I was once at a family gathering (kind of a reunion) in my childhood that took place in Alabama. I remember hearing some members of my family sing as song with a line it that said, "An old brimstone preacher lived long ago. His message was clear it said you reap what you sow." I always liked that line, and of course it comes from a passage in the book of Galatians. The Bible does teach that you reap what you sow. Of course we know this is true in the natural. If you go outside and plant a field of corn you should not get upset when spring harvest comes and you've got corn to pick. To go outside and expect a field of watermelon or a field of snap peas would be utterly ridiculous. As crazy as this may sound, most parents today are surprised, upset, bewildered, and distraught when they see there children get involved with the wrong crowd or in sinful activities the older they get. But the message of the brimstone preacher was right. They are reaping what they've sown.
You cannot expect to never spend quality or quantity time with a child and then have him love and adore you the same way as if you did spend such time with him or her. I cannot expect my daughters to respect my understanding and wisdom one day when it comes time for them to get married if I do not nourish and take care of them now when they are young. My sons will not want to listen to me, much less obey me when I council them not to go to a certain place or area, or not to hang out with a certain person, if I've not been diligently teaching them the commandments of the Most High all throughout their elementary years. But the opposite is just as true. The more time I take care to talk to my children, play games with them, teach them the Scriptures, sing with them, and just spend good, plain ol' family time with them, my harvest will be plentiful.
To not raise your children up properly and then expect them to do what is right in their teenage years is like looking for snap peas after you've planted corn. Parents, you are accountable for your children. If you've brought a child (or children) into this world they are your responsibility. I don't just mean that you have the job of feeding and clothing them, I mean that you have the job of training them up in the way that they should go, in the way of the law of Yahweh. It is your job to teach them diligently out of the Scriptures, it is your job to make sure that they understand the commandments and what they mean and entail. It is up to you to take time to discipline them when they err at a young age. You must "water," "pull out the weeds," "till," etc. you children, just as a farmer takes great care to make sure what he planted will produce abundantly.
I'm looking for the best harvest myself. Yahweh has given me the tools to make sure the best harvest is what I get. The tools are the books of the Bible. I am using them; I hope you will too.
My family and I celebrate Hanukkah. By that I do NOT mean that we put up a "Hanukkah Bush" and place presents under it, or that we give our children a gift once a day for eight days, or that we even light a menorah in memory of oil lasting for eight days (which may not even be a true historical occurence). What I mean is that we remember (during this time of the year) the story of 1 Maccabees 1-4. It's a beautiful story; a historic account of how many people in Israel lost their lives for holding fast to Yahweh's law. It is also a record of how a "broken" temple, and temple of Yahweh that had been desecrated, was eventually taken back for the purposes of Yahweh and dedicated to the service of Yahweh. It's truly an amazing story; one of my favorites.
Many people do not know that you can find a brief mention of Hanukkah in John 10:22 under the name Feast of Dedication. The word dedication in the Hebrew language means Hanukkah (it is actually #2597 in Strong's Exhuastive Concordance). Therefore when I mention or anyone else mentions Hanukkah, don't let it throw you. Don't think that we are talking about some kind of mystical thing or celebration. It is simply a word that means dedication, and dedicate to Yahweh the Israelites in 1 Maccabees 4 did. We learn from John 10:22 that this was a feast celebrated in Jerusalem during the time of Yeshua by the Israelites; we also learn it was celebrated in winter.
Some people object to the celebration of Hanukkah because it is not commanded by Yahweh in the Torah (law). This objection stems from two problematic paradigms. One, my family and I, nor anyone else I know that celebrates the feast, believes it is commanded. We see it as a custom in Israel; something that is optional. Two, Yahweh does not condemn festivals that are instituted for reasons other than paganism or mixing evil with good, etc. For example, the Judahites in Esther's day instituted Purim (Esther 9:17-26); it was a custom in Israel for the people to mourn the death of Jephthah's dauther four days a year (Judges 11:39-40); the Israelites in 2 Chronicles 30 added an additional 7 days to the Feast of Unleavened Bread making the feast last 14 days instead of the commanded 7. Were these institutions sinful? Were they a violation of the commandments of Yahweh? Absolutely not. Are they commanded? Absolutely not. One can choose to celebrate these type things or not; they are a matter of liberty similar to the drinking of wine or eating of meat (Romans 14).
When I read the account of the Hanukkah institution in 1 Maccabees, it just makes me want to remember the feast as something special. I can't help but get emotional when I read the text. I hope you will take the time to go and read it for yourself.
When is the last time you sat down with your family and worshiped the Creator? I'm not talking about in a church building or at a church function. Those should be done, but to limit our times of study, praise, learning, etc. to once or twice a week is not beneficial to our families. The Bible teaches us that men's hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked (go look it up) and that we need to be encouraging one another daily so that we are not hardened by sins deceitfulness. Our children need to be hearing the good news of the gospel along with a host of other Biblical studies each and every day of their lives. They need to be hearing it from their Father and Mother, not just their church Pastor or Elder.
My family has been going through Proverbs for a while now and I've noticed particularly that a common saying in the book is that a wise child makes his Parents glad, but a foolish child brings discomfort on Parents. But why are so many children foolish? Is it because they have to be that way? Is it because there is nothing a Parent can do to drive away such foolishness? Are Parents just to throw up their hands and wait until their children "grow out" of such a stage? None of the above, I say. Foolishness is driven away by applying the Bible to your childs life and by disciplining your child with the rod of correction; it (the rod) will drive foolishness far away from your child, but it must be administered in love, not in hate.
Getting back to Biblical training, I believe that us Father's should be taking time out everyday to study with our children. Sing songs of praise with them to Yahweh, teach them Bible verses encouraging them to commit them to memory. Take time to go through the life of a Biblical person, or an entire book in the Bible. Talk to them seriously, give them practical applications that they can follow through with even now in their childhood. Teach them to pray to the heavenly Father. All of this is assuredly a wonderful and proper use of our time here in this life. People waste their time with so many other things, when they could be glorifying their Maker with family worship.
I want to suggest for you to have family worship in the morning before everybody goes about their day. It's so great to begin each day with Yahweh. Don't waste your life; don't wait until tommorrow, start today. You'll be glad you did.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.