We Have Only One Job
by Bridget Depew
If you read the account of the Israelites’ journey from their enslavement in Egypt to their exile to Babylon, you can trace a major cause for why and how they ended up where they did back to one very important reason: parents stopped doing their job.
Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “You shall teach them [God’s commandments] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
God went to great lengths to get His commandments into the hands of His people. He did so because He knew what they’d be up against when they entered the Promised Land. It’s also why He told the Israelites to drive out the inhabitants when they arrived.
The Promised Land, Canaan, was inhabited by pagans. They worshipped other gods and sacrificed their children to them. God knows what we all know as parents—bad influences will negatively change your life. It’s not a matter of if, but when. People who take no regard for their Creator render themselves wholly autonomous—free to make whatever decisions they want, assuming there will be no negative ramifications.
We live in such a society today. The clever messaging that’s become all too pervasive is, “Do you. Do what makes you happy. Take care of #1.” How could making ourselves happy and satisfying every craving that arises be a bad thing? Well, we can look around and count the ways.
We have never been more miserable. There is more depression. More anxiety. More suicides. There are more divorces. More abortions. More pain. More suffering. The more materialistic things we gain, the more despondent we become. How can that be when everyone is doing what makes them happy? Quite the dichotomy, isn’t it?
There used to be a time when we were a more God-focused nation. Just a generation or two ago, there was definitely more of an overarching reverence for God. Parents used to make their children go to church. Though sometimes begrudgingly, husbands would attend church for the sake of their wives. Teachers used to be able to pray in schools. A pledge of our allegiance to a country which has granted us the freedoms we once held dear used to be commonplace before the start of a school day.
Do our kids today even know that the pledge of allegiance used to be said in schools? Do they even know we used to be able to pray before classes began? Have we told them? Have we encouraged our children to hold on to Biblical truths to guide and direct their lives? Have we taught them how to continue building the godly foundation upon which our forefathers founded this great country?
The Israelites went from thriving in the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey that God dedicated specifically to them, to being held captive in a native land. What happened? Much like today, parents stopped doing their jobs.
God called for His people to be set apart, and He told them how to do that. He gave them very explicit instructions about how to keep their hearts pure. An entire book of the Bible is dedicated to the details surrounding the sacrifices and offerings they were to bring and how. He was very clear and concise. But most of all, He wanted them to remember to Whom their heart belonged. He wanted them to remember Who loved them more than anything. And for a time, they did.
One day, one generation started speaking less and less about God’s miraculous rescue of their people. The next generation spoke even less about worship and keeping Passover as God commanded. The next generation stopped sharing about how God calls for total repentance of sins. The next generation stopped sharing how much God loves them. And so on and so forth…until you couldn’t tell the difference between God’s chosen and a pagan.
Can the world tell the difference between us as Christians and them? If not, why not? Do our children know what God has done for us? Have we told our children the story of David killing the giant, Goliath, teaching them that they can do all things through God’s strength, not their own? Have we told our young girls the story of Esther saving the Jews by submitting to God and walking in the path He set out for her? Are we intentional about relaying the story of Jesus, the Son of God, leaving His throne in heaven, being born of a virgin, living 33 years on this earth, and dying a painful death on the cross? Do we share how Jesus completely eradicated the chasm that prevented us from being close to God, solely and purely because He loved us?
This world is our Canaan. We are surrounded by pagans. Our society is arrogant and self-absorbed, giving no heed to our sovereign God who set healthy boundaries for our lives—not to constrict us, but to free us! He wants to free us from our self-centeredness, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and FEAR!!
There’s so much fear crippling our hearts and minds today! The media is telling their stories of chaos, mayhem, anarchy, and disease. They’re sharing their stories of sickness and death with reckless abandon. They don’t even realize they are following the directive in Deuteronomy, diligently teaching our children their lies when they sit in our house, when they walk by the way, when they lie down, and when they rise. We should be countering that narrative with stories of our own! We should be gathering with our children each morning, each evening, and on walks throughout the day, sharing stories of HOPE and JOY and a God who LOVES US so that they can tell their children and their children can tell theirs. That’s the only way we keep our faith alive.
We have only one job as Christian parents. We must keep telling the story of God’s redeeming love over and over and over again.
This is an old hymn that isn’t sung too frequently in churches anymore, but I grew up singing it. I plan to share it with my children, and I pray it will be shared with theirs:
“I love to tell the story of unseen things above:
of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true.
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.
“I love to tell the story, ’tis pleasant to repeat.
What seems each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
the message of salvation from God’s own Holy Word.
“I love to tell the story.
‘Twill be my theme in glory
to tell the old, old story
of Jesus and His love.”
~Lyrics by Kate Hankey, music by William G. Fischer