And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations.” Genesis 17:9 ESV
This was the plan. Abraham was to keep God’s covenant and teach his offspring to do the same. That mandate can lead us to believe that if Abraham did the first, the faith of his offspring would be guaranteed. However, we know from hindsight that didn’t happen. There were seasons when his descendants honored God and there were also periods when they descended into wickedness. To further confuse, righteous kings in the Old Testament often raised children who did evil in the sight of God while the worst of kings produced children who turned out to be righteous.
It’s true today. Children grow up in the same home, with the same parents, in the same spiritual environment; some choose to believe but others don’t. Are children’s departure from faith the parent’s fault? Not any more than it was Abraham’s fault when some of his offspring descended into wickedness. Like him, we are to keep God’s covenant, train our children in the Word and teach, by example, what it means to live by faith. Some will choose God’s path but to our great disappointment, we may watch others reject everything.
Unfortunately, it is a human tendency to carry the weight of our children and grandchildren’s choices. We lament that we weren’t perfect parents, but God didn’t ask for perfect parents. That dream died in the garden. Instead, imperfect parents, loved and forgiven by Jesus, provide an environment that offers the greatest possibility of spiritual success. What each child does after that rests entirely on their shoulders.
The road to destruction is wide and most travel on it, even our children. The way of the cross is narrow, only a few find it, and we rejoice when it’s our children. It’s a beautiful thing when families worship together but how painful when the clash of spiritual kingdoms is felt at our own dinner tables. Only God’s grace and compassion can keep us tenderhearted, forgiving, doing whatever is necessary to fight on our knees for their souls.
Grace and comfort Lord, for all your children who need this message. Amen