What would you think if your Dad addressed you 23 times “My son, my son, my son…” and so on. It would get your attention, wouldn’t it?
That’s what God does in and through the book of Proverbs. Yes, Solomon and his co-authors are addressing their sons. But through them, God is revealing Himself and His heart towards us.
23 times he calls out “My son!” It’s a term of ownership, of relationship, of affection, of appeal, and of hope for all who will hear it.
Read through the 23 occurrences and feel the cumulative power of the passionate desire behind them. (Maybe substitute “daughter” for “son”, if female).
Or print them out and give them to your children as a plea from a father’s heart, both God’s and your own.
My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother. (Proverbs 1:8)
My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. (1:10)
My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path. (1:15)
My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you… (2:1)
My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands. (3:1)
My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction. (3:11)
My son, let them not depart from your eyes— keep sound wisdom and discretion. (3:21)
Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many. (4:10)
My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. (4:20)
My son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding, (5:1)
For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress? (5:20)
My son, if you become surety for your friend, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger… (6:1)
So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; for you have come into the hand of your friend: go and humble yourself; plead with your friend. (6:3)
My son, keep your father’s command, and do not forsake the law of your mother. (6:20)
My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you. (7:1)
Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge. (19:27)
My son, if your heart is wise, my heart will rejoice—indeed, I myself. (23:15)
Hear, my son, and be wise; and guide your heart in the way. (23:19)
My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. (23:26)
My son, eat honey because it is good, and the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste. (24:13)
My son, fear the Lord and the king; do not associate with those given to change. (24:21)
My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him who reproaches me. (27:11)
What, my son? And what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows? (31:2)