Old Testament Parenting Lesson


While in Georgia, I  saw Buy Buy Baby, a baby super store even larger than Babies R Us. As a new grandmother, I find the world of warmers for baby wipes and other “must-have essentials” both amusing and instructive. Dave and I marvel that our sons survived without baby monitors in their rooms and other, now-required,  baby paraphernalia. What an explosion of products has come on the market in the last 35 years! In a recent conversation  with another couple, my friend mentioned that we raised our children in an adult-centered world; our children are now raising our grandchildren in what we started, a child-centered world. Many of the changes now keep children safer and add stimulation to their world; such advances I applaud. What we helped create in a child-centered world… now that I’m rethinking.

A very important area regarding the raising of children involves discipline, and the Bible offers some timeless information on the subject. Scripture pulls no punches when it comes to the lives of key characters. The recorded history shows the balance of both positive and negative sanctions. With priests standing on Mt. Ebal and other priests on Mt Gerazim, one group of Levites issued blessings while the other group issued curses. Do these things, and God will prosper you. Fail to do these things, and natural consequences will follow. Loving discipline may not sell products, but it will protect children for a lifetime.

From my current study of I Samuel, I realized how much Hannah placed her faith in God and certainly not in Eli the priest. When weaned, Samuel went to live with Eli; henceforth, Hannah made a coat and delivered it to her son in a yearly visit. She surrendered her son to fulfill the vow she made before she conceived the boy: “For this child I prayed and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore, I have lent him to the Lord.” (I Samuel 1:27-28)  But this weaned child went into Eli’s care. The Bible’s parental recommendation for Eli read like this: “Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord.” Later God’s judgment says, “I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he (Eli) knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain it.” (Italics mine). Thus, along with the safety car seats and other caring restraints we use with our children, Scripture reminds us of the importance of biblical restraints that carry eternal consequences.

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