** Children follow parents’ example
Isaac was afraid that the men in Gerar would kill him to get his beautiful wife, Rebekah. So he lied, claiming that Rebekah was his sister. Where id he learn that trick? He may have known about the actions of his father, Abraham. Parents help shape the world’s future by the way they shape their children’s values. The first step toward helping children live right is for the parents to live right. Your actions are often copied by those closest to you. What kind of example are you setting for your children? (NLT)
Genesis 26:7-11 – And when the men there asked him about Rebekah, he said, “She is my sister.” He was afraid to admit that she was his wife. He thought they would kill him to get her, because she was very beautiful. But some time later, Abimelech, king of the Philistines, looked out a window and saw Isaac fondling Rebekah.
Abimelech called for Isaac and exclaimed, “She is obviously your wife! Why did you say she was your sister?” “Because I was afraid someone would kill me to get her from me,” Isaac replied. “How could you treat us this way!” Abimelech exclaimed. “Someone might have taken your wife and slept with her, and you would have made us guilty of great sin.” Then Abimelech made a public proclamation: “Anyone who harms this man or his wife will die!”
** Significance of childrens names
Today parents usually give their children names that sound good or have sentimental appeal. But the Old Testament portrays a more dynamic use of names. Parents often chose names that reflected the situation at the time of the birth. They sometimes hoped their children would fulfill the meaning of the names given them. Later the parents could look back and see if their grown children had lived up to their names. Sometimes a person’s name was changed because his or her character and name did not match. This happened to Jacob (“he grasps the heel,” figuratively, “he deceives”), whose name was changed to Israel (“one who struggles with God”). Jacob’s character had changed to the point that he was no longer seen as a deceiver, but as a God-honoring man. (NLT)
Genesis 29:32 – So Leah became pregnant and had a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “The Lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.”
** Teaching children to follow God
God told Moses that his miraculous experiences with Pharaoh should be retold to his descendants. What stories Moses had to tell! Living out one of the greatest dramas in biblical history, he witnessed events few people would ever see. It is important to tell our children about God’s work in our past and to help them see what he is doing right now. What are the turning points in your life where God intervened? What is God doing for you now? Your stories will form the foundations of your children’s belief in God. (NLT)
Exodus 10:2 – “You will be able to tell wonderful stories to your children and grandchildren about the marvelous things I am doing among the Egyptians to prove that I am the Lord.”
** – The Hebrews were extremely successful at making religion an integral part of life. The reason for their success was that religious education was life-oriented, not information-oriented. They used the context of daily life to teach about God. The key to teaching your children to love God is stated simply and clearly in these verses. If you want your children to follow God, you must make God a part of your everyday experiences. You must teach your children diligently to see God in all aspects of life, not just those that are church related. (NLT)
Deuteronomy 6:7 – Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.
** – The laws were to be read to the whole assembly so that everyone, including the children, could hear them. Every seven years the entire nations would gather together and listen as a priest read the law to them. There were no books, Bibles, or newsstands to spread God’s word, so the people had to rely on word of mouth and an accurate memory. Memorization was an important part of worship because if everyone knew the law, ignorance would be no excuse for breaking it. To fulfill God’s purpose and will in our lives, we need the content and substance of his Word in our hearts and minds. For the Hebrews, this process began in childhood. Teaching our children and new believers should be one of our top priorities. Our finest teachers, best resources, and most careful thought should be directed toward showing young believers who to follow God in all life’s situations. (NLT)
Deuteronomy 31:10-13 – Then Moses gave them this command: “At the end of every seventh year, the Year of Release, during the Festival of Shelters, you must read this law to all the people of Israel when they assemble before the Lord your God at the place he chooses. Call them all together—men, women, children, and the foreigners living in your towns—so they may listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully obey all the terms of this law. Do this so that your children who have nto known these laws will hear then and will learn to fear the Lord your God. Do this as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.”
** – Unborn generations are depending on our faithfulness today. As we teach our children about the Lord, so they will teach their children and their children’s children. If we fail to tell our children about the Lord, we may well be breaking the chain of God’s influence in generations to come. We must view our children and all the young people we meet as God’s future leaders. If we are faithful in opportunities today, we may well be affecting the future. (NLT)
Psalm 22:30-31 – Future generations will also serve him. Our children will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those yet unborn. They will hear about everything he has done.
** – God commanded that the stories of his mighty acts in Israel’s history and his laws be passed on from parents to children. This shows the purpose and importance of religious education: To help each generation obey God and set its hope on him. It is important to keep children from repeating the same mistakes as their ancestors. What are you doing to pass on the history of God’s work to the next generation? (NLT)
Psalm 78:5 – For he issued his decree to Jacob; he gave his law to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children
** How children are affected by the sins of their parents
Why would sins affect grandchildren and great-grandchildren? This is no arbitrary p7unishment. Children still suffer for the sins of their parents. Consider child abuse or alcoholism, for example. While these sins are obvious, sins like selfishness and greed can be passed along as well. The dire consequences of sin are not limited to the individual family member. Be careful not to treat sin casually, but repent and turn from it. The sin may cause you little pain now, but it could sting in a most tender area of your life later—your children and grandchildren, (NLT)
Exodus 34:7 – I show this unfailing love to many thousands by forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. Even so I do not leave sin unpunished, but I punish the children for the sins of their parents to the third and fourth generations.”
** Child Sacrifice
Sacrificing children to the gods was a common practice in ancient religions, the Ammonites, Israel’s neighbors, made child sacrifice to Molech (their national god) a vital part of their religion. They saw this as the greatest gift they could offer to ward off evil or appease angry gods. God made it clear that this practice was detestable and strictly forbidden. In Old Testament times as well as New, his character made human sacrifice unthinkable. (1) Unlike the pagan gods, he is a God of love, who does not need to be appeased. (2) He is a God of life, who prohibits murder and encourages practices that lead to health and happiness. (3) He is God of the helpless, who shows special concern for children. (4) He is a God of unselfishness, who instead of demanding blood gives his life for others. (NLT)
Leviticus 20:1-3 – The Lord said to Moses, “Give the Israelites these instructions, which apply to those who are Israelites by birth as well as to the foreigners living among you. If any among them devote their children as burnt offerings to Molech, they must be stoned to death by people of the community. I myself will turn against them and cut them off from the community, because they have defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name by giving their children to Molech.
** Parent-child relationships
Under Israelite law, parents could overrule their children’s vows. This helped young people avoid the consequences of making foolish promises or costly commitments. From this law comes an important principle for both parents and children. Young people still living at home should seek their parents’ help when they make decisions. A parent’s experience could save a child from a serious mistake. Parents, however, should exercise their authority with caution and grace. They should let children learn from their mistakes while protecting them from disaster. (NLT)
Numbers 30:3-8 – “If a young woman makes a vow to the Lord or a pledge under oath while she is still living at her father’s home, and her father hears of the vow or pledge but says nothing, then all her vows and pledges will stand. But if her father refuses to let her fulfill the vow or pledge on the day he hears of it, then all her vows and pledges will become invalid. The Lord will forgive her because her father would not let her fulfill them.
“Now suppose a young woman takes a vow or makes an impulsive pledge and later marries. If her husband learns of her vow or pledge and raises no objections on the day he hears of it, her vows and pledges will stand. But if her husband refuses to accept her vow or impulsive pledge on the day he hears of it, he nullifies her commitments, and the Lord will forgive her.
** – As an old man, Samuel appointed his sons to be judges over Israel in his place. But they turned out to be corrupt, much like Eli’s sons. We don’t know why Samuel’s sons went wrong, but we do know that Eli was held responsible for his own sons’ corruption
It is impossible to know if Samuel was a bad parent. His children were old enough to be on their own. We must be careful not to blame ourselves for the sins of our children. On the other hand, parenthood is an awesome responsibility, and nothing is more important than molding and shaping our children’s lives.
If your grown children are not following God, realize that you can’t control them any longer. Don’t blame yourself for something that is no longer your responsibility. But f your children are still in your care, know that what you do and teach can profoundly affect your children and lasts a lifetime. (NLT)
1 Samuel 8:1-3 – As Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons to be judges over Israel. Joel and Abijah, his oldest sons, held court in Beersheba. But they were not like their father, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and perverted justice.
** Is it ever right for children to disobey parents?
Is it ever right to disobey your father, as Jonathan did here? It is clearly a principle of Scripture that when a father instructs a son to break God’s laws, the son should obey God rather than man. This principle assumes that the son is old enough to be accountable and to see through any deception. A sons’ role is to be respectful, helpful, and obedient to his father, but not to follow commands or advice that violate God’s laws. (NLT)
1 Samuel 19:1-2 – Saul now urged his servants and his son Jonathan to assassinate David. But Jonathan, because of his close friendship with David, told him what his father was planning. “Tomorrow morning,” he warned him, “you must find a hiding place out in the fields.
** Preparing children to fulfill God’s call
God told David he would not be the one to build the Temple. Instead, the task would be left to his son Solomon. David graciously accepted this no from God. He was not jealous of the fact that his son would have the honor of building God’s Temple but instead made preparations for Solomon to carry out his task. Similarly, we should take steps now to prepare the way for our children to find and fulfill God’s purpose. Sooner or later our children will have to make their own decisions, but we can help by supplying them with the proper tools. Showing them how to pray, and study God’s Word, the difference between right and wrong, and the importance of church involvement. (NLT)
1 Chronicles 22:7-10 – “I wanted to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God,” David told him. “But the Lord said to me, ‘You have killed many men in the great battles you have fought. And since you have shed so much blood before me, you will not be the one to build a Temple to honor my name.” But you will have a son who will experience peace and rest. I will give him peace with his enemies in all the surrounding lands. His name will be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel during his reign. He is the one who will build a Temple to honor my name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’
** Children a blessing from God
“God had richly blessed Obed-edom.” The status of children in society has fluctuated throughout history; sometimes they are highly esteemed, and sometimes abused and cheated. But Scripture shows no such vacillation—children are called a gift from the Lord, and God never views them as a burden. (NLT)
1 Chronicles 26:5 – Ammiel (the sixth), Issachar (the seventh), and Peullethai (the eighth). God had richly blessed Obed-edom.
** – Too often children are seen as liabilities rather than assets. But the Bible calls children “a gift from the Lord” a reward. We can learn valuable lessons from their inquisitive minds and trusting spirits. Those who view children as a distraction or nuisance should instead see then as an opportunity to shape the future. We dare not treat children as an inconvenience when God values them so highly. (NLT)
Psalm 127:3-5 – Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like sharp arrows in a warrior’s hands. How happy is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.
* Discipline of children
Because David had never interfered by opposing or even questioning his son, Adonijah did not know how to work within limits. The result was that he always wanted his own way, regardless of how it affected others. Adonijah did whatever he wanted and paid no respect to God’s wishes. An undisciplined child may look cute to his or her parents, but an undisciplined adult destroys himself and others. As you set limits for your children, you make it possible for them to develop the self-restraint they will need in order to control themselves later. Discipline your children carefully while they are young, so that they will grow into self-disciplined adults. (NLT)
1 Kings 1:6 – Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, “What are you doing?” Adonijah was a very handsome man and had been born next after Absalom.
** – It is not easy for a loving parent to discipline a child, but it is necessary. The greatest responsibility that God gives parents is the nurture and guidance of their children. Lack of discipline puts parents’ love in question because it shows a lack of concern for the character development of their children. Disciplining children averts long-range disaster. Without correction, children grow up with no clear understanding of right and wrong and with little direction to their lives. Don’t be afraid to discipline your children it is an act of love. Remember, however, that your efforts cannot make your children wise; they can only encourage your children to seek God’s wisdom above all else!
An undisciplined child may look cute to his or her parents, but an undisciplined adult destroys himself and others. As you set limits for your children, you make it possible for them to develop the self-restraint they will need in order to control themselves later. Discipline your children carefully while they are young, so that they will grow into self-disciplined adults. (NLT)
Proverbs 13:24 – If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.
** Avoid complaining in front of children
Rehoboam must have gotten an unbalanced picture of leadership from his father, Solomon. Apparently Rehoboam saw only the difficulty of leading the nation, not the opportunities. He mentioned only the harsher aspects of Solomon’s rule, and he himself decided to be very harsh toward the people. As you discuss your responsibilities with your children, be sure that you temper words of complaint with words of joy. Otherwise you may sour their attitudes toward the work you do and those you serve. (NLT)
2 Chronicles 10:14 – and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, “My father was harsh on you, but I’ll be even harsher! My father used whips on you, but I’ll use scorpions!”
** Importance of children obeying God at early age
In reading the biblical lists of kings, it is rare to find one who obeyed God completely. Josiah was such a person, and he was only eight years old when he began to reign. For 18 years he reigned obediently; then, when he was 26, he began the reforms based on God’s laws. Children are the future leaders of our churches and our world. A person’s major work for god may have to wait until he is an adult, but no one is ever too young to take god seriously and obey him. Josiah’s early years laid the base for his later task of reforming Judah. (NLT)
2 Kings 22:1-2 – Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah from Bozkath. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn aside from doing what was right.
** Pray for children
Job showed deep concern for the spiritual welfare of his children. Fearful that they night have sinned unknowingly, he offered sacrifices for them. Parents today can show the same concern by praying for their children. This means “sacrificing” some time each day to ask God to forgive them, to help them grow, to protect them, and to help them please him. (NLT)
Job 1:5 – When these celebrations ended—and sometimes they lasted several days—Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice.
** Encouraging children to follow wisdom
One of the greatest responsibilities of parents is to encourage their children to become wise. Here Solomon tells how his father, David, encouraged him to seek wisdom when he was young. This encouragement may have prompted Solomon to ask God for an understanding in and above everything else. Wisdom can be passed on from parents to children, from generation to generation. Ultimately, of course, all wisdom comes from God; parents can only urge their children to turn to him. If your parents never taught you in this way, you can learn from the Scriptures and then create a legacy of wisdom as you teach your own children. (NLT)
Proverbs 4:3-4 – For I, too, was once my father’s son, tenderly loved by my mother as an only child. My father told me, “Take my words to heart. Follow my instructions and you will live.
** Teaching children to make their own choices
In the process of helping our children “choose the right path,” we must discern differing paths for each child. It is natural to want to bring up all our children alike or train then the same way. This verse implies that parents should discern the individuality and special strengths that god has given each one. While we should not condone or excuse self-will, each child has natural inclinations that parents can develop. By talking to teachers, other parents, and grandparents, we can better discern and develop the individual capabilities of each child. (NLT)
Proverbs 22:6 – Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it.
** Teaching children life’s lessons you’ve learned
God urged parents to pass their history down to their children, telling over and over the important lessons they learned, One of the greatest gifts you can give young people is your life’s story to help the repeat your successes and avoid your mistakes (NLT)
Joel 1:3 – Tell your children about it in the years to come. Pass the awful story down from generation to generation.
** Hard for parents to let children go
Mary had to let go of her child and let him become a man, God’s Son, the Messiah. Fearful that she hadn’t been careful enough with this God-given child, she searched frantically for him. But she was looking for a boy, not the young man who was in the Temple astounding the religious leaders with his questions. It is hard to let go of people or projects we have nurtured. It is both sweet and painful to see our children growing into adults, our students into teachers, our subordinates into managers, our inspirations into institutions. But when the time comes we must step back and let go—in spite of the hurt. Then our protégés can exercise their wings, take flight, and soar to the heights God intended for them. (NLT)
Luke 2:48 – His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son!” his mother said to him. “Why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
** Jesus welcomed children
Jesus taught the disciples to welcome children. This was a new approach in a society where children were usually treated as second-class citizens. It is important not only to treat children well but also to teach them about Jesus. Children’s ministries should never be regarded as less important than those for adults. (NLT)
Mark 9:36-37 – Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his harms, he [Jesus] said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes my Father who sent me.”
** Having faith like a child
To feel secure, all children need is a loving look and gentle touch from someone who cares. They believe us because they trust us. Jesus said that people should trust in him with this kind of childlike faith. We do not have to understand all the mysteries of the universe; it should be enough to know that God loves us and provides forgiveness for our sin. This doesn’t mean that we should be childish or immature, but we should trust God with a child’s simplicity and receptivity. (NLT)
Mark 10:14 – But when Jesus saw what was happening, he was very displeased with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
** Being childlike versus childish
Jesus used a child to help his self-centered disciples get the point. We are not to be childish (like the disciples, arguing over petty issues) but childlike with humble and sincere hearts. Are you being childlike or childish? (NLT)
Matthew 18:1-4 – About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Which of us is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a small child over to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I assure you, unless you turn from your sins and become as little children you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
** Our responsibility to instruct children in faith
Children are trusting by nature. Because they trust adults, they are easily led to faith in Christ. God holds parents and other adults accountable for how they influence these little ones. Jesus warned that anyone who turns little children away from faith in him will receive severe punishment. (NLT)
Matthew 18:6 – [Jesus said] “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who trusts in me to lose faith, it would be better for that person to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around the neck.”
** – Jesus warned the disciples about two ways to cause others to sin: tempting then and neglecting or demeaning them. As leaders, we are to help young people or new believers avoid anything or anyone that could cause them to stumble in their faith and lead then to sin. We must never take lightly the spiritual education and protection of those young in age or in the faith. (NLT)
Matthew 18:7 – [Jesus said] “How terrible it will be for anyone who causes others to sin. Temptation to do wrong is inevitable, but how terrible it will be for the person who does the tempting.”
** – Just as a shepherd is concerned enough about one lost sheep to go search the hills for it, so God is concerned about every human being he has created (he “does not want anyone to perish”). If you come in contact with children in your neighborhood who need Christ, steer them toward hi by your example, your words, and your acts of kindness. (NLT)
Matthew 18:14 – [Jesus said] “In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will tat even one of these little ones should perish.”
** – Timothy was one of the first second-generation Christians: He became a Christian, not because an evangelist preached a powerful sermon, but because his mother and grandmother taught him the holy Scriptures when he was a small child. A parent’s work is vitally important. At home and in church, we should realize that teaching small children is both an opportunity and a responsibility. Jesus wanted little children to come to him. Like Timothy’s mother and grandmother, Eunice and Lois, do your part in leading children to Christ. (NLT)
2 Timothy 3:15 – You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.
** Children have the kind of attitude needed to approach God
The disciples must have forgotten what Jesus had said about children. Jesus wanted little children to come to him because he loves them and because they have a guileless trust in God. He didn’t mean that heaven is only for children but that all people need childlike faith in God. The receptiveness of little children was a great contrast to the stubbornness of the religious leaders, who let their education and sophistication stand in the way of the simple faith needed to believe in Jesus. (NLT)
Matthew 19:13-15 – Some children were brought to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for then. The disciples told them not to bother him. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” And he put his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.
** God’s will for children vs. parents’ will for children
The mother of James and John asked Jesus to give her sons special positions in his Kingdom. Parents naturally want to see their children prompted and honored, but this desire is dangerous if it causes them to stand in the way of God’s specific will for their children. God may have different work in mind for them—perhaps not as glamorous but just as important. Thus, parents’ desires for their children’s advancement must be held in check as they pray that God’s will be done in their children’s lives. (NLT)
Matthew 20:20 – Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor.
** Children are important to God
It is easy to overlook children, assuming that they aren’t old enough to do much for the Lord. But this young boy played an important part in protecting Paul’s life. God can use anyone, of any age, who is willing to yield to him. Jesus made it clear that children are important. Give children the important God gives them. (NLT)
Acts 23:16-22 – But Paul’s nephew heard of their plan and went to the fortress and told Paul. Paul called one of the officers and said, “Take this young man to the commander. He has something important to tell him.” So the officer did, explaining, “Paul, the prisoner, called me over and asked me to bring this young man to you because he has something to tell you.” The commander took him by the arm, led him aside, and asked, “What is it you want to tell me?” Paul’s nephew told him, “Some Jews are going to ask you to bring Paul before the Jewish high council tomorrow, pretending they want to get some more information. But don’t do it! There are more than forty men hiding along the way ready to hump hi and kill him. They have vowed not to eat or drink until they kill him. They are ready, expecting you to agree to their request. “Don’t let a soul know you told me this,” the commander warned the young man as he sent him away.
** Purpose of parental discipline
If our faith in Christ is real, it will usually p[rove itself at home, in our relationships with those who know us best. Children and parents have a responsibility to each other. Children should honor their parents even if the parents are demanding and unfair. Parents should care gently for their children even if the children are disobedient and unpleasant. Ideally, of course, Christian parents and Christian children will relate to each other with thoughtfulness and love, This will happen if both parents ad children put the others’ interests above their own—that is, if they submit to one another. (NLT)
The purpose of parental discipline is to help children grow, not to exasperate and provoke them to anger or discouragement. Parenting is not easy—it takes lots of patience to raise children in a loving, Christ-honoring manner. But frustration and anger should not be causes for discipline. Instead, parents should act in love, treating their children as Jesus treats the people he loves. This is vital to children’s development and to their understanding of what Christ is like. (NLT)
Ephesian 6:1-4 – Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do, “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first of the Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. And this is the promise: If you honor your father and mother, “you will live a long life, full of blessing.”
And now a word to you fathers. Don’t make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring then up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord.
** Believers are God’s children
As believers, our self-worth is based on the fact that God loves us and calls us his children. We are his children now, not just sometime in the distant future. Knowing that we are his children should encourage us to live as Jesus did. (NLT)
1 John 3:1 – See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are! But the people who belong to this world don’t know God, so they don’t understand that we are his children.
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