Monday, January 21, 2008

Sunday as a Timothy mom: "When your children ask?..."

"And remember these instructions when the LORD brings you into the land he swore to give your ancestors long ago, the land where the Canaanites are now living. All firstborn sons and firstborn male animals must be presented to the LORD. A firstborn male donkey may be redeemed from the LORD by presenting a lamb in its place. But if you decide not to make the exchange, the donkey must be killed by breaking its neck. However, you must redeem every firstborn son. "And in the future, your children will ask you, 'What does all this mean?' Then you will tell them, 'With mighty power the LORD brought us out of Egypt from our slavery. Pharaoh refused to let us go, so the LORD killed all the firstborn males throughout the land of Egypt, both people and animals. That is why we now offer all the firstborn males to the LORD – except that the firstborn sons are always redeemed.' Again I say, this ceremony will be like a mark branded on your hands or your forehead. It is a visible reminder that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt with great power." (Ex.13:11-16)

You must diligently obey the commands of the LORD your God – all the stipulations and laws he has given you. Do what is right and good in the LORD's sight, so all will go well with you. Then you will enter and occupy the good land that the LORD solemnly promised to give your ancestors. You will drive out all the enemies living in your land, just as the LORD said you would. "In the future your children will ask you, 'What is the meaning of these stipulations, laws, and regulations that the LORD our God has given us?' Then you must tell them, 'We were Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with amazing power. Before our eyes the LORD did miraculous signs and wonders, dealing terrifying blows against Egypt and Pharaoh and all his people. He brought us out of Egypt so he could give us this land he had solemnly promised to give our ancestors. And the LORD our God commanded us to obey all these laws and to fear him for our own prosperity and well-being, as is now the case. (Deut.6:17-24)

Both of these verses have been speaking to me lately. I'm sort of camping on them to fully soak up whatever the Spirit would do in applying His will to my life through them, but I wanted to share what, for now, is really grabbing me.

In both these sections of scripture God is instructing His people to do certain things so that their children would ask questions in the future . The kids who hadn't experienced deliverance from the bondage of Egypt as they had would see some specific rituals and practices in their parents lives and eventually it would cause them to scratch their heads and ask why.

When I read these I immediately started asking some questions of my Father, "Lord, what can I and should I be doing that will stir up some crucial questions in my sons' lives?" As I said, I think I'm still receiving the fullness of the answer as I camp out in these verses, but what I know for now is God brought to mind Matthew 5,6, and 7. As I've been reading the famous sermon Jesus gave His followers about the way His followers will do and teach the commandments (Matt.5:17-20) God is stirring up a desire in me to be more purposeful and conscious about living out these things in the presence of my young children.

If I will by faith diligently keep the commandments of the Lord (not by my own righteousness or power but by His Spirit- by His grace through faith) my boys are gonna start asking questions, that's what I see in Deuteronomy 6:17-24. And that has been my prayer as I've been studying Matthew 5,6,7 again- that the Lord would stir up some questions in my boys' hearts.

I've also been praying for some traditions or rituals- something we would do on a regular basis which would be a reminder to me of what Christ has done for me and cause my kids to ask, "What's this about?" That's what I see is being modeled in Exodus13:11-16. Though I see how we can easily fall into a legalism or mindless habits when we traditionally do certain "religious" things I also see the perfect example of my Father in these verses in Exodus and Deuteronomy, where He teaches His people to teach their kids through things they regularly and diligently do with the point of causing their kids to ask some pivotal questions. I'm praying for creativity and inspiration- for only the Spirit of God knows what will stir up questions from my kids.

All this and then on the way to church yesterday I hear my son ask me a very heart piercing question, "Mom, why isn't daddy go to chewch (church) with us?"

"Oh, Lord! What do I say?! What do I answer?" I prayed quickly.

"Why don't you ask daddy son?"

"But I want daddy to go with us! (tears, sincere tears from my precious son)"

"I know son. Me too. You just love your daddy and talk to him with respect and if you want to you can ask him why he doesn't go to church with us."

Peace and tender, throbbing pain in my heart.

Then later the Lord reminded me of all these things I've been studying and praying, and at least for now, answered some of what He wants me to do on a regular basis that will cause my kids to ask questions.

  • He wants me to model love and respect to my husband in front of my kids diligently.

  • He wants me to let the clear division between my man and I spiritually manifest itself while covering him with Christ's love.

  • He wants me to continue to regularly and openly worship with my kids, teach them God's word and bring them to church.

Wow! What a Sunday yesterday was!

So as I was thinking about sharing all this I realize not everyone has an unequal yoke with their husbands. And because of the wise admonitions of some very godly women in godly marriages I'm remembering that all men (and women) have flesh to be cut off and chaff and to be burned away. So whether your husband knows the Lord or not, I'd encourage you to purposefully model Christ's self-sacrificing love in your marriage as your kids watch you and yet let things which are not of Him be divided from you, that they may see what repentance and forgiveness looks like in the flesh. And also, don't neglect to regularly, purposefully and openly worship the Lord with your kids. Take them to church and talk with them about God's word and what He's doing in your life often.

What ideas do you have about some things which could be done regularly that, though your kids might not understand now, will at some point cause them to ask questions? I've been thinking about taking communion with my kids regularly and even thought about looking into some of the Biblical holidays to see how I could put together some kind of fun celebration they'll remember. I'd love to hear your ideas!

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