Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Weight of Parenthood

I shared devotions in my team meeting at work today. I was supposed to create a devotions schedule last week to send out to the team, but I forgot. So I prepared a devotion 10 minutes prior to the meeting based on my personal devotions. Thankfully, as I have stated before, the Word of God is living and moving. When he teaches me something I just can't help but share.

I have been reading in 1 Kings. I love the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, but I prefer not to read them back to back. A lot of the stories overlap and seem redundant. But there is so much to learn and so much history in those books. I'll get back to my reading in 1 Kings, but first a preface.

During my time at Liberty some speaker or teacher or pastor (after seven years as a student or staff member it all seems to blend together) referenced Exodus 34: 6-7 which says, "The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation." Stop and think of that for a second.

Example: King David. A man after God's own heart. How did his actions move the third and fourth generations?

First example, Bathsheba's child. We all know the story. David looked, David longed for, David took, David killed. Nathan the prophet visits David and says, "Because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die" and "on the seventh day the child died"(2 Samuel 12). David's adultery led to the premature death of his child. The iniquity of the father on the child.

Second example: Absalom. Absalom is one of David's sons. Absalom kills his half-brother Amnon. Absalom attempts to steal the kingdom from his father. In this attempt, Absalom wishes to kill his father. Absalom is killed by Joab, one of David's commanders. David hears of Absalom's death. Even though Absalom sought to take the life of his father, David cried, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son! (2 Samuel 18). David's son Absalom did not walk with God. David ceased to train his son in the ways of the Lord. The iniquity of the father on the child.

Third example, from my recent devotions in 1 Kings: Jeroboam. Solomon has taken many wives and concubines. Solomon has built the temple and his own palace. Solomon has turned from the Lord. The Lord is giving the kingdom to Jeroboam. The Lord says, "Behold, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and will give you ten tribes (but he shall have one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city that I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel)" (1 Kings 11: 31-32). Even though the kingdom was being stripped from Solomon, possibly the wisest man on earth, one tribe would remain in his power on behalf of his father David. David was a man after God's own heart. David was a friend of God. Because of David's steadfastness, Solomon's kingdom was not devoted to complete ruin. The blessing of the father passed on to the child.

Shortly after Jackson was born I began to feel the weight of spiritual parenthood. I am sure this weight will increase as Jackson grows and learns and develops cognitive thought. While it is not my responsibility that Jackson come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice and grace, it is my responsibility to teach Jackson of God and His love. It is my responsibility to be an example to Jackson of what the Christian life should be. It is my responsibility to train him in the ways of the Lord so that he will not depart from them when he is old.

Ummm... what?


It is awfully humbling to know that over the next couple decades baby will be watching me and learning from me. He will notice all my good traits... and all my bad. What actions will he choose to mimic? When will he choose to mirror me? What will he repeat and to whom? Most importantly, how will he view God and appropriate acts of worship?

Deep breath. Take it one day at a time. Live so that my family history is one where God blesses my descendants "for the sake of Rebecca". Live so that my descendants will not turn away from the Lord, but will continue their family heritage of knowing Christ and making him known.