Deuteronomy 6:4-9 & Ephesians 6:1-4
“Children obey your parents for this is right.”
The 21st Century Translation reads “Parents obey your children for this is right. Children, do not provoke your parents to become angry.” Why do I say this?
Notice the Text in Ephesians. The child’s world revolves around the parents. The child needs to adapt to a new set of circumstances, a new reality; that new reality is the Adult world.
Why is this Important?
As a child grows up what is the most important principle they must learn? That their whole lives/world have to adapt to a
heavenly Father. However, if the parent “relinquishes the steering wheel to their children, if a child grows up in a child dominated society”. If everything in the family revolves around the child, Then you have done the child a tremendous disservice.
What will you say when you introduce your child to Jesus Christ who expects them to lose their lives for Him. How is a child living in a child centered and child dominated society going to say like John the Baptist did “Jesus must increase, I must decrease” or like Paul did “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live” or understand “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God”? Do you see how that would be completely counter intuitive?
God created earthly fathers and put children in the crucible of a home where most of the important principles of the Christian life are to be learned. So we must take our role as Fathers seriously.
The Image the Father Provides
The Bible also gives a picture of God being our Heavenly Father. Go back to Ephesians 5:1- “be imitators of God”. With the way we live in relationships one to another often provides a kind of picture of our relationship to God. We saw this clearly in marriage. One of the most profound way’s of imitation is displayed in the relationship of a Father to his child.
Dads, your children are trying to learn something of what God is like – they are looking at you!
In the life of a child who should exercises the most Authority? The Father or parent
In the life of a child who should display the greatest love? The Father or parent
We tend to think of these two concepts not moving together. However as your child understands your absolute authority in their life and sees with it coupled with an overwhelming display of unconditional love it begins to provide a pictures of God’s authority and love for his children.
The Instruction the Father is Given
Do not provoke or exasperate your child. This is what you don’t want to do.
Kids, this doesn’t mean that your parents should never be frustrating to you. The Greek for provoke means to nag as a habit, to flatten a child. There are a few ways we do that as fathers.
Saying one thing but doing another, making promises that you don’t keep. In an inconsistent lifestyle they hear you say one thing but see you act in another way; This just leaves a child frustrated.
When your boundaries on discipline are shifty and you and your wife have two different sets of boundaries, the child is not certain what is acceptable and what is not. Again, this leads to frustration.
Over controlling: Micro managing your child and they have no freedom to fail or express their individuality.
Under control: Children simply no longer respond to your authority because they know you don’t have any hard boundaries.
The Lord spoke to Samuel about Eli and Eli’s sons.
“For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them” 1 Samuel 3
Lack of Encouragement
“Do not provoke to your children to anger or they will become discouraged” Colossians 3:21
Do you realize that your child is like a sponge that can not absorb enough encouragement? Not false praise but encouragement.
Never have I heard a child say enough already with the encouragement how about some correction.
Father’s, are you in the habit of pointing out what’s lacking instead of being proud of what has been accomplished? Ask your wife. Outside of a Birthday, do you celebrate the life and accomplishments of your child well? Do you pray specifically for your children; do they hear your prayers? Do you provide stable boundaries, unified as parents, and is your home a place for freedom and failure?
Bring Them Up Positively
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
The Greek used here has two translations.
- Nourish, help flourish: Forcing a bulb to bloom you must put it in just the right conditions. A child is like a flower that needs the right conditions.
- Stiffen or strengthen the base: The Twin Towers, in order to be supported 110 stories in the air – they had to first dig 70 feet in the ground.
One of the difficulties of being a parent, especially of young children and even through High School, you are spending virtually no time constructing a visible building. Instead you are digging a hole, creating and strengthening a base so that your child can grow and stand tall in the conditions they will find themselves in as an adult.
What are the conditions for blooming children? How can we stiffen or strengthen the base?
Paul provides 3 important ingredients:
- Do not Provoke
Provide the Discipline and Instruction of the Lord
This is what Moses was getting at in Deuteronomy. The repetition of the Law in 6:6-7
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
“Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:29
In order to teach it we first have to know it. You can’t give away something you don’t have. Might need to ask yourself where are you receiving discipleship.
Jesus gives the greatest example with the disciples. First, He calls them to be with him, to listen and to watch “Come follow me and then you will be fishers of men” then he sends them out to make disciples all over the world.
There is no better picture of His absolute Authority and Unconditional love than the Communion Table.
Friends and Brothers,