Jordan Ministries
Embracing God's Promise of Abundance When Hardship Endures
A Parent's Promise
by Jenny on February 3rd, 2015

"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

As a mom of young[er] children, people often warn me of the drama which could lie ahead during the ever-dreaded teenage years. I can't imagine the heartache caused by watching your child walk in disobedience to God. But for now I choose to place my hope in what I consider to be God's promise to parents.

Proverbs 22:6 reads, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." (emphasis mine)

I know some parents would say, "But I did train my children . . . and they still chose the wrong path." I say . . . just wait.

Are you familiar with the biblical story of the Prodigal Son? Though raised in a godly home this son demands his inheritance while his father is still living, and proceeds to squander his inheritance on all things sinful. Only after sheer desperation does the son return home to seek (and receive) his father's forgiveness (Luke 15:11-32).

The New Testament story of the Prodigal Son gives great hope to parents. However, this past week I also read the story of an Old Testament prodigal--the great and mighty Samson.

In Judges Chapter 13 we read of a man, Manoah, and his wife who remain childless. The angel of the Lord appears to Manoah's wife and tells her that she will bear a son, and that this son will be set apart to God from birth (see also Jeremiah 1:5).

Manoah demonstrates great faith by responding, not "if" but, "When your words come true, what kind of rules should govern the boy's life and work?" The angel of the Lord responds to Manoah's inquiry by telling the parents just how they are to raise their son.

Skip ahead to Samson's teenage and early-adult years and we find that although Samson's parents seem to have remained faithful to God, Samson displays a lack of respect for his parents, as well as his faith. After strolling through the land of one of Israel's enemies, a Philistine woman caught Samson's eye. "I want to marry her," Samson tells his father. "Get her for me!" (Judges 14:2)

We can hear the hurt and desperation in Samson's parent's reply. "Isn't there even one woman . . . among all the Israelites you could marry? Why must you go to the pagan Philistines to find a wife?" (Judges 14:3)

Samson's parents knew God had instructed His people not to intermarry with the enemy because the enemy would turn the hearts of God's people away from Him. But even amidst Samson's obstinate choices God gives us a reminder that He remains always at work. Judges 14:4 reads, "His father and mother didn't realize the LORD was at work in this, creating an opportunity to work against the Philistines, who ruled over Israel at that time."

Though God intervenes and prevents Samson from marrying the first Philistine woman, Samson continues in his rebellion and pairs himself with another Philistine woman named Delilah. Delilah tricks Samson not once, not twice but three times before Samson finally reveals the source of his superhuman strength. God had given Samson physical strength but Samson lived life in spiritual weakness.

With Samson's secret revealed the Philistine finally capture their greatest foe. Samson's life seems to have arrived at a miserable end, except that Samson remembers his Maker. Blind, chained and humiliated, Samson calls out to God and says in Judges 16:28 (and I paraphrase), "Remember me? Strengthen me again and I will accomplish the work you set out for me to do."

God grants Samson's sincere request, and with one push of his strong arms Samson takes not only his own life but the lives of "more [Philistine] people than he had during his entire lifetime."

Samson's parents trained Samson in the way he should go. And when Samson grew older he returned to The Way.

God has given parents one primary command. Deuteronomy 6:5-9 read, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

God said we are responsible for teaching our children about Him. In order to teach my children about Him, I must know Him first.

My children may depart from the path I would choose for them but I know of no detour which God cannot correct. My job as a mom is to train my children in the way they should go, and to trust God to help them return to that path if (or when) they stray.

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Crossing Your Jordan

I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling, Bible-teaching mom of six, and wife to my college sweetheart. I believe everyone can live a life of abundance through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and radical obedience to His Word.

Do you have a relationship with God through Christ? If not, I would consider it pure joy to tell you about God, why you need Him, and how to be reconciled to Him through Christ.

If you know Christ as your Savior, do you know how to follow Him as Lord? If, like me, life's challenges have caused you to question whether you truly want to follow God's plan for you, or you simply don't know how to recognize God's ways due to a lack of biblical literacy, I would love to teach you what I've come to know about God through His Word.

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