In reading Scripture over the years I paid close attention to what went on in families.
After weaning, Moses’ mother relinquished her son to Pharaoh’s daughter. When blood was shed by his hands, Moses spent the next forty years, a fugitive. Years later the meekest man on earth, this friend of God and revered Israelite leader, hit the rock in anger. God showed Moses the land promised to his descendants. It was the closest he would get to the place he’d waited forty years to reach.
Out of Jacob’s twelve sons a few owned a conscience. Others envied so much they were poised to kill. One unexpectedly rose to power in an unlikely place.
Samuel’s mother dedicated her firstborn to God’s service in the tabernacle. His own sons, though, were not fit to replace him.
Eli’s leniency encouraged Hophni and Phineas’ disregard for all that was holy.
Samson’s carnal appetites are well-known, even after his parents received parenting advice directly from an angel. Yet in Hebrews 11 he’s listed as one of God’s faithful.
David, the man after God’s own heart, composed songs that are still sung today. When his desire took precedence over God’s desire, he plunged into a whirlpool of lust, deceit, and murder. David’s sins contributed to his own children’s troubles, as God predicted.
Solomon started out well, with his life instructions and his mother’s immortalized in Scripture. But too many wives with too many gods eventually turned his heart away from the great I AM.
King Josiah’s father and grandfather practiced idolatry. Josiah was one of Judah’s greatest kings, one who reinstituted worship after years of national backsliding.
Daniel’s parents lived during Josiah’s era of revival. With purpose in his heart, God used Daniel greatly. His character and faithfulness to the Lord are still spoken of today.
Hezekiah was the God-fearing son of a wicked father (King Ahaz), and became the God-fearing father to Judah’s most wicked king (Mannaseh).
…The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. – Ezekiel 18:20
Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right. – Proverbs 20:11
I had been taught a formula for parenting. Much is found in Proverbs. But in the Bible record, as in history, real life doesn’t always follow the formula, because it isn’t foolproof. Many factors come into play.
God was the perfect Father, and His children rebelled. Some of our children will veer off course, just as some of God’s children have and continue to do. Because Christian kids walk away from the path of truth, doesn’t mean truth doesn’t exist or that we don’t have a responsibility to teach it.
As believing parents our job is to do what’s right, leaving the results to God. God’s job is to use what we do to accomplish His purposes. Our kids have a far better chance of walking uprightly when their parents show them how, than they do when parents neglect Biblical training.
The law of sowing and reaping has been in existence since the beginning of time. The reality that God rules over the affairs of men has existed just as long.
Our human propensity leans toward dust, toward all that is earthy and temporal and shallowly pleasurable. The wise parent instructs and equips his children for a life well-lived to honor God. The wise child uses what he’s been given to pursue the path that leads to God.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight will be in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. – Psalm 1:1-3
Yes, the choices of parents do influence our children’s future choices. But inevitably our children make their own choices and live with the results. As we all do.
To be continued…
(Photos of Israel courtesy of Ester Inbar, from Wikimedia Commons)