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Biblical Principles for Parenting (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
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June 5, 2024 4:00 am

Biblical Principles for Parenting (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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June 5, 2024 4:00 am

When children don’t get their way, they may accuse parents of being mean or unfair. But find out why pandering to their demands can be detrimental! Examine an Old Testament example of faithful motherhood along with Alistair Begg on Truth For Life.


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This listener-funded program features the clear, relevant Bible teaching of Alistair Begg. Today’s program and nearly 3,000 messages can be streamed and shared for free at thanks to the generous giving from monthly donors called Truthpartners. Learn more about this Gospel-sharing team or become one today. Thanks for listening to Truth For Life!


When your children don't get their way, they may accuse you of being mean or unfair. Well, today on Truth for Life, we'll find out why pandering to your child's demands is detrimental. Alistair Begg takes us to an example of faithful motherhood found in 1 Samuel chapter 1, but he begins today with a reference to Deuteronomy chapter 6 verse 6. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children.

Now, notice carefully what the Bible says. It doesn't say, Impress your children. Because the longer you go, the harder that is in any case. You may be a hero for the first few years, but by the time they get to adolescence and a little bit beyond, you understand why it was that Mark Twain said, When I was sixteen, I thought my father was a fool.

When I got to twenty-five, I realized how much he had learned. And that experience is something that every parent lives through. Now, we understand that we have to indoctrinate our children in all kinds of things. And careful parenting is indoctrination. You say, I don't like the word. Fine. Choose another word.

I don't mind the word. What is this about if it's not about indoctrination? This is the way we brush our teeth, brush our teeth, brush our teeth, right?

What is that about? It's about indoctrinating your children into the necessity and benefit of making sure that their teeth are clean and they don't smell when they go on the school bus. I don't know many parents who just said, Hey, listen, there are a number of people in society who brush their teeth.

There are others who, frankly, don't brush their teeth. I don't want to affect your young life in any way. You're so tender. You're so malleable. You're such a wonderful little bundle. So you are. So, hey, there's a toothbrush, there's toothpaste. Do what you like.

But then again, I'm not so sure that that doesn't happen. Did I tell you that one of my children applied for a job just for fun as a nanny out in Santa Barbara? You were only one of three nannies. There were two children.

One was a year and a half, and the other was just a few months. You never looked after both children at the same time. Where she got off the track was when the individual that was involved told her, There's only one thing. You can't tell these children no, ever. There is no such word as no. If you want to guide them, then distract them, but you cannot tell them no.

Look out, folks. We are raising a generation of delinquents without the constraint of biblical commandments. Now, the Christian mom and dad has to say, Apox on all of that foolishness, as surely as it is imperative for me to make sure that my children understand these physical things.

I want them to avoid poison. I don't want them to drive at a hundred and twenty miles on the freeway. I don't want them to watch everything that comes on the TV. I don't want them to do many things, and I do want them to do others. Well, in the same way, we have a concern that we will impress upon them the wisdom of God.

And the pattern that is prescribed is a vital pattern. And our children are not naturally bent to it. Some of you have come to church this morning, and you've already gone through the situation. If it didn't happen before you got in the car, I thought, When you were in the car, why do we have to go here? Why are we going here again?

Can't we go once a month? Why can't I write a golf cart around the course? God is on the golf course, you know.

I know that. He's everywhere. Why do we have to go and listen? I don't understand half of what he says.

To which the Father says, Don't worry, he don't understand half of what he says either. William Still, in 1966, writing to his congregation in Aberdeen, Scotland, about the difficulties of keeping children in reasonable behavior in the public worship, says this, During the summer we have had all but infants sitting in church, morning and evening, and I have not been distracted even slightly by them. I want you to notice that, in case there's a misunderstanding about our worship guidelines. Some of you may have assumed that we don't want children to come into worship. We're thrilled to have children come into worship. I love to see moms and dads sit with their children.

The only thing we're saying is this, that where a child is an infant, a baby, a swaddling little creature, and can't understand a thing, and is simply having a dreadful experience, as is the mother and the father and everyone else around, it just seems to make perfect sense to exclude them from that dreadful experience, and everybody else from it as well. But I don't think you've ever heard me complain because I saw your child lying horizontal after I got to my first point. I don't think I ever reached forward and said to somebody, Hey, waking Jimmy up, he's sound asleep. He needs to hear this. This is good stuff. Like the Scottish minister who looked forward and saw Jimmy McDonald had fallen asleep, and he said to we Jimmy, who was Jimmy McDonald's son, he said, Hey, Jimmy, wake in your dad.

And Jimmy shouted back, You wake him, you put him to sleep. So don't misunderstand me. I'm not concerned.

I love to have children. I spent my whole life worshiping in church with my mom and dad. I didn't understand half of what was going on either, but I understood enough. And that's the point that he makes in this. This is not to say that some in the pews have not been distracted by little ones fidgeting. But if parents could keep their children in reasonable behavior by discreetly giving them some suitable reading or writing material or some other seemly occupation, then the problem is somewhat solved. The rejoinder to this may be that there is no sense in taking children to church unless to attend to what is being said and done. But no one expects children to attend to a whole adult service. If they get something from it and sit for the rest in the atmosphere of worship, that is all that can be reasonably expected at first.

And surely that is something. In spite of the difficulties, it is a question of whether our love for our children is of the order of Christ's, who is more concerned about them coming to him than about anything else in life, or whether it is of an order which wants to pander to them in everything and ends up by ruining them. That's the decision for you, young parents. Do you want to pander to your kids and ruin them, or do you want to submit to the rule of Christ and do what God says—an explanation to be offered that is born of experience? Principles, patterns that are clearly described in the Bible, and the wonderful opportunity of a hope that is held out from our hearts. Now, we read from 1 Samuel, and I want to conclude there. If you want to turn over a few pages. Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel. There you go. You've learned a whole opening section of the Bible.

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel. Because here is a wonderful illustration of a lady who was taking seriously the privilege and responsibility of children. Now, it's not my purpose to work my way through all of this narrative. You will remember that this lady Hannah did not have any children. It was an unbearable harshness on the part of the other wife of Elkanah, Peninnah, that sent her to the throne of grace. It's a reminder to us just in passing that things in our lives that are quite unbearable, people in our lives who are completely unbearable, as was this lady Peninnah, may actually be to us a means of grace if we do not allow them to make us embittered, but if instead we allow them to drive us again to God. And that was the response of Hannah. She would go to God, and she would ask him. She was greatly upset. She would weep. She lost her appetite, according to verse 8. And her husband, who seemed to be a fairly nice fellow, loved her, we're told, in verse 5, and gave her a double portion of the food, because she didn't have any children, seemed to have a kind of standard response to her when she burst into tears and refused to eat her breakfast. Verse 10, is it, or 8. And Elkanah, her husband, would say to her, Hannah, why are you weeping?

Why don't you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons? And of course, the answer was, no, you don't, unfortunately, which made his little attempt at sensitivity found her on the rocks of his own ingenuity. But it is out of this that Hannah then prays to God, and she tells him that if you will give me a son, then I will give him back to you all of the days of his life, and I will sacrifice him to you with a vow that is Nazarite in its implications. And as she prays about this, you see Eli overhears it, and out she comes, eventually the mother of this little boy.

So the desire of her heart was to have a son. We understand that. Every maternal instinct in us understands that. Some of us have been granted that privilege.

Others of us have not. God knows what he's doing, even in the pain and disappointment. And the desire of her heart was matched by the discipline of her life. She was very, very concerned once she'd been entrusted with this child to make sure that she did what was necessary.

She took the responsibility of his first two or three years very, very seriously. She would look after him until he was weaned, and she would only take him up to the house of the Lord once she believed him to be in the position where she could leave him there. Because that was what she was moving towards. And in her disciplined nurture of her child, she gives us an example to follow. So she had a desire that she might become a mom. God met her desire.

She became a mom. She was disciplined in the way she fulfilled the role of mother, and then she dedicates her son to the Lord, according to verse 28. So now I give him to the Lord, for his whole life he will be given over to the Lord. And so Samuel worshiped the Lord there.

Now let's just pause and think about the awesome humanity of this. Here's a lady who has longed for a child. She promises to God that if he gives her a child, she will ensure that that child is then entrusted exclusively to the domain of God. No small vow to make.

A harder vow, I would think, to keep. And certainly by the time this little character is no longer simply that early four- or five-month creature but has become the one-year-old and the two-year-old and the three-year-old, has begun to identify and make sounds and make words. And this little character, now that she's nurtured and suckled and fed, whose eyes she can read like a book, the sound she understands in every respect, now she is about to part with him. Wouldn't she miss him? Wouldn't he miss her? Well, yeah, but she was giving him up to Shiloh, to the place of God.

Yeah, but it wasn't a very attractive place. Eli was an old and feeble priest. His sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were beasts. The atmosphere into which she was placing him was offensive and pernicious. Why would she do this? Because she promised she would give him up to God. If Hannah is noble, as we find her in the face of all of the experience of not having a child, then she is even more noble in this spirit of self-denial.

Surely it is no common grace that allows her to sacrifice all of her personal feelings and to thoroughly honor God. Our children are gifts from the Lord, right? In order that we might nurture them in the training and instruction of the Lord. In order that we might prepare them to leave us.

In order that we might prepare them for eternity. Children are not a shrine at which we worship. The fact that the family has become an idol needs to be corrected by a careful reading of the Bible.

Read missionary biography from an earlier era, and read missionary biography today, and it is clear that if David Livingston and Eliot and Nate Saint and Roseveare and others were right in that day, then we're wrong in this day. For now people say, Well, I could never give my children up. I could never leave my children behind. I could never give them into the care of God. I don't want them to be missionaries, going all those dreadful places. I don't want them to become pastors.

It's a dreadful occupation and pays very little. I don't want them to do these things. I don't want them to marry those people. I want them to have the American dream. I want them to drive the right kind of car. I want them to live in the right kind of suburb. I want them to know it all.

I want them to just be better than me at everything. We understand all of that. We wrestle with all of that. But when you stack all of that up in relationship to eternity, are we prepared to offer our children to God? Have we offered our children to God? You say, Well, I'm not about to take them at three years of age and put them in a monastery or something like that. No, we're not talking about emulating the actual facts here. We're talking about emulating the principle, and that is that we would take our children, and we would write their names on the top of a blank sheet of paper.

And then we would metaphorically fax it to God, and we would say, God, here he is, or here she is. Now, I've been very tempted to fill in all the blanks. I've got dreams for him. I have dreams for her. I want her to go here, study there, be this, do that, and all the next things. But Lord Jesus, I don't even know how to run my own operation, so I'm sure that I won't be able to get it right here. So I'm gonna send up my child to you as a blank sheet of paper.

Will you please write in the details? And will you grant that by your mercy and your grace my child may come to sign her name or to sign his name at the bottom of this page? You choose her lot for her. You choose her life for her. You choose her marriage partner for her. You choose, because God, you're the only one who knows, and you're the only one who ultimately cares.

And you know that I've made so many dumb choices already, and you know that I've made so many bad decisions already, and were it not for the fact that I trust in your mercy, I would be so saddened by so much that has happened. And then we must leave him there. Ladies, this is a full-time job. Do not kid yourself that you can be a dental receptionist and a mother, that you can be a typist and a mom, that you can be a vice president and a mom, that you can be all these things and a mom.

One of the two things will win. Now, look at your Bible and ask what you have to do. I'm not talking about a young, newly married wife who has the future before her and has no children.

That's fine. That's between she and her husband. I'm not talking to the individual who, as a single parent, is cast upon the necessity of earning their bread. Nor am I talking to an individual who, by dint of circumstances in the way that life has fallen out, has found herself and husband and wife together in such a predicament that this is something they needs must do. I'm talking to the young girl, the young man, and I'm saying to you, listen, are you prepared to trust God enough on one income?

Are you prepared to trust your husband enough to go out and do the job so that you may stay home and do the task? Because it'll take everything in you. And listen, time is going through your fingers. There is not an institution in the world that can replace a mother. There is not another hand in the world that can replace a mother's hand. There is not another set of eyes that can be to this child what the mother's eyes must be.

And soon it will pass. Then you can become an astronaut. Be an astronaut then! Don't be an astronaut now and sacrifice your kids. We have not seen, we have yet to see the daycare generation arise to positions of leadership in this land.

And while I recognize God to be sovereign in it all—listen and listen carefully—that is going to be one unbelievable experience. For now you have children who have been devoid of the natural, basic Creator's plan for their lives in the very infancy of their nurturing. They do not understand what a family is. They do not understand whether their mother's their father or their father's their mother.

They don't know what they're doing. And they're going to proceed into adolescence and beyond, and they're going to emerge to become the surgeons that are going to make ethical decisions when they take your organs out of your body and harvest them. They're going to be the teachers that teach our children.

They're going to be the future leaders of tomorrow. Do you see how imperative it is that if you want to be a Christian in our day, you have to be prepared to swim upstream? You have to be prepared to go to those coffee things and when the ladies say, And what do you do? You say, Laundry. You say, What do you think I do? Look at my hands.

Why? Because there is no higher calling. I wrote this this morning, in the early hours of the morning. Incidentally, I had a letter here from a lady who just became a Christian, and she just became a Christian. She heard the sermon on biblical roles of women in Titus 2. She phoned her husband up and said, I need to quit my job. And she quit her job, cold turkey. She'd been working, and from 9 till 2, she moved her job to within her house so that she can be there for her daughter before she leaves.

When her daughter comes back, give her undivided attention. She said, I have five women in my department that recently had babies, and all but four of them, Alistair, have returned to work in the office five full days per week. I pray that these women will stop by my office to ask, Why, after twenty years of working full time, are you now doing what you're doing? And I'll tell them that I discovered that the Bible has an impressive mandate that I want to obey. Well, this morning, in the early hours, this is what I wrote.

Now just read this, Mopre. When the sun sets on our earthly journey and our children reflect upon our lives, their memories will not be stirred by our qualifications or our financial status or our educational stature. They will not be preoccupied with the furniture we left them, the jewelry they now wear, the material things we've been able to leave behind. What will linger in their memory and cause them to smile or move them to tears will all have to do with the fact that we gave ourselves to them. It is as a mother that your children will remember you most of all—your tender sympathy, your compassion in their disappointments, your radiance even when half hidden through the mists of tears, your commitment even in the evenings of long, unexplained sighs.

It will not be that you managed to do it perfectly, nor even that you did so consistently. But know this, that deep in their spirits they will be able to say, I was everything to my mom. She loved me to the point of fatigue. She listened when no one else would. She advised with my best interests at heart. She presented Christ to me and me to Christ. And that is the whole shooting match right there. You are sensible people. Think these things out. You're listening to Truth for Life with Alistair Begg.

Alistair will return in just a moment. If you listen to Truth for Life on the radio, we're excited to let you know that you are now joined by people who are listening across Kenya on Nation FM. This is a large network that reaches audiences in six major cities that span the country of Kenya. And earlier this year they added Truth for Life to their programming. Kenya is a country of 53 million people where 20% consider themselves evangelical Christians. We're grateful for the opportunity to reach the growing Christian population in this large nation. Now you should know that airing Truth for Life on the radio isn't free. And when you become a truth partner, your monthly giving makes it possible for us to say yes to these kinds of gospel opportunities.

It's your giving that makes hearing Alistair on the radio possible, not just across the United States, but in several nations outside the US, now including Kenya. So let me ask you, if you've listened to Truth for Life for a while now and you've not yet become a part of the team, that makes this teaching possible, would you take a minute today and become a truth partner? You can do that by calling 888-588-7884 or you can sign up online at slash truth partner. And whether you make this commitment today or you give a one-time donation, we want to say thank you for your support by inviting you to request the book we're recommending currently titled Faith Builder Catechism, Devotions to Level Up Your Family Discipleship. This is a collection of 52 short readings, one for each week of the year, to help young teens understand the foundational truths of the Christian faith. The book is yours by request when you support the ministry of Truth for Life.

Now, here is Alistair. Father, thank you for the privilege that this day affords us of reflecting with gratitude upon the lives that you gave to us in the nurture of our infancy. Thank you for giving to some of us the privilege now of being these parents to our children, and particularly do we thank you for mothers today. We pray that only that which is of yourself may find a resting place within our hearts, and that that which is fleshly or purely human in its thinking may be banished from our recollection. And may the grace of the Lord Jesus and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit rest upon and remain with each one, today and forevermore. Amen. Amen. I'm Bob Lapine. What is your perception of God? Do you think of Him as a strict rule enforcer, a remote detached judge, or a wish-granting genie? Tomorrow join us for a compelling conclusion to our study of parental priorities. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life, where the Learning is for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-05 07:31:27 / 2024-06-05 07:40:49 / 9

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