Bring Up Your Children – Part 2

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Marriage in Scripture – Part 6

Bring… Up [Your Children] in The Nurture and Admonition of The Lord. (Part Two)

A husband and wife who are united and in agreement that they intend to rear their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” will avoid a lot of the heartaches that come with diametrically opposing philosophies on the subject of what works and what is the proper means of rearing and disciplining their children and what the values are that should be established in the lives of their children. The time to discuss such an important issues ideally is before marriage, of course.

In our last study we saw that just as Moses was a god to Pharaoh, parents are gods to their children who are not yet able to conceive of an all sovereign, invisible, loving, heavenly Father.

Exo 7:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.

So our treatment of our children should be a reflection of how lovingly and patiently our heavenly Father has dealt with us. Our heavenly Father has exercised great patience with us. He has “from the heart” forgiven us of a debt we could never repay.

This is written directly to us and for us:

Mat 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
Mat 18:24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
Mat 18:25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
Mat 18:26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
Mat 18:27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

God strengthens us when we are so weak, and through His patience and His strength He brings us to true repentance.

In our study today, we will see that God wants us to show the physical children with whom He has blessed us, that same patient, forgiving and loving spirit that He has shown toward us.

Christ never disagreed with His Father, and husbands and wives in like manner must never be seen to be disagreeing with each other in the presence of their children. Such an example is devastating to children, and they will reflect your actions in their own lives, and they will just naturally exploit any differences they detect between their parents. So set your children a Godly example, and never allow them to see you at odds with your spouse. As we should do in almost every circumstance, it is best to discuss all your differences in private and to present a united front before your children.

Abraham is revealed to be but a type and shadow of Christ (Gal 3:29). As such we are told this about how Christ is working with us if indeed we are His:

Gen 18:19 For I know [Abraham], that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

If Christ is living within any physical father “he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD”.

Here are just a few of the verses we will be considering in this study on how we should be “bringing up our children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord”:

This one is twice repeated by the apostle Paul:

Eph 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Col 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

But Christ’s way is narrow, so we are also told:

Pro 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

A child that is given discipline from the beginning will be well behaved from the beginning. Sandi began disciplining all of our children when they began teething, and would inadvertently bite with those new teeth while they were nursing. That of course is totally intolerable behavior to let be established as a habit. She only had to flip the child on the cheek. and the biting stopped before it became a habit. The baby would burst out crying, but it learned very quickly not to bite while nursing.

That is exactly what we are told God does to us:

Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 Teaching [Greek: paideuo – chastening] us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world

Rom 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace [God’s chastening] did much more abound:

Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord love he chastens, and scourges every son whom he loves.

Bad habits like temper tantrums cannot develop unless they are tolerated the first time. Do not tolerate your children ever the first time sassing you, or ever telling their siblings that they hate each other. If you do not permit the first incident to go unpunished, then you will not have to worry about any subsequent temper tantrums. There will always be the temptation for children to lose their tempers with their siblings and even with their parents. If there is pain inflicted at the beginning, that habit will never take hold, and there will be respect within the family, and there will be a peaceful, functional family.

Here is the scripture that reveals this principle:

Ecc 8:11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

Never ever, the first time, allow yourself to make an empty threat. If you say it, mean it and carry it out “speedily”. Children know who you are, and if you are not a man of your word they know it, and they will just naturally exploit that weakness. “…Therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” is the Truth, whether we believe it or not.

We covered the proper use of “the rod of correction” last week, and when it is properly applied it will be done in love with the good and the welfare of the child always in view. Never open your mouth to your children unless you mean what you say. When you do say anything to that child, mean it, and do it. If you tell your child you will take him camping, then carry through with that promise. Try never to let your children down, and make it clear that you are a man or woman of your word.

That principle also applies when it comes to discipline. Discipline is what “the grace of God” does. God let’s the prodigal son think he is going his own way, but the Truth is that the desire to get out from under Dad’s rules is the work of an evil spirit sent to us from our heavenly Father (1Sa 16:14). Then He has it already written in our book that we will waste our substance. Then He sends a famine that causes that prodigal son to have to feed swine for a living. It is nothing less than the chastening hand of his loving, heavenly Father, who will not tolerate rebellion or being disrespected.

Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Luk 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Yes indeed, God is sovereign, but the single-minded purpose and desire of God’s sovereign actions is to chasten us to forsake ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live righteously in this present age.

Job 23:13 But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.

Making the Biblical way even narrower, we are told that “the rod of correction” ought never be used to the extent that it discourages God’s children. We all need the discipline of ‘the rod of correction’, but equally important to all children is for their parents to provide encouragement for them. Here is what God told Moses to do with Joshua when it was revealed that Moses would not be leading Israel into the promised land:

Deu 1:38 But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit [the land].

Two chapters later the holy spirit sees fit to repeat this instruction to Moses to let us know just how important an admonition to all of us this matter of encouraging each other and our children is:

Deu 3:28 But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.

Encouragement is strengthening. There is not, nor has there ever been a man or woman who did not come to a time in his or her life when he needed to be encouraged and strengthened. That includes our Lord Himself who came to this earth in the same weak, sinful flesh with which you and I are constructed.

Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Heb 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

Twice we are told our Lord had to be encouraged and strengthened to bear the weight of the trial He endured. The first was at the very beginning of His ministry when the adversary offered to relieve Christ from the yoke of the cross, if only our Lord would bow down and worship the adversary and take the easy way out.

You and I are enduring that same temptation. Look at how our heavenly Father encouraged and strengthened His Son while He was yet in a body of weak flesh and blood:

Mat 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
Mat 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Mat 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Mat 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

The last encouragement was at the very end of our Lord’s ministry, when Christ was staring the cross and death in the face in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Luk 22:41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
Luk 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
Luk 22:43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
Luk 22:44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
When Christ needed strength, His Father ministered to that need. That is what we are to do for those God gives to us.

Little children in particular desperately crave and need encouragement. When my children were very young I used to jokingly tell them, ‘You deserve a pat on the head’, when they would do something really good. I remember going fishing with them once when my oldest son caught a bass which, if I remember right, weighed about two pounds. It was the first fish he had ever caught, and he was so proud of himself. I remember him asking me, ‘Daddy, don’t I deserve a pat on the head?’ I assured him that he did indeed deserve a pat on the head, and I even gave him a big hug to go with his pat on the head. That might sound like an insignificant thing to you or me, but that was a very important thing to that little boy at that moment.

It doesn’t matter how many degrees you have after your name, any man who thinks it is unhealthy for a mother or a father to recognize the accomplishments of their own children with a hug, a kiss and a pat on the head when they take another step in life, is simply lacking common sense. Children crave the approval of their parents, and any Godly parent will be looking for every opportunity to shower that approval upon a child who is seeking to please his or her parents.

God did just that with His Son, and we have record of Him doing so twice:

Mat 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
Mat 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Mat 17:5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

Never fail to praise and encourage you children. It makes for a very happy family and a happy marriage. If you see your child has a strong suit give that child the opportunity to demonstrate that strength just for the purpose of encouraging and strengthening him or her. Never under any circumstance ever mock and discourage your child because of his faults and weaknesses. Mocking our children’s weaknesses and their bad behavior serves only to provoke them to anger, and it encourages them to continue in their bad behavior. At the same time it discourages the child from striving to please his or her parents.

As was quoted before, God has two times inspired these words for our admonition:

Eph 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Col 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

Let’s compare the admonitions in those two verses with those two verses in Deuteronomy we read earlier:

Deu 1:38 But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.

Deu 3:28 But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.

Putting the sum of these verses together we are to “nurture and admonish [our children] lest they be discouraged”. We are to “encourage and strengthen them… to inherit the land” which is the kingdom of God within (Luk 17:20-21). The explicit implication is that if they are not encouraged and strengthened they will not “inherit the land”.

Why are fathers told “provoke not your children to wrath”? The answer, as a YouTube video which our brother Tom shared with us demonstrates, that is exactly what we fathers tend to do to our children. Here is the link to that video:

This father is mocking his six year old daughter by lip syncing her temper tantrum. The entire family is laughing while he mocks his daughter’s completely uncontrolled temper tantrum. The fact that he anticipates and lip syncs her every scream demonstrates that he and his family have been enduring and encouraging this out-of-control behavior for quite some time.

I read subsequent news stories referring to this video and suggesting that this father might be nominated for “Best father of the year” because of the unique way he handles his six year old daughter’s temper tantrums. The fact is, this father is doing exactly what the holy spirit admonishes us not to do, and he get accolades from the world for doing so. It always amazed me that on the TV program, America’s Funniest Home Videos, the video the audience voted winner so many times was a misbehaving, rebellious, out-of-control child. No father who knows that “foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him” would ever countenance provoking his daughter, and thereby encouraging her to continue her tantrum in this manner. This father and all who laud his methods are demonstrating their ignorance of what the holy spirit tells us about the proper use of the rod of correction, the need to encourage our children and the need to be careful never to provoke them to anger because of its discouraging and destructive effect upon our precious children.

What that little six year old girl needs is to be taken to her room and have “the rod of correction” applied to her posterior. Then after she is given time to cry herself out, and it is important to do that – to give a child time to stop sobbing – then she needs to be given the nurture and admonition of the Lord. That “admonition of the Lord” should include the fact that the Lord “chastens us to forsake ungodliness” (Tit 2:11-12). She needs to be told why she will not be permitted to disrupt the family, and exactly why she is not being given what she wants. Then she, and any child with a temper, needs to be given the following “admonition[s] of the Lord” followed by a loving hug to let the child know he/she is still loved:

Pro 14:17 He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.

Pro 14:29 He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.

Pro 15:18 A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.

Pro 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

But “the admonition[s] of the Lord” also extend to us parents who are instructed against provoking our children to wrath while they are having a temper tantrum. Temper tantrums are not to be tolerated. If you doubt that statement just read what Christ did to Israel every time they threw a temper tantrum in the wilderness. Here is but one example of many:

Num 16:32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.
Num 16:33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
Num 16:34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.
Num 16:35 And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.

When Israel’s temper tantrum continued the very next day, in this same chapter, this is how the Lord reacted to Israel’s stubbornness:

Num 16:41 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD.
Num 16:42 And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared.
Num 16:43 And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation.
Num 16:44 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Num 16:45 Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.
Num 16:46 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun.
Num 16:47 And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.
Num 16:48 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.
Num 16:49 Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.
Num 16:50 And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.

The punishment was first just the death of the 250 rebels. The punishment for continued stubbornness was fourteen thousand seven hundred. That is more than 58 X 250. The scriptures are not advocating that we kill our stubborn, rebellious children. The deaths of the rebellious in the Old Testament represent and typify the death of our old man. God’s wrath, His anger, was not out of control. It was measured, and it was for the good of Israel. It happened to them and it is written for our admonition, so we will know what is the fruit of throwing a temper tantrum with God, and so we will know not to tolerate temper tantrums from our own children.

1Co 10:11 But, these things, by way of type, were happening unto them, and were written with a view to our admonition, unto whom, the ends of the ages, have reached along. (REV)

The deaths of all of those who died in this plague, just as the deaths of all who died in the wilderness, are “by way of type[s]” of how we are to deal with “…everything that breathes” as “everything that breaths” pertains to our stubborn, rebellious, carnal-minded, old man. We are not to make deals with, or in any way tolerate his ways, and as that applies to child rearing, we do not negotiate with our children. We are to lead them by example, we are to show them the results of disobedience, and when needed we are to maintain order in the home by using “the rod of correction”, until they are able to make proper decisions on their own. The ability to know good from evil is not an inherent part of human nature regardless of how many secular child psychologists think otherwise:

Isa 7:16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

Jer 17:9 The heart is [just naturally] deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Jer 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred [“desperately wicked”] in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Here “by way of type”, is how we are to deal with our carnal-minded, old man:

Deu 20:16 But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:

God has taken the time to show us the results of our temper tantrums against Him and His ways, and He has instructed us to be on our guard against the natural inclination we all have to act as the father in that YouTube video, which leads only to more of the same and to discouraging a child from even attempting to please his or her parents.

Col 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

It takes the manufacturer Himself to make that connection for us. Provoking our children to wrath discourages them. While “the rod of correction [and] the admonition of the Lord” teaches them what works and what does not work.

If all a child ever hears is the word ‘No!’ without the benefit of godly admonition as to why he is being told ‘No!’, it simply provokes a child to want what he is told he cannot have, or to do what he is told he is not to do. Sandi always told our children ‘No, hot’ when they wanted to touch a hot stove, or touch hot food, or pull a pan of hot grease off the stove onto themselves. But she knew enough to first let each child stick its finger into her hot cup of coffee, knowing it would not maim the child, but they would learn the meaning of the word ‘hot’. After that the child reaching to touch something that would cause great pain or scarring would hear the word ‘hot’ and immediately draw back. The child would never have known to quickly draw back from a real danger such as a hot stove or pan of hot grease without experiencing that small pain first. If all a child hears is ‘no, no, no’ they have no knowledge imparted to them to realize danger to themselves or to something them may be wrongly reaching for.

But be it known unto you, there are many spiritual lessons which even after years of proper child-rearing, your children must learn by cruel experience. That prodigal son we read about earlier is you and me, first, but it is also your children and my children. Our children at their very best are still beasts as we all are, and as such our children will disappoint us just as we have so sorely disappointed our own parents and our own heavenly Father, our God. The story of the prodigal son is not the story of some exceptionally bad ne’er-do-well child of some unfortunate parents. The story of the prodigal son is the story of every one of us (Luk 15:11-32), and it is the story of our own children. It is part of the “one event” which is “common to all” of Ecclesiastes 9:

Ecc 9:2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

Christ experienced that same disappointment. It is the story of how we all disappoint our Lord, and it is the story of how our own children will also disappoint us.

On the night of His apprehension by the Jews, Christ already knows He is facing an excruciating death by crucifixion within mere hours, and He informs his disciples of the mental anguish He is enduring, and He asks them to watch with Him:

Mat 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

But when He returns from His prayers, asking His Father if there is not another way, this is what he discovers:

Luk 22:45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,
Luk 22:46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

Christ is the father of His children. We are His children, and His disciples are merely types of us and of our children. The disappointment of finding His disciples asleep was just the beginning of how they were about to let Him down that night. Here is what happened next:

Mat 26:55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.
Mat 26:56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

This applies to our children also. Our children forsake us every time they turn their backs on what we have taught them straight out of the Word of God, and if you still think your children will not disappoint you, just look at what Christ had to witness next. I will quote both Matthew and Luke to give us the full picture of how our children will be pressured by this world to deny us and what we have taught them:

Mat 26:67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,
Mat 26:68 Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?
Mat 26:69 Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.
Mat 26:70 But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.
Mat 26:71 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.
Mat 26:72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
Mat 26:73 And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.
Mat 26:74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.
Mat 26:75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

Now look at one detail Luke adds in his account:

Luk 22:60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
Luk 22:61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
Luk 22:62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

Don’t you know that Christ was looking with great compassion and mercy upon His poor weak child. Sure He was disappointed, but He knew His son, Peter could not resist the pressure of standing up for Him and His doctrine without the spirit of God, which was not even made available to Peter at this time. The Lord knew the burning, bitter torment that was in Peter’s heart, “and the Lord turned and looked upon Peter, and Peter remembered the word of the Lord… and went out and wept bitterly”.

Let none of us ever be guilty of provoking our children to wrath, and thereby discouraging them from even wanting to please us as their parents. Rather let us always take every opportunity to encourage and strengthen our children who crave our approval.

Let the husbands and wives of the body of Christ, be of one mind when it comes to the rearing of their children, and let us always present the united front of that one mind to our children, and never let them see us, their parents arguing in the presence of our children.

Let us do what our Lord tells us to do, and ignore the writings and opinions of men. If we are give to do that then the way of peace within our families we will know and we will reap the joy of knowing the peace of our Lord’s one mind and His ways.

Because there is yet so much to be said about the blessings of being a nonconformist, next week we will deal with teaching our children how to deal with living their lives not ‘conforming to the ways of the world’. We will consider what the scriptures reveal about not following the multitude to do evil, and how we should teach our children to deal with the trials of not esteeming one day above another, by not observing ‘days, months, times and year’, which is one of the strongest trials they will usually face when they are in public school.

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