Summary: There is NO more important task in the life of the believing parent than to provide the abundant life through active, unceasing training in following Christ and His Word.
“Keeping Our Kids Out of The Concrete”
What is happening in our nation today? What is happening to our children and young people? Why are so many compromising, struggling, drowning and even dying? Why does it seem that each of the last few generations is taking longer and longer to mature?
Being from NJ, the analogy that comes to my mind is that, in one way or another, our children and grandchildren seem to have been fitted with “concrete boots”! Either their positive growth is stunted and slow, requiring much more effort than should be necessary, or they are just plain sinking fast, incapable of carrying this “weight” back to the “surface.”
Our first, or at least natural response, is to wonder: “Where is God?” “How could He let this happen?”
Read e-mail favorite: “Wow, What A Wake-Up Call!”
A TRAGIC CYCLE
Throughout the history of God’s people, Israel, we see the constant repetition of the same 4-fold cycle: Rebellion – Retribution – Repentance – Restoration
Joshua’s Generation: experienced wandering in desert, saw parting of red sea, received Ten Commandments, fought battle of Jericho, first to enter the promised land & easily conquered all armies in their way. They remained faithful to God & His Law. Knew price the generation before paid for disobedience. Intimately knew LORD & witnessed His mighty wonders!
Next Generation: Children of Joshua & men who fought beside him; sons & daughters of women who gathered the manna in the wilderness. This generation grew up “feeding” on first-hand stories parents told of God’s deliverance & provision. Did not see walls of Jericho fall; heard rumblings of Mt. Sinai, parting of Red Sea, etc. Did not know same or extent of hardships of parents and thus of God’s needed & faithful provision. Yet, day & night, parents taught them such things – when they sat at home & when they walked along the road, when they tucked them in at night and when they woke up in the morning! As a result, that generation stayed faithful, knew their LORD, knew retribution, repentance & restoration. And they were blessed with peace and prosperity.
Third Generation: Had it easiest. Parents & Grandparents made all the real sacrifices, did all the hard “ground work” - settled land, protected borders, established a nation feared & respected by others, agriculture, trade, etc. Transformed nation into a flourishing, growing enterprise. Therefore, this generation grew up with everything! However, the Biblical account in Judges tells us that something went terribly wrong with this third generation after the exodus.
Scripture: Judges 2:8-15
WHAT HAPPENED? WHY?
They returned to rebellion. Time proved that just as God is true to His promises, so His warnings of the cost of apathy and sin will be fulfilled for those who choose that path!
How could this generation rebel, after their grandparents had personally experienced the mighty hand of God and their parents had grown up hearing this eyewitness accounts again and again?
Because, regrettably, both the re-tellings and the spirit behind them began to fade. Therefore, the 3rd generation grew up less influenced by their parents – who knew the LORD & what He had done for Israel – than by the culture around them. A culture filled with idols & counterfeits.
How did it come to this? What suddenly happened? There are a lot of reasons we could and often do offer up. But, there is only one that genuinely explains it: the one & only explanation given in Scripture. The 3rd generation of free Israelites grew up and “... Knew neither the LORD nor what He had done for Israel” (v10).
While their parents gave them many material blessings, they ultimately failed them.
They made sure children lacked nothing material.
Mothers taught daughters how to perform their responsibilities well, that they might attract and marry rich & influential husbands.
Fathers taught sons how to be sure to succeed in the working world, gaining wealth & power in the process.
Sounds pretty good so far. But, one essential problem: in the midst of al of this, they never got around to sufficiently teaching God’s Word!!! But, hey, they had camels to trade, barns to build, parties to plan, weddings to attend – a hundred things to do, all of seeming importance and haste.
Despite likely good intentions, moral & spiritual instruction consistently got crowded out. The failed to tell the stories of God’s deliverance & provision. Failed to hold on to God’s Word. Failed to “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when lie down and when you get up ...” (Dt. 6:7).
A MIRROR ON OUR DAY
Is it just me, or does much of this sound familiar?
children influenced less by parents than culture