I have been saddened over the years to see Christian children as well as young adults, walk away from their faith.
My wife and I have brought up three children, all who are now adults. We have been through many of the challenges that face parents bringing up these little people. (In a pastors household that doesn’t mean less challenges, but more. Our children have a greater expectation that is not always fair, put upon them by others!) I am so glad to say that all of my children love the Lord and serve Him, my daughter in the local church, and my two sons on the mission field.
Parenthood in the church is not only a biological responsibility, but as disciple makers, extends to us all. Recently in Australia we celebrated Mothers day and in our church I taught about an attribute of God that exists strongly in mothers, but one that MUST strongly manifest in every generation of those who are spiritual Mothers and Fathers.
Look with me at this passage in Judges chapter 2 and take note of some very important points that we will examine together.
Judges 2:7-11 (NKJV) So the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD which He had done for Israel. 8 Now Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died when he was one hundred and ten years old. 9 And they buried him within the border of his inheritance at Timnath Heres, in the mountains of Ephraim, on the north side of Mount Gaash. 10 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel. 11 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals;
Our faith is generational. God has no grandchildren, and we have a responsibility to raise every generation up onto walking in their own faith and discipleship of Jesus. Every generation must be led into revelation of God as their own Father!
The attribute that we see from God’s own character and prevalent in mothers especially is that of ‘nurturing’.
Webster Dictionary explains this as; The act of nourishing or nursing; tender care; education; training.
For the most part we can see this in scripture as one of the Godly attributes that reflect His character in the Mothers heart. We see a great example of this pointed out by the Apostle Paul concerning Timothy.
2 Timothy 1:5 (NASB) For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.
Paul saw something in Timothy that he identified had been deposited by his mother, and pointed out that she got this from her mother. Often what a father imparts into a child’s life is different to what the mother deposits. Proverbs chapter one helps us see the difference.
Proverbs 1:8-9 (AMPC) My son, hear the instruction of your father; reject not nor forsake the teaching of your mother. 9 For they are a [victor’s] chaplet (garland) of grace upon your head and chains and pendants [of gold worn by kings] for your neck.
Generally speaking, fathers instruct. Instruction doesn’t always teach. It can be devoid of understanding and simply impart, direct, command and inform.
In Proverbs 1:8 the Hebrew word translated ‘instruction’ carries with it the idea of correction and discipline. Whereas the word used for ‘teaching’, which is attributed to the mother is the word ‘Torah’ which means teachings and instructions, and carries with it a very detailed instruction of how to…
Now, here we need to mention that this does not give the men an out to be impatient and just bark orders at their kids or anyone else they are instructing for that matter. At times it may be necessary, obedience also needs to be learned, without the need for a detailed explanation, however, what we see in a mother’s instruction is an attribute of our Father God that is expressed in women more easily.
The problem exists when there is only instruction and directive given. The child knows what to do but not why to do it! They have no revelation! Look again with me at our verse in Judges;
Judges 2:10 (NKJV) When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.
An entire generation rose up that “did not know the LORD”. The failure was in only instilling the truth of the Torah, but not teaching the heart of the One behind the truths. Have you ever seen someone trying to work their faith with no results? They have heard Mark 11:22-23 and think that if they just confess things, something might work for them. The truth is that Mark 11 doesn’t say that if you confess the Word your faith will work. It says that if you “believe those things that you say, you will have whatsoever you say.”
There has to be an inner “knowing” and intimate understanding, not just an outward act. This doesn’t come by just being told what to do, but by knowing and believing the One who said it. In Exodus 33 we see Moses cry out to the Lord desiring to understand Him more.
Exodus 33:13 (AMPC) Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You [progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with You, perceiving and recognizing and understanding more strongly and clearly] and that I may find favor in Your sight. And [Lord, do] consider that this nation is Your people.
The words “show me now your way” should be our heart cry personally and for those we need to teach. The Hebrew word for ‘way’ is ‘derek’ meaning a road, path or course of life
Did Moses get his prayer answered? YES!
Psalms 103:7 (NKJV) He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.
Psalms 103:7 (NLT) He revealed His character to Moses and His deeds to the people of Israel.
Now I don’t know about you but I’m interested in more than just seeing what God does, I want to know why God does. I want to know His character, His ways. That is what Paul saw in Timothy, a sincerity of faith, a way of living that was more than just an obedience. It’s a knowing of God and His ways more than just a knowing about God.
The Greek word for ‘to know’ that parallels the Hebrew word ‘derek’ is ‘gingko’, we see this word used in 1 John 2;
1 John 2:3-6 (NKJV) Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
This verse is a perfect example because at first reading it looks like we should just “keep His commandments” if we want to know Him. This sounds very cold and directive. But the commandments of God are life and health. They exemplify His heart! As you read on you begin to see a fuller picture of keeping the commandments, it involves the Love of God being perfected in you and walking as Jesus walked!
Jesus himself said in John 14;
John 14:6 (NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
All three of these words sum up ‘derek’ to know, the path/way, the life of Jesus walked out.
Our verse in Judges, showed a generation that didn’t know the LORD. Similarly Paul admonishes the Galatian church;
Galatians 4:1-9 (NKJV) Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 8 But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. 9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?
What is the heart of Pauls message here? Live as ‘son’s’ not as ‘bondmen’.
We have a generation to nurture and deposit into, to teach them how to walk like Jesus by intimately knowing Him and His Word. By walking this out in such a way that they see their faith working in their lives. They see God actively involved in every day and they participate in the miracles that flow from the Zoe life of God.
The generation that doesn’t know God, are those who only know the Word as law and not the miracles expressed through the Lord’s character. Let’s receive understanding and revelation today of the character and nature of God through His nurture, and impart to those around us the very heart of God!
Blessings and Love
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