Judges 2:6-15 – Grandchildren: Our Chance to Make Up for the Mistakes We Made with Our Children

Posted: July 29, 2017 in Book of Judges
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Judges 2:6-15
Israel Disobeys the Lord

There is an old axiom that says grandchildren are our chance to correct the mistakes that we made with our children. When we are young and have our children, we often make mistakes with them that impact them the rest of our lives. I know that is the case with my grown daughters. One of the biggest mistakes that I made with my kids is that God was never really part of conversations at home. I guess I expected them to catch the faith by taking them to church on Sundays. But we never read Bible stories to them. We never did family devotionals at the dinner table. And the little church that we went to that was my first wife’s family church was little more than social club that meet on Sundays between three local extended families. There was no discipleship, no Sunday school, just Sunday morning preaching and that was about it.

At home, there were two parents who were not anywhere closed to being saved by grace through faith. We claimed to be Christians but that was it, the claim. There was not even a Bible in our house that I can remember. Then there was all the marital discord and causes and effects that led our marriage to the courtroom. Then, our children were never really exposed to discipleship through us as parents after that. I am pretty sure that my oldest daughter, now 32 and a parent of a 1 year old daughter of her own, is saved simply by listening to her talk about God and faith and how she prays. My prayer for her is that she will find a local church that will energize her and deepen her faith through the fellowship with other believers. My youngest daughter, who and am going through relationship struggles right now may not be saved. She may be but the fruits of the spirit are not evident. I pray that she will come to the Lord. I pray that God will place people into her life that will lead her into the light of the Lord.

The thing that is striking to me about my grown children and I think it is true of all children is that it like the old saying about it being tough to get the horse back in the barn after leaving the barn door open. If we don’t teach our children the ways of the Lord when we have them at home, we leave the barn door open. Much of our lifelong behaviors are learned in those early first 5 years of life. If we do not make our faith evident to them and if we do not directly have time where we teach them about the Lord, we leave the barn door open. If we do not take life’s teachable moments and interweave the Christian faith into the teachable moments, we leave the barn door open. It is like trying to get the horse back in the barn after leaving the barn door open. The world is too ready to teach our children the ways of the Lord and trying to combat that when you have not taught them about God and His commands and His Word after say they are teenagers, you missed the golden opportunities. Those early formative years when our kids are little and moldable and teachable are an important window of opportunity to teach them the ways of the Lord from which they will never depart. I just pray that my children forgive me and that the Lord forgives me for missing that window of opportunity with my kids.

But I do have an opportunity at making up for the mistakes that I made with my kids. The granddaughter that just turned 1 this past week is that opportunity to make up for not seeing the importance of teaching the next generation about the Lord. I want young Miss Ralyn to know the Lord at an early age. I want her to be exposed to Bible stories. I want her to be exposed to Christian principles. I want her to be taught about who Jesus is and what He represents for us. And I want to do it in a way that is not preachy but such that she asks questions about Jesus and God and the church and use those moments to impart the gospel to her. I want it to be easy going and part of everyday conversation so that Jesus is fun and intriguing to her young mind. Grandkids are our opportunities to make up for how we screwed up our own kids. They are our second chance. I hope that I do well with my second chance.

That idea of imparting knowledge of God and the ways of God to our next generations was what I thought of this morning. How Israel failed at it. How I failed at and how my grandchild is my opportunity make up for the mistakes I made in teaching my kids about God. If we don’t teach our kids about God and about His love for us through Jesus Christ, there is a world out there too willing to ask them to join in the things that the world worships. We see it in Israel’s history in this passage, Judges 2:6-15:

6 After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to their own inheritance. 7 The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel.

8 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres[a] in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.

10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger 13 because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. 15 Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.

Here in this passage, we see that one generation died and the next did not follow God. Judges 2:10-3:7 is a brief preview of the cycle of sin, judgment, and repentance that Israel experienced again and again. Each generation failed to teach the next generation to love and follow God. Yet, this was the very center of the law (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). It is tempting to leave the job of teach the Christian faith to the church, Sunday school, or church-related organizations. Yet, God says the responsibility for this task primarily belongs to the family. Because children learn so much by our example, the home offers the most effective place to pass on the faith to the next generation.

Little Miss Rayln, my sweet grandchild, I want you not have to suffer through years and years of struggles and such a long and winding road to the cross. I want you to know the Lord, know what Jesus Christ did for you, and for you to know Jesus Christ as your Savior at a time that is right for you and hopefully that it is early in life. I want you not to have to get caught up in what the world worships and the struggles that it will cause you in life. I pray that your granddaddy here will be able to influence your through direct and indirect ways about our Christian faith and God’s Word. I pray I will be able to answer the tough questions that you will have about life and being a Christ follower. I pray all of that fervently.

Amen and Amen.

 

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