Raising Our Children

There are 2 statements in the books of Joshua and Judges that stand in stark contrast to each other. The first is Joshua 24:15 (NIV):

"But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."

This was a bold statement by Joshua to the nation of Israel that had conquered the land of Canaan and established the nation in the promised land. Joshua made it known what the priority was for his family - to serve God. He made this statement toward the end of his life, as he confirmed the covenant relationship between God and Israel. He clearly had a great influence on the nation and at the close of the book it says this in Joshua 24:31 (NIV):

"Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel."

Then we find in the next book - Judges - in Judges 2:10-12 (NIV), the following:
"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. What happened? How did they turn away from God so quickly? From one generation to the next, there was a massive shift in their belief and submission to God."

I don't believe this is unique to that generation of Israel. I believe it is a matter for every generation in every cultural context.

All we can do is to raise our children to the best of our ability in the manner that God calls us to. This is what Joshua did. The same applies to us with our children, grandchildren, wider family and friends. I encourage us all to pray for our children, to model what it means to be a Christian in this world and to equip them as best we can to make good choices as they emerge into adulthood.

Eventually, each person has to make the choice for themselves - will they serve the Lord, or will they go along another path? The only way you can make a choice is by having options known to you. Make sure your children know that Jesus is not only a viable option - He IS the only the option.

God bless,

Tim Connelly