Train Up A Child




Challenge from the Book of Judges: Train Up A Child

“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.”  Judges 2: 10

The new generation neither knew God nor what he had done for Israel.

The new generation not only does not know God — no personal relationship – but they do not even know about Him.

Learning about God – factual information – can draw others in. We can think of it as tilling up the soil of the heart to be ready for the seed of faith to take root. We can’t make our children love God, but we can certainly be sure they know about God.

This generation in Israel is suffering the consequences of disobedient parents. I daresay our generation is no different.

We devote ourselves to decorating our homes, maintaining our cars, planning details for retirement, scheduling family vacations.  We make sure our kids learn to play an instrument, go to soccer camp, do their homework, and complete the ACT prep course.  Are we as concerned our children know the scripture as we are for them to have the credits needed for graduation?

But we must remember: God has no grandchildren.  We can do it all right and as unto the Lord and still have a prodigal.

You might say:

  • But Lord…I prayed for him.
  • But Lord…I prayed with her.
  • But Lord…I took him to Sunday School…I read the Word to her…we memorized it together…

For you, it is time to trust God – to release your child to God and wait.  Continue to pray, trusting the one who not only created your rebellious child, but loves him even more than you do.

In Proverbs 22:6 we read:

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Perhaps this stirs up hope for you — if you are the mother of a 6 year-old.  You may claim it as a guarantee that your child will never wander away from God or reject God altogether.

Perhaps this verse stirs up shame or angst for you–if you are the mother of a 26-year-old prodigal. Did I not do my job, Lord?

Perhaps rather than offering an unconditional guarantee or a magic formula, it’s actually saying something altogether different.

We cannot will our children into the Kingdom by our own will.  But we can make sure they are trained up to KNOW the truth and knowing it means they can never get away from it. They may not bow to it.  They may not embrace it, but they can’t turn away from it.  They will hear their mother’s voice in their heads. More importantly, they will hear the truth of God’s Word in their heads — no matter how long they keep their hands on their ears!  They may reject the truth, but if we have done our job, they will know the truth.  We can continue to pray with hope that the Holy Spirit will keep after them. We can pray that God will be the hound of heaven relentlessly pursuing them with His great love. The best advice I can offer for parents of adult children: Shut up and pray!


Laura Macfarlan