Bible Ballistics: Who IS The Parent??? Vol. 6#03
This may seem like a strange question, but one that I think demands at least a modicum of attention, if not a major focus for people of the Word!!! People often ask “what’s wrong with kids today”? Well, simply put, the problem with ‘kids today’ is ‘parents’. Many parents have abdicated their position, role and responsibilities of ‘parenthood’ to various and sundry entities, organizations and/or influences on their offspring.
I know this is a tough subject and one that we couldn’t cover if we discussed it every week for the next year, but I would like to at least give us some food for thought, and challenge us to examine our attitudes and actions toward ‘parenthood’. Do we value the family and the order and structure that God Himself gave us to guide our parenting. While many think God’s Word is outdated and obsolete, I believe we would be well served to return to the principles that brought up centuries of children in Judeo-Christian homes dependent on the Word of God for direction. Let’s set the tenor of this article with that very Word of God. First and foremost let’s see what God expects:
Mark 12:30-31, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
We must ‘love’ God with all our heart, in other words, we must have a relationship with God ourselves before we can impart a love of, and respect toward God, to our offspring. We can only share that which we possess and have experienced ourselves. We cannot teach and instruct our children in that which we do not really know. The second passage that I would like us to consider is a familiar one:
“The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
Notice all the personal pronouns here. We must know the “MY shepherd”, and have a relationship with Jesus before we can share it with others, especially our children and grandchildren. I cannot share a Lord/Shepherd I do not know!!! Who are you sharing with your children? God gives us a pattern, which I believe to be the best in all of scripture, it’s found in Deuteronomy 6. Let’s examine portions of this great chapter, and sub-divide it into sections of order for clarity of the process I believe God is revealing to us:
Deuteronomy 6:1-6, The Instructions to Parents–
“Now these are the commandments,
and the judgments,
which the Lord your God commanded
to teach you,
that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:
2 That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God,
to keep all his statutes and his commandments,
which I command thee,
and thy son,
and thy son’s son,
all the days of thy life;
and that thy days may be prolonged.
3 Hear therefore, O Israel,
and observe to do it;
that it may be well with thee,
and that ye may increase mightily,
as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.
4 Hear, O Israel:
The Lord our God is one Lord:
5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul,
and with all thy might.
6 And these words,
which I command thee this day,
shall be in thine heart:”
Ring any bells? Isn’t that what Jesus said above? I believe it is! This greatest command deals with our relationship to God, because without a relationship with God we cannot be of real service to God or mankind. God instructs the parents—parents who are to be in right relationship with HIM, and focused on God and by that relationship are enabled– to pass the torch to the next generation!!! Praise God—it depends on His work in me, not just on me!!!
So the first call is for parents to be right with God, what’s next?
Deuteronomy 6:7-9, The Method for Parents–
“And thou shalt teach them diligently
unto thy children,
and shalt talk of them
when thou sittest in thine house,
and when thou walkest by the way,
and when thou liest down,
and when thou risest up.
8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand,
and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
9 And thou shalt write them
upon the posts of thy house,
and on thy gates.”
God is very clear here about who is responsible for the instructing of children. It isn’t the government! It isn’t the TV! It isn’t the school! It’s not the day care! It’s certainly not the ‘village’. And it isn’t even the church!! “Wait a minute, did I say it’s NOT the church?” Yes, that is what I said! The church is to encourage, teach and instruct its members according to what is written in the New Testament scriptures, but all scripture teaches us that the primary responsibility for the instruction of children is THE PARENTS!!! Who said so? God said so!
How are we to accomplish that? First of all we are to live it! Then we are to focus on the things that God shows us:
Teach our children diligently—
We are to converse with our children of spiritual things—when?
When we sit together
When we walk around (drive for most of us)–
When we prepare for bed (nighttime truths)–
When we get up (breakfast truths)—
We are to bind them about us–
(My personal paraphrase, we are to be so controlled by God’s Spirit, that our children see Jesus in all that we do, everywhere we go)
What do our children see in our lives?
We are to have a Biblical Worldview—
(My paraphrase again, we are to see all things through Biblical truths, and respond in Biblical ways before our family and the world.)
What do our children hear from our mouths?
We are to decorate our homes in godly fashion—
What do our children see in our homes?
Do my walls project my love for Jesus?
Does my television project my love for Him?
Does my speech project my love for Him?
Do people feel Jesus’ presence in my home?
Do I exercise godly hospitality?
And finally in this chapter, God gives us the result of living this way, and it’s an amazing principle. Let’s examine it.
Deuteronomy 6:20-25, The Results For The Children–
“And when thy son asketh thee in time to come,
saying, What mean the testimonies,
and the statutes, and the judgments,
which the Lord our God hath commanded you?
21 Then thou shalt say unto thy son,
We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt;
and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: 22 And the Lord shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes: 23 And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers. 24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. 25 And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.”
Simply put, God says if we will be faithful to live in a relationship with Him, if we will be faithful to live it before our children and grandchildren, then God will bring them to a place where they will ask us “WHY” we do the things we do. And when they ask, God says we are to share with them our personal testimony of His faithfulness to us. Not just the testimony of God’s faithfulness in general, but the testimony of God’s faithfulness to “ME”!!! It may not be today, or even tomorrow but the questions will come!
How about you? Are you willing to step up to the bat and measure your life by God’s call, or are you settling for the ways of the world? Only you can decide. I’d like to share a couple of passages for us to consider in closing.
Proverbs 22:6 (this is a principle NOT a promise) “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Ephesians 6:4, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Psalm 127:3-5, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”
So? Who’s the parent at your house? God’s kind of parent or the world’s? Are you willing to speak, walk, live and share Jesus in all you are and all you are doing? The ball is in your court!!!