Proverbs 23:15 My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad. 16 My inmost being will exult when your lips speak what is right.
Children bring joy to their parents in many different ways. I’ve known this first hand. As you watch them grow you begin to understand more fully the meaning of verses like 3 John 1:4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
In a very personal word to his son, Solomon is explaining the key to his own joy. When he boils it all down, the character of his son is even more important than anything he could be or do. This reminds of a very import fact.
It’s crucial to distinguish between wisdom and accomplishment.
You can be wise and lack notable accomplishments. You can also be an accomplished fool.
If my joy is tied to bragging rights, then it will foster a culture of ambitious pride in my home. If my heart is glad because my children have discernment and speak truth, then those qualities will prevail. Children are a product of what we reinforce.
I think Solomon longed for this in his own son. Let’s be clear, nothing the boy did would ever prove more spectacular that what Solomon had already accomplished. If his son was hoping to make his father proud because he took the family higher, that wasn’t going to happen. In fact, if you remember the story, the only thing his son accomplished was tearing down what Solomon had spent a lifetime building.
However, at this point in the story Solomon says it Rehoboam’s heart (inner man) was wise, then Solomon’s heart would be glad (literally “given over to happiness”). His inner man (literally “kidneys”) will experience visceral jubilation when he hears wise words spoken.
Imagine the sad reality that Solomon faced. A man of wisdom beyond our comprehension raised a son that acted with foolishness beyond comprehension (1 Kings 12). Sometimes the apple falls far from the tree, and if it’s rotten, it can spoil a whole nation.
This is a sober reminder to parents. If you want to enjoy your children, praise them for what the Lord sees.