Our church just finished an excellent class teaching parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles how to shepherd the hearts of their children. However, there is much more to parenting. The bible is full of child rearing advice, and I’d like to briefly touch on one aspect. Our Lord says in Ephesians 6:1 that children are to obey and honor their parents. This command is directed at children, but parents, with the help of grandparents, aunts, and uncles, are ultimately responsible to train their children to obey and honor them, and in doing so, to obey and honor God.
I’ve been reading through 2nd Samuel and 1st Chronicles again and just finished reading about poor Uzzah. I’m fairly sure that I would have done just as he did–reached out and kept the ark from falling. And as he did, received the punishment for disobeying God–death. This story emphasizes God’s seriousness about our obedience as well as His desire that we obey Him no matter what.
Another example of how our God feels about obedience is found in 1 Samuel 15. God told Saul to utterly wipe out the Amalekites, to kill all the people and all their animals. But Saul decided to spare their king and the best of their animals. When Samuel questioned Saul, he rationalized saying that he spared the best of the animals to offer them to the Lord as a sacrifice. God said that He had more delight in obedience than sacrifice and that rebellion was like divination and presumption is as wickedness and idolatry. God then rejected Saul as king.
These examples caused me to remember the necessity of learning to obey regardless of what we think is the best thing to do. We can’t offer up excuses to God as to why we didn’t obey–we must obey Him always and we must teach our children to obey without excuse.
Children must be taught to obey their parents the first time they tell their children to do something because we are teaching them to obey God first and foremost. One of the blessings of teaching our children to obey the first time, exactly as they are told, is to keep them from danger. For instance if a ball rolls into the street, and your child runs after it, you want him to stop when you tell him to rather than offer excuses as they continue to run after the ball.
Of course our Father shows us grace because His Son humbled Himself and came here to die that we could be forgiven for our sin. So from time to time, we can show our children grace after they have learned to obey.
My prayer is that we will be faithful parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, training our children biblically, to obey and enjoy our great God.