This year I have been reading through the bible with my church. I have been struck by the one main pervasive theme: God making Himself known to the world. Said another way, just how much of missional, global God He is. You can not read the stories of Israel’s kings or the prophets, or even our forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob without seeing that the Lord’s plan through it all is to make His name and glory known to the World, so that, people will come to know His love and worship Him alone!
This week as I have been reading in 2 chronicles there are a few verses that the Holy Spirit has pointed out to me specifically as they relate to parenting. Let me share a few of these insights.
In 2 Chron. 16:9 it states, “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him…” (the rest of the verse continues… “You have done a foolish thing and from now on you will be at war.” This is spoken to the people of Judah who had turned from the LORD to rely on man instead.)
My thoughts turned to the question, why does the Lord look throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him? The answer: Mark 1:17 Jesus states, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” This is why God recruited me! So that, I can be strengthened by Him to go into the world and tell men of His great glory. Before my role as a wife or mother this is my primary role as a worshiper of God! I can do this and should do this through my role as a mother and wife.
And than later in 2 Chron. 20 king Jehoshaphat is trouble by what to do with these two other pagan nations that want to defeat Israel. I started to relate to his prayer. I thought about raising my children and the many things in our culture that are set on defeating them (materialism, autonomy, comforts, independence, self seeking pleasure, etc.) and any possibility of a holy life. I feel alarmed when I think of the danger of these enemies in our culture just as Jehoshaphat did. In verse 3 “alarmed he resolved to inquire of the LORD, and proclaim a fast for all Judah. “ I want this to be my first response too! He goes on to pray many things in verses 6-12. After his praise of God, remembrance for what God has done in the past and his proclamation of the Lord, he states (vs. 12) “we do not know what to do, but our eyes on upon you.”
This is how we as parents feel at least a little bit each day! How do I punish my 2 year old and help him learn? How do I let Jesus into the mundane of keeping up the house and children? How do I learn and grow from mistakes in parenting and in marriage? I love how honest Jehoshaphat is, he does not know what to do but he is looking to the Lord for an answer!
And the answer the Lord gives him is so encouraging!! In verse 15, “This is what the LORD says to you, ‘do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours but God’s (…battle strategy…) do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.”
How powerful and mighty is our God? How loving? The answer is more than we can comprehend! I know the Lord is with me too because of Jesus! He made that promise in Matthew 28:20, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” He has given me (and all believers) His Holy Spirit (Act 1:8). This encourages me, as the task of parenting can feel as overwhelming as the armies of two nations coming after you!
Lastly, I pondered the example Jehoshaphat set the day after his prayer and the word from the LORD. Verse 20 tells us he stood and told the people, “ Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld.” Then they set out towards their enemies “appointing men to sing to the LORD and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying ‘Give thanks to the LORD for His love endures forever.”
Every day there is a battle ahead of us that is big (and will forever be because souls are at stake) and an enemy who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). How can we set out each day and take on our role as parents? We can set out confident, empowered, praising God because our God is with us and He is bigger than our enemies! And He already has the victory! (I will blog more about the victory next time!)