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Friday, October 14, 2011

How to raise a bad seed [4]

None of David's sons was so in love with himself as Absalom. And, David is to blame. The Scriptures reveal to us some of the mistakes David made. We will look more closely at a few of these. According to the Bible, all Scripture is given to us to be instructive. 1 Corinthians 10:11 that all of these things happen to them to be examples.

"These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."  [1 Corinthians 10:11-13, New International Version (NIV)]

All scripture is designed to be instructive or helpful to us. To paraphrase the above: Nothing that will happen to you will be new. Perhaps it will be a new experience for you, but in the history of mankind, there is precious little that is novel. Many people have faced whatever situation, circumstance or "bind" you find yourself in currently. Even when we forget to be gracious and merciful to ourselves and to others...we have a Father who will help us endure it, and overcome it. That fact should give us an inner confidence and assurance that we can get through anything. But, I digress... :)

Back to David. How did David raise such a self-absorbed child as Absalom?

First, just do Nothing. After Absalom murdered Amnon, David did nothing. Absalom had become a fugitive of his own will, but he was never truly, officially banished by David. Look at 2 Samuel 13:38-39, “So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years. And the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom: for he was comforted concerning Amnon, seeing he was dead.” After Absalom disappeared, David had already assumed he was dead, and acted as if he were.

Many parents are unwilling to seriously and strongly confront issues in the right way. There are always excuses. You know, "they are too young'" "they are too old," "I'll talk to them / restrict them / punish them later when its more convenient," "I don't want to embarrass them," "I don't want to embarrass myself," and on and on...

It never does any child, or for that matter, anyone else, good to ignore what is in their heart. We still love them, but it is our responsibility and obligation to correct and confront them about what's going on in their little lives. The whole point of parenting is to end up with responsible adults, who can function in the greater society. And, soon or late we all discover that the greater society will not cater to our every whim.

There is nothing at all wrong with David’s love for Absalom, but there is no excuse for having overlooked Absalom’s sin. He is using it as an excuse to hide from what he needs to do; to hide from what he has failed all these years to do as a father.

The simple truth is that is we really need do not have to do anything special to raise a rebel. The Scripture says we are each born with sufficient wickedness already within us to rebel without having anyone teach us anything. In other words, we are born rebels.

Instead of doing nothing, we must be proactive parents. We cannot simply let children raise themselves according to their own heart and desire. Proverbs 22:6 tells us we need to proactively instruct our children: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Matthew Henry’s commentary rephrases it saying, “Train them up, not in the way they would go (the bias of each of their corrupt hearts would draw them aside), but in the way they should go, the way in which, if you love them, you would have them go.”

[conclusion tomorrow...]

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