“And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.”
Judges 2:10 KJV
I found this scripture quite convicting this morning. I was struck by the realization of how much responsibility we have, as parents, to ensure our children truly know God.
The background of this scripture is the story of the Israelites’ journey out of bondage in Egypt to the promise land of Canaan. God had promised he would bless them and they would prosper as long as they remained faithful to him. He instructed them and showed them many great miracles all throughout the 40 years they wondered in the wilderness. Now here they were in the promised land. They are blessed and they are prospering finally. I imagine they took a deep breath and said to themselves, “Now we can relax!”
But in doing this, they neglected to teach their children about the God who loved them and saved them! Yes, they went to the temple and made sacrifices and did their duty to the Lord. They most likely even had that sincere and loving relationship with the Lord themselves, but apparently they failed to pass that down to their children.
How do I know this? Well, Joshua 2:10 says the next generation did not know the Lord. If they had been introduced to God, and taught his ways, they would have known him. Yet, their parents enjoyed relationship with God all their own, without sharing it with their children.
I see this a lot in our Christian churches, and I admit, I myself have been guilty of it. Praying and enjoying God’s word while my kids are playing and doing other things. It’s easy to not include them in that time and to talk to them about how important it is to have a relationship with God.
It’s easy to lay down the law, the “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots,” without introducing them to the freedom of living in communion with their savior. No wonder so many young people leave the church as soon as they are old enough to make their own decisions. They view their Christian faith as a prison, not as the liberty it truly is.
I wonder… was this what happened to the generation of Israelites in Joshua chapter two?
As parents, we MUST take our responsibility to train up our children (Proverbs 22:6) seriously. Let us not just relax and expect them to just “get it.” Yes, they are watching us. They need us to demonstrate how to pray, study the word and worship God, but they also need to us to teach them about God so they will know him! Because when they KNOW God, they will love him and follow and obey him out of that love.
It can sometimes seem like a daunting task. Where do we start? How do we teach our kids about God? Though I know I’m not perfect, I have started doing a few things with my kids to encourage a relationship with God and to teach them about who he is.
The first thing to do is to pray with them! It doesn’t have to be “a lot” of prayer. Children are simplistic. They just need simple words and thoughts. That’s all. I will pray a little prayer over my kids, then I let them say their own heartfelt prayer to God. You will be amazed at how sweet and sincere they are. Some of the things they pray for will not seem very spiritual to us, but it means everything to our children. For instance, my daughter prays for the rain to stop or for the dog to have a good day. I never correct her. I let her pray from her heart.
The next thing is praise and worship with them! This will look much different with children than it does with adults. I turn the music on and we jump around and dance and clap and sing. This is also is a great workout for us moms who don’t get a lot of time to exercise! (Just saying! Ha!)
It’s also very VERY important to teach our kids the Word of God. I have been using The Family-Time Bible by Kenneth N. Taylor. It has beautiful pictures and very short, but detailed stories that that keep my child’s attention. It takes less than 5 minutes to read each story and discuss it.
All of this doesn’t seem like much to us as adults, but it does so much in the way of leading our children to Jesus.
I don’t know about you, but I have been challenged by God’s Word today.
Lord, let me ensure my kids KNOW you as they grow into adulthood.