“We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” – Psalm 78:4
When I read the Bible there is a thread woven through that strikes me whenever I come across it. It is God’s love for children and his command that we adults tell them about him. You can’t escape it in the Old Testament. “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children…” - Deuteronomy 6:6. See also Deuteronomy 4:9 and 11:19.
Joel 1:3 gives warning to, “Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation.” The book of Joshua talks of several heaps of stones built as monuments of remembrance for the coming generations (see Joshua 4:21-22). The entire Psalm 78 is dedicated to telling the coming generations of what the Lord has done for his people.
In the New Testament we see Jesus gathering children to himself to be blessed. He knows there is no better place for them to be than in his presence. He openly receives them and sternly tells his disciples not to keep them away.
“Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’ ” – Matthew 19:13-15
Oh, if people would heed these words today! Do not hinder the children from coming to Jesus! Do not stop them from being in his presence or from hearing his Word! Direct them there, point the way, encourage them to know who he is and what he has done. Do not close the door on the relationship by not attending church or not reading the Bible. Stop acting like the name of Jesus is taboo unless used as a curse word. If this describes you, hear the rebuke of Christ loudly in your ear today – “let the little children come to me and do not hinder them”!
Tell the children about God and his glorious deeds and wondrous works. Tell them of his powerful wrath, his holiness, his perfection. Tell them of his standards and righteous judgement. Tell them of his immense love for his people, his glorious grace and his victory over sin and death. Tell them the story of Jesus that is only found in the Bible and is the only way to life forever.
You cannot rely on someone else to do this: not school (ha!), not church, not grandparents, not the internet, not a friend. You must do it. Do not stand aloof and think they will find their own way – someday – somehow – if they want to. If you wait until they are “old enough” to make up their own mind it will be too late. By then they will have learned from you that God is unimportant and not worth talking about.
Tell the children about God. Start with what is in the Bible and then (if you are a Believer) tell them of what he has done in your life. Tell of the times he provided for you, instructed you, and answered prayers. Tell of the time he claimed you as his own. There is so much to share, you have to start as soon as they are born and never stop.
Don’t go a day without talking to your child about God. Why? The answer is given in Psalm 78:7 – “so that they should set their hope in God.” God is their only hope, so you sure better let them know it. The only legacy worth leaving is the one that has eternal promise and points to Christ.
“Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” – Psalm 34:11
We had just finished breakfast and decided to take a hike in the woods on the “West Lake Trail” behind our campsite. Just me and my two youngest boys. As we entered the forest the world around us changed. It was beautiful. The morning sun was shining through the high leafy branches, sending rays of light beaming onto our path and illuminating the greenery around us. Birds were chirping out their morning songs and squirrels scurried around the hilly terrain.
As I watched my sons interact together on that broad trail in front of me, laughing and sharing imaginary stories, my decision was once again confirmed in my heart. I want more of this. I want to share God’s world with them and stand beside them each day in amazement of God’s creation and orderly plan demonstrated over and over in the details of life. I want to teach them how that light pressing through the trees above hits the plants below, initiating photosynthesis so that these plants can grow and produce oxygen. Why? Because that is how God designed it to be on creation day number three.
I want to begin with the Creator, Author, and Perfector of life and not allow him to be a post script at the end of their busy days. I want to share truth with them and allow their natural curiosity to bloom and stir in them a love of investigation. I want them to settle for nothing less than absolute truth in life. I want to teach my children to center their lives around God. So I am.
It seems like such an obvious decision. God has sovereignly assigned them to me to nurture, discipline and train. He specifically chose me for this position and yet I have sent them to the World for their formal education, assuming we could “add God in” as needed. I haven’t yet found scripture to support God being a side note to real life or an extracurricular activity that is optional. I only see him commanding to be the main focus of every aspect of our lives (see 1 Cor. 10:31 and Col. 3:17).
Despite what I have tried to tell myself over the years, I have come to understand that education is never neutral. Jesus himself said in Matthew 12:30, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” There is no hint of neutrality in those words. Public schools have kicked God out and taken their stand with the World. Therefore it follows that the educational system in our country today (not necessarily individuals) is against God and scatters.
What do we truly want for our children? My husband and I made ourselves sit down and seriously answer this question. With an eternal perspective firmly in place, we discussed and wrote down what we desired to see in the lives of our boys. There were no sappy answers of just “wanting them to be happy.” God was the focus of every goal we had and this had to change how we moved forward in raising them.
Psalm 127:3 and 4 tell us, “Behold children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” These arrow-children of ours have great purpose. There is a spiritual battle waging whether we see it or not; whether we acknowledge it or not. I want my arrows to be as sharp and as dangerous as they possibly can be. I want them to pierce the Enemy in such a mighty way that he flees in fear, not of them but of what their Maker can do through them. Having been honed for usefulness by years of sharpening and training. The warriors that hold them are their father and I, given a gift laden with responsibility.
So I am leaving a position I have loved for ten years to yield to the calling of becoming a metal worker. I have heard myself telling others that this seems crazy, but as I write this today the opposite seems to be so true. It would be crazy to ignore the call and leave these arrows I claim precious to me, to be dulled by worldly ways and teachings. Trying to do quick, hit and miss sharpening in their ever decreasing spare time. If Christ is what life is all about, then Christ is what I will teach. All else pales in comparison to him and yet is only illuminated by his work.
There was a bench overlooking the river at the midway point in our trail that day. I asked my sons to sit next to me and we prayed together for God to guide us in this new venture knowing full well, as excited as we are, it will not be an easy path to take. We then walked on, and as I listened to these two brothers sing made up songs trying to make each other laugh, I again stood in amazement of a Creator who would package up such potentially dangerous weapons in such a joyful (although often ornery) way. Not long from now the bowstring will be pulled tight and these “arrows in the hands of a warrior” will be launched forward into a raging battle. I want them ready in every way to serve their King valiantly.