Today my book baby turns six months old!
*Commence shouts and cheers and celebration!*
Over the past six months I’ve heard from many readers that the book has been a great encouragement to them. One of the main takeaways, for many parents, has been the idea of having a vision for your family that I talk about in Chapters 1 and 2.
Have you thought about why your family is here? Have you thought about what makes your family uniquely you? Have you thought about God’s purpose for your family?
These are all questions I ask in First Ask Why, hoping to encourage parents to think a little more deeply about their family, their purpose, and their vision of how God could use them to shine the light of Christ into a dark world.
This morning, as I was doing my regular Bible reading, God showed me again why having a vision—and, more importantly, sharing it with your kids—is so critical, especially today.
First, some background.
I’ve been reading through the book of Joshua, which tells about how the Israelites entered the Promised Land. God’s desire for his people was that they would find rest after forty years of wandering, but before they could rest they had to conquer the land. Joshua tells about lots of fighting and plundering and conquering and taking back the land God had promised to the Israelites through Abraham, generations earlier.
At the end of the book, as Joshua lies on his death bed, he reminds the people to keep obeying God because it was, after all, only because of God’s good hand upon them that they could even enter and take the land. Throughout the book, Joshua pulls back the purpose and the means by which they had entered the land: God.
It’s all a story about God.
So this morning I turned to the book of Judges, and in chapter 2, which takes place shortly after the death of Joshua, I read these chilling words:
“And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.” (Judges 2:10 ESV)
Wait. How did that happen?
After all that God had done for his people—calling them, leading them, rescuing them, fighting for them—how could they forget? The stories that came out of the book of Joshua were truly amazing, showing God’s hand of faithfulness to his people. How could this new generation not know?
Because their parents didn’t tell them.
Years earlier, as the people of Israel wandered in the wilderness, God warned them to remember:
“And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Deuteronomy 6:10-12 ESV)
And he warned them to share this with their children:
“When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. (Deuteronomy 6:20-24 ESV)
Later, Joshua warned the people too. At the end of his life, he gathered the Israelites around him and recounted (not for the first time!) all the many ways that God had protected and provided for them through the years. He warned them to obey God and to not worship idols because this would bring God’s wrath. Joshua acted like a father to his children by reminding them about God’s faithfulness and encouraging them to stay faithful to Him.
This is discipleship.
And Mom and Dad, this is your call to your children. Disciple them. Teach them who God is. Remind them of his faithfulness to your family. Tell stories about how God has blessed your family. Remember the ways he has protected you.
And keep encouraging your kids to follow Jesus.
If you’re anything like me, you truly desire to see your grandchildren and great-grandchildren—and the generations after that—following the Lord, because you know that following him is the key to real life. Abundant life. Eternal life.
So today, just as I did in First Ask Why, I want to encourage you to keep pouring into your kids. Tell them the stories of God’s faithfulness. Share with them the goodness of the Lord.
And commit yourself to discipleship, even when its hard. Even when you’re tired. Even when you don’t know what to say. Even when life is so full that you don’t even think you have a spare minute to talk to your kids about Jesus. Even then.
Keep going. Keep pouring in. Keep up the work of discipleship so that years down the road no one will say of our family: “And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.”
I’m praying for you today, Mom and Dad.
Could I ask you a favor today—a little six-month birthday gift for my book? If you’ve read First Ask Why, would you write a brief review over at Amazon (you can then cut and paste it to Goodreads, B&N, or anywhere else)? It would mean so much to this fledgling author. Thanks!