Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | July 7, 2015

“These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children.”

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Kings 14:21-31.

“21 Now Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah.  Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen from all the tribes of Israel to put His name there.  And his mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonitess.  22 Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked Him to jealousy more than all that their fathers had done, with the sins which they committed.  23 For they also built for themselves high places and sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and beneath every luxuriant tree.  24 There were also male cult prostitutes in the land.  They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord dispossessed before the sons of Israel.

25 Now it happened in the fifth year of King Rehoboam, that Shishak the king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem.  26 He took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house, and he took everything, even taking all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.  27 So King Rehoboam made shields of bronze in their place, and committed them to the care of the commanders of the guard who guarded the doorway of the king’s house.  28 Then it happened as often as the king entered the house of the Lord, that the guards would carry them and would bring them back into the guards’ room.

29 Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 30 There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually.  31 And Rehoboam slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David;  and his mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonitess.  And Abijam his son became king in his place.”    1 Kings 14:21-31.

———————-

Because “Naamah  the Ammonitess” is mentioned twice as the mother of Rehoboam in today’s Scripture (verses 21 and 31), we think about it. 

We remember how Solomon, Rehoboam’s father loved many foreign women including “Ammonite” women in spite of how God warned the sons of Israel:  “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.”  1 Kings 11:1-2.

We also remember how indeed his wives turned his heart away after their gods.  “For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods;  and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.  For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites.”  1 Kings 11:4-5.

We can infer that “Naamah  the Ammonitess” not only was a bad influence on her husband Solomon but she was a bad influence on her son Rehoboam for we read in today’s Scripture:  “Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked Him to jealousy more than all that their fathers had done, with the sins which they committed.  For they also built for themselves high places and sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and beneath every luxuriant tree.  There were also male cult prostitutes in the land.  …”  Verses 22-25.

“14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers;  for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?  15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?  16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?  For we are the temple of the living God;  just as God said,

“I will dwell in them and walk among them;
And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
17 “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.
“And do not touch what is unclean;
And I will welcome you.
18 “And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.”  2 Corinthians 6:14-18.

The lesson from today’s Scripture is that if a believing spouse is bound together with an unbelieving spouse, not only can harm come to the believing spouse, harm can also come to the believing spouse’s children.   

And, as believers, we are called to be more than not just a bad influence on our children or even more than being of no influence to our children, we are called to be a Godly influence on our children.  We are called to do many Godly things for our children.

For example, let us consider how much more difficult it will be for a believer to put his or her children in a Christian school with an unbelieving spouse resisting or dragging against the believing spouse’s attempts to do so.

Making a good specific call for Christian education, but also more generally convincing us of the importance of parents training their children according to their Christian beliefs. here is the quote from:

THE REFORMED WITNESS HOUR
Message title: “Conviction for Christian Education”
Broadcast date: August 24, 2014 (No.3738)
Radio pastor: Rev. Carl Haak (of the Protestant Reformed Churches)

         “… But the conviction out of which a Christian school arises is this:  it is the calling of parents to train their children according to what they believe so that their children might know how to serve the living God in every area of life.  That is a parental responsibility.  Isaiah 38:19:  “The father to the children shall make known thy truth.”  This is the distinctive calling of a parent.  Deuteronomy 6:6, 7:  “These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children.”  And in Ephesians 6:4:  Fathers, nurture your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  (Emphasis added by Bill)
 
        It is only the conviction that it is a parental calling to educate one’s children that can hold the weight of a Christian school.  Convictions are formed by the Word of God.  Convictions are formed by the Word of God being brought to bear upon the heart of the believer.  Convictions are not formed by arguments.  They are not formed by straight-armed tactics.  They are not formed by pressure of one group upon other individuals to conform.  No.  Convictions are sacred.  The Holy Spirit brings the Word to bear upon my heart and shows me the way that I must go.
 
        Let us look to the Word of God to form our conviction for Christian education.
 
        What is it that you really want for your children?  What should you want, according to the Word of God? 
 
        Of course, there are many things that we want for our children that, of themselves, are right and proper and that also rest upon our heart today.  I am not referring simply to carnal things, for instance, a desire that your son be the leading scorer on a basketball team, or your daughter grow up to be beautiful or popular, or that your children grow up and have a beautiful home to live in.  These are the desires that would center merely in the eyes of men.
 
        No, our desires for our children center in the eye of God.  We have, in that connection, many legitimate desires for them.  We have questions:  Whom are they going to marry?  Who will their friends be?  Where will they go and with whom?  What work will they get?  Where are they going to go to school as children and young people?  What kind of education are they going to get?  What will be the school environment?  Will this education equip them, will it serve them, or will it be inadequate? 
 
        We reject with all of our souls the attitude that education is only worthwhile if it teaches us how to make a dollar and to be successful.  We want an education that will serve our children, in today’s world, to teach them how to be a godly person in this world—a godly husband, a godly wife, a godly parent—to teach them to be responsible, to live in the world as the friend-servant of God.  We want that for our children. 
 
        In one word, we want godliness for our children—that they live a godly life.  (Emphasis added by Bill)  That is the most important thing in the world, that they live godly—unto God—in this world.  That is not a false piety.  That is what some people think when they hear of godliness.  They think of a mask, of a pious look, of someone who is of no use to present-day situations in which people live.  No, biblical godliness is what we want for our children—a full-orbed, solid, faith-rooted godliness. 
 
        In the Scriptures we read, in Genesis 17:18, that Abraham expresses this desire for his flesh-and-blood thirteen-year-old son, “O that Ishmael might live before thee!”  Paul says concerning Timothy, his spiritual son, “This is my desire for you, Timothy, be not ashamed of the gospel nor of me its prisoner.”  Look into the book of Proverbs.  The book of Proverbs turns the heart of a believing parent inside out and tells you what ought to be written in that heart.  And what is that desire?  “My son, be thou in the fear of God all thy days.”  Therefore Proverbs speaks to the son and daughter about their companionship, about sexual purity, about greed, about honesty, about industry, about integrity, about a host of other subjects.  We want our children to be men and women of God, thoroughly equipped, say the Scriptures, unto every good work, possessing the comfort and the attractiveness of vital godliness.  We want a generation that will be to the honor of God.  We want to educate them in such a way that they will be wise to discern, skillful to work.  That they will be delivered from folly, immorality, greed, pride, dishonesty, all of which stalk the youth of the land, and that they be stalwart sons and daughters fair, a nobility of grace in Jesus Christ.  In short, we want for our children what lies in the bottom of our own heart by grace—that they might know Jesus Christ and know God and have eternal life in Him.” 


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