Many of us hope and pray that our kids do better than us.
King David had lots of wives. His son Solomon had more–700 wives, more or less. Way more than his father.
1 Kings 11:4 (NIV)
His wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
Solomon had more wives and less devotion.
Lord God, may my children do better by you than I have, more devotion, less distraction.
The Bible offers this child-rearing advice:
Ephesians 6:4 (ERV)
. . . raise them with the kind of teaching and training you learn from the Lord.
You can’t teach what you don’t know.
I just bought a my very own copy of A Puritan Golden Treasury. Those stuffy old Puritans left us some rock-solid advice.
“If you neglect to instruct them in the way of holiness, will the devil neglect to instruct them in the way of wickedness? No, if you will not teach them to pray, he will to curse, swear, and lie.”
What do you say to your children?
- Follow my example
- Do as I say, not as I do
- See what I do? Do the opposite
This is what Paul wrote to his “spiritual children” in Philippi:
Philippians 4:9 (NIV)
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.
Interesting words from Paul, who started with a mission to destroy Christianity. His do-as-I-do message says:
“Don’t let past sins hold you back.”
It’s never too late to set a better example.
Choices have consequences.
Bad choices = tough consequences.
King David called for a census. Against advice. Against God’s instructions. God wasn’t pleased.
The sin was David’s choice. And this one time, so was the consequence.
1 Chronicles 21:11-12 (CEV)
These are the choices the Lord has given you. You may choose three years of famine, three months of destruction by the sword of your enemies, or three days of severe plague.
David picked option #3, and 70,000 people died. David (and we) learned that he wasn’t (and we aren’t) the only ones hurt by a bad choice.
Exodus 20:5-6 (CEV)
If you reject me, I will punish your families for three or four generations. But if you love me and obey my laws, I will be kind to your families for thousands of generations.
Better a blessing for a thousand generations than trouble for three or four.
Matthew 5:48 (CEV)
But you must always act like your Father in heaven.
Father God, you are one hard act to follow.
Can my children see you in me?
Help me! I certainly can’t do this on my own.
“God strikes not as an enemy, to destroy;
but as a father, to correct.”
James H. Aughey (1828-1911)
Every now and again, we need a little Fatherly correction.
What of your earthly father do you see in your heavenly Father?
People with mean, judgmental and arbitrary earthly fathers sometimes see those same characteristics in their heavenly father. God is better than that.
Those with kind, encouraging and consistent earthly fathers see those same characteristics in their heavenly Father. God is better than that too.