Proverbs 17:6 says, "Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers." Indeed, but with this crown comes responsibility. God commanded Israel to teach their children and their children's children. "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes saw, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life; but make them known unto thy children and thy children's children; the day that thou stoodest before Jehovah thy God in Horeb, when Jehovah said unto me, Assemble me the people, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children." (Deuteronomy 4:9-10)
Over and over again, the law emphasized this responsibility (Deuteronomy 6:6ff; 20ff; Deuteronomy 31:9-13, etc.). The Passover observance was to be a means of reminding their children of Godís great works (Exodus 12:24ff). The twelve stones that Joshua set up in Gilgal as a memorial of Godís parting the Jordan River, thus enabling the people to enter the promised land, (Joshua 4:20ff) were to remind them of the great things God had done for Israel. To teach these great lessons they must talk with their children, as well as teach them by example. Yet, we read in Judges 2:10, "And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, that knew not Jehovah, nor yet the work which He had wrought for Israel."
It is disturbing when children and grandchildren of faithful brethren never obey the gospel or, as soon as they are away from their parentsí rule, forsake the Lord and His church. This weighs heavy on my mind, especially because I am a parent, and now a grandparent, who above everything else I want for my family, wants them to love and serve God all their lives. I want to be able to provide for them the physical necessities of life, but if they forsake the Lord, surely I must examine myself to see if I did everything I should to provide for them spiritually (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4; Matthew 16:26). During a recent conversation with my son-in-law, as I looked into the precious face of Kaitlyn (our granddaughter), I asked, "Doesn't it become easy now to answer the question, 'What would you give to protect and provide for one so innocent and precious?''' He quickly and correctly responded, "Whatever it takes!" Indeed, most would be willing to sacrifice their lives in a moment for their children, but are we willing to sacrifice the time necessary to teach them and set before them a lifetime of consistent examples?
Paul described Timothy as one of "unfeigned faith..., which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice..." (2 Timothy 1:5). It was because of the faithfulness of his mother and grandmother, who taught him the Scriptures from the time that he was a "babe," that he became "wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 3:15) This is not to suggest that one who was not reared by a godly family cannot become a Christian, but it certainly would be more difficult. Nor does it diminish from the fact that salvation is an individual choice. However, I am persuaded that one reason why we may be losing our young people to the world is that parents (and grandparents) are failing in their responsibility to consistently train unto godliness "FROM A BABE."
The apostle Paul, who considered himself Timothy's spiritual father, gave him specific instructions and warnings to prevent him from casting aside his faith:
Todayís children (and grandchildren) need to hear and give heed to these things. Dangers are ever present.
Israel failed to properly teach its children, and the next generation did not "know Jehovah, nor yet the work which he had wrought for Israel." Therefore, they did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah. We ARE teaching our children, both verbally and by example, but WHAT are we teaching them? Certainly, the next generation will tell.
It takes time to do the job well. Read the words of Helen M. Young, from the poem "Children Won't Wait."
I will not exchange this birthright for a mess of pottage called social position, or business or professional reputation, or a paycheck. An hour of concern today may save years of heartache tomorrow. The house will wait, the dishes will wait, the new room can wait, but children won't wait... May I know that no other career is so precious, no other work so rewarding, no other task too urgent. May I not defer it nor neglect it, but by thy Spirit accept it gladly, joyously, and by Thy grace realize that the time is short and my time is now. For children WON'T wait."