’re in the book of Proverbs, look at chapter 1, verse 8, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and forsake not your mother’s teaching.”

Then go to chapter 3, verse 1: “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments.”

Chapter 4, verse 1: “Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive that you may gain insight.”

Verse 10 of chapter 4: “Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many.”

Verse 20, same chapter, chapter 4: “My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.”

Chapter 5, verse 1: “My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding.”

Verse 7, chapter 5: “And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth.”

Chapter 6, verse 20: “My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.”

Chapter 7, verse 1: “My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you.”

You say, “Why did you take time to read all those? It’s so repetitive.” That’s the point. It’s repetitive. Nine times in seven chapters, “My son, listen to wisdom. Listen to your father. Receive my instruction.”

Parents, don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. Your kids will not appreciate it right now. I can just tell you that. But they will some day.

My dad has been with the Lord for almost 30 years, but I still have in the core of my being some things that he said to us over and over and over again in different ways, in just my first 21 years of life. My dad died on the weekend of my 21st birthday, and those things are in my system because he wasn’t afraid to repeat them over and over again. Now, you don’t hear a lot of parents talking about those kinds of things honestly and openly with their kids today, but my dad wasn’t afraid to say it.

So plead with them, urge them, don’t be afraid to repeat things over and over again.

Then as you train your children, this is something else we see in the book of Proverbs, tell stories. Tell stories to illustrate cause and effect, and tell stories that don’t all have happy endings.

There is a powerful example of such a story in Proverbs chapter 7.

You remember the story. Solomon tells it to his son. There was this young man. He was simple. He was naïve. He was gullible. He hadn’t grown up in the ways of wisdom yet.

One night when it was very late and it was very dark outside, he started hanging around a woman’s house who wasn’t a godly woman. He shouldn’t have been hanging around her house at night because there was a good chance he was going to meet her, but she was a married woman. She had a husband, but her husband was gone away from home, and this woman wasn’t real happy in her marriage.

She came out, and she wasn’t dressed like a modest woman should be. She didn’t have self-control as a godly, wise woman would have. She came out, and she hugged this young man, and she kissed him. She spoke to him, and said, “Let’s just go have fun together.”

The story goes on. You know the story. This young man developed a friendship with this woman. She thought she could keep this a secret from her husband. This young man didn’t think anybody would ever see or would ever know. He just thought he would have a good time with this woman.

What he didn’t realize was that he was falling into a trap that this woman had set for him. In fact, when you go to the book of Proverbs, you show how this woman—she has all these smooth words—but in the end, her path leads to death.

Now, you maybe don’t want to be detailing that story to your three-year-old, but before your children are teenagers, they need to know the gist of stories like this, not all stories with a happy ending, but saying, “If you do not obey God’s Word, here’s some of the kinds of things that will happen.”

That story in Proverbs 7 is a story that a dad told to his son trying to help him be prepared to face life.

Then as you train your children, warn them, as this father did in Proverbs chapter 7, about the consequences of making foolish choices.

“If you do not obey God, here’s what will happen.”

We said that there were three generations represented in Proverbs—David taught his son, Solomon. Solomon was wise for a while, but then he made some foolish choices. We don’t know why. We know that David instructed his son Solomon. Solomon says that in proverbs: “My dad taught me the way of wisdom.”

We do know that Solomon was born to David and Bathsheba, so he was born into a home where his dad had made some very foolish choices before he was even born. Solomon undoubtedly knew about that. Did Solomon follow his dad’s example rather than his dad’s teaching? We don’t know. We know that David was a man after God’s own heart, but we know that Solomon did not stay with a whole heart, a true heart toward God.

Then Solomon’s son Rehoboam, the one to whom much of the book of Proverbs was spoken, Rehoboam was a very foolish son. He didn’t listen to his father’s counsel. In fact, when he became the king, remember he asked counsel from his father’s friends, the wise older men, and then he rejected their counsel. He didn’t do what they said. Instead, he followed the counsel of his peers—exactly what his dad said not to do—and Rehoboam became an evil, wicked king.

Tell your children that story. Study it in the Scripture. Now, do it in an age-appropriate way, but let them see the consequences if they don’t follow God’s way. Teach them to consider the consequences of their choices, to think beyond temporary pleasure, temporary gains. Say to them: “If you do this, here’s what will happen.” And use the Scripture.

Proverbs 29, verse 1: “He who is often reproved yet stiffens his neck will suddenly be broken beyond healing.”

Flesh this out: “What does that mean? What might that look like?” You can find illustrations. There may be people you know, people your children know, who have just washed out spiritually because they would not listen to counsel.

There comes a time when God is through telling you, and when it will too late for you to listen. You will make one foolish choice too many, and you may end up losing your life.

Now again, you’re not trying to scare your children inappropriately, but you want them to be sober about the consequences of sin. There’s all kinds of teaching in Proverbs about what happens if you sin morally, if you sin sexually.

If you take fire in your chest, your clothes will be burned. [It talks about what that means.] Can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes into his neighbor’s wife; none who touch her will go unpunished. . . . He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself (6:27-33).

Don’t just warn them about the consequences of the foolish choices, hold out to them the blessings of obedience. Your children need to know that following Christ is the blessed way to life, that this is not just a bunch of rules, that you’re not trying to keep them in prison. God wants them to be free. God wants them to be blessed. Hold out to them the blessings of obedience.

Go through the book of Proverbs. I’ve got a whole list here. We don’t have time to share what all they are, but you go through it, and you’ll find verse after verse after verse, “Whoever listens to wisdom will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster" (1:33). "Let your heart keep my commandments for length of days and years of life and peace will they add to you” (3:1). And on and on.

Teach your children the benefits and the blessings of choosing to say “Yes” to wisdom and “Yes” to God. As you do, you will be passing on the baton.

Listen ladies: You can’t guarantee that your children will take the baton. You can’t guarantee that they won’t drop it, and some of them will. But you can do everything possible in your power, as God gives you grace, to at least give them every chance to have that faith passed on intact.

Leslie: I know I need wisdom as a mom in order to handle the pressures that come from raising kids.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been explaining that we don’t just need wisdom to react to our children. We need to proactively teach them.

A woman commented on the series, The Way of Wisdom, on our listener blog. She wrote:

Thank you for the encouragement, Nancy, that God will show me how to teach my children the Bible, and only He can make me a good example to them and my husband. God raised the dead. He can help me be a decent wife and mother. I’m glad for all of His benefits. Love in Christ.

You can leave a comment about today’s program or respond to the comments of other women at ReviveOurHearts.com. Click on today’s program, and you’ll find the listener blog at the bottom of the transcript.

Now, let’s get back to the series The Way of Wisdom. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy: I want you to turn in your Bible to 2 Samuel chapter 20. This is a passage that is probably not familiar to most of you, but it’s a great little story about the power of one wise woman—the wise woman of Abel; that’s the name of the town where she lived.

Let me give you a little background here. The nation of Israel is in an unsettled time. Absalom, who was David’s son, has rebelled against David’s authority, creating an insurrection, but that’s been overcome. Now David is the king who has returned to Jerusalem.

In the previous chapter, 2 Samuel chapter 19, we see there’s this growing rift in tension, this unrest, between the ten northern tribes of Israel and the southern tribe of Judah, which is David’s home. The king is from Judah, lives in the south, but there’s this rift, this coming civil rift between the northern ten tribes and the southern tribe of Judah.

In the midst of this, there’s a man named Sheba who is called, depending on your translation, some of them say a worthless man. He’s a rabble-rouser, and he stirs up an insurrection, another insurrection against King David, and leads the northern tribes to desert David.

David sends one of his men whose name is Abishai to go after Sheba and quell this insurrection. Abishai is joined by his brother Joab who, as you remember, is David’s ruthless captain. So Abishai and Joab were going after Sheba to stop this civil war.

It’s a story of intrigue and revenge and brutality and finally murder.

Then we come to 2 Samuel chapter 20, verse 14:

And Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel [now, Abel is a town in the far north of Israel] and all the Bichrites [this is his family tribe] assembled and followed him in [to the town, into the city of Abel].

And all the men who were with Joab [Joab is pursuing Sheba] came and besieged Sheba in Abel. They cast up a mound against the city (verses 14-15).

Now, the city would have had walls around it, so Joab and Abishai and their men come. They come up to the walls, and they put the city under siege. They want Sheba. They want to stop him. So "they cast up a mound against the city. It stood against the rampart, and they were battering the wall to throw it down” (verse 15).

It’s a tense situation to say the least. The entire city is under siege and stands to be destroyed. Everyone is hot. Everyone is upset. Everyone’s on the warpath. Tempers are flaring. You can imagine that the whole city leadership, the city counsel, sitting inside the walls is all hot and bothered and stirred up.

“What are we going to do?” Regardless of who wins, it looks like there’s going to be a lot of bloodshed, a lot of lives are going to be lost, including women and children and other innocent bystanders who are the people who live in this city of Abel.

In the midst of this tense situation where a lot of people are acting foolishly, one lone woman speaks up. We don’t know her name. All we know is that she is bold. She is direct. She is determined, and we’re told that she is wise.

Somehow this wise woman who is inside the city wall manages to get Joab’s attention. How did she do it? I don’t know, but I do know there must have been something compelling about her, her presence, her spirit, her words, something. Then in her wisdom, she appeals to him, and what she becomes is a cool voice of wisdom in the midst of this incredibly tense situation. In verse 18 she says to Joab:

They used to say in former times, "Let them but ask counsel at Abel,’ and so they settled a matter. I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the heritage of the Lord?” (verses 18-19).

So here this wise woman with this cool voice of reason speaks to this hot-tempered Joab. If you know anything about Joab, you know that he is a vicious, violent man who doesn’t stop to listen to some little woman getting in his way telling him to stop. But God intervenes through this wise woman.

What does she do? She gives Joab perspective. She reminds him the important role the city has played in Israel’s history. So in verse 20:

Joab answered, “Far be it from me, far be it, that I should swallow up or destroy! That is not true. But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, called Sheba the son of Bichri, has lifted up his hand against King David. Give up him alone, and I will withdraw from the city." And the woman said to Joab, "Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall” (verse 20-21).

Now, one more thing has to happen before the compromise and the settlement can work: She has to get the city to agree to the settlement, but evidently they respected and trusted this woman enough to listen to her because she was wise. Wise women have influence. Verse 22:

The woman went to all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they dispersed from the city, every man to his home. Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.

Now, it’s a gory story even in its ending. But if you look at the big picture there, here’s a woman whose wisdom diffused a volatile situation. Lots of lives could have been destroyed, but the city was spared. The women, the children, the men, the families, the homes in that city were spared—the whole city—because of one wise woman who knew how to speak a word in due season. She was bold; she was direct; she was forthright; she was courageous; she was determined, and she was wise.

Proverbs 29, verse 8, says: “Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath.” Scoffers—wicked people, evil people—they can cause all kinds of damage. They set things on fire. They create a mess. They create a crisis. Some of you live with scoffers. Some of you have a mate or a parent or a child or you have a boss or you have an employee who is a scoffer. They’re always setting things on fire. They’re angry. They create tension. They create conflict.

You can’t control those people. You can’t make your husband or that boss or that person in your life not be an angry person, but you can control you. You can be wise, and what does Proverbs say? “The wise turn away wrath.”

There are ways that through wisdom you can diffuse these hostile, angry situations, not every time, but many times.

You may find yourself caught in the middle of a conflict—at work, at home, in your church—these conflicts happen in churches. People just start battering at each other sometimes. It’s so tragic, so needless for believers to do this, but it happens—and you’re caught in the middle. Your kids are fighting with each other. There may be issues in your extended family—people choosing sides, not communicating with each other, attacking each other—tempers flaring, maybe even resorting to violence. You have that picture of Joab battering down the walls of that city, You may be living in a situation that feels a little bit like that.

In the midst of a situation like that, you can feel hopeless. You can feel helpless. And you may even wonder, “Why doesn’t somebody do something about this?”

Let me just say as you read this story, I hope it gives you hope that one wise woman can make all the difference in the world.

Ask God to make you a wise woman in that situation. Say, “Lord, show me what to say. Show me how to say it, and may my life make a difference in the lives of those around me.”

Leslie: Women can have an incredible influence when they’re walking in godly wisdom.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing us some biblical examples of this in the teaching series, The Way of Wisdom, and she’s going to tell us about another example from one of our listeners. Nancy?

Nancy: That’s right. A woman emailed us from South Africa and described the challenges she was having with her husband after the couple stopped going to church.

She wrote and said: “I don’t know what went wrong. We just stopped. My husband didn’t want to go anymore, and things started to change. Then I started fighting with him about stupid things.”

A friend told this woman about Revive Our Hearts. She began learning how to influence her husband—not by criticizing him or complaining about him, but in wise and godly ways. Then she started acting on the truths that she had heard from Revive Our Hearts and began to notice a change in her husband.

She wrote: “My husband said to me, ‘We need to go to church, and we need to stop this laziness.’ I thought to myself, ‘God works in wonderful ways.'" Then she wrapped up by saying, “It’s so amazing. I thank the Lord for what He has done and what He’s going to continue to do.”

I’m thankful to the Lord for that story as well, and I’m also thankful for those of you who support Revive Our Hearts financially. We are a listener-supported ministry, so whether you listen on a local radio station here in the U.S. or over the Internet in South Africa, the reason you’re able to hear this broadcast is thanks to listeners who give.

So I want to ask you: Would you consider sending a donation today to help us continue airing this program in your area and by the Internet, all around the world?

When you make a donation to Revive Our Hearts, we’d like to say thank you by sending you the workbook Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. I believe God will use this study in your life to encourage you and to begin a deep inward transformation.

Leslie: Ask for Seeking Him when you make a donation of any amount. Our number is 1-800-569-5959, or donate online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Our series, The Way of Wisdom, has affected women in many different seasons of life. Hear how listeners are practically working out biblical wisdom Monday on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

 All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

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