Christian parents make a grave mistake when they take a hands-off approach to passing on their faith. “We will let our child decided for herself” is akin to a death sentence to that child’s potential walk with God. According to Proverbs 22:6, parents have a calling to direct their children in the way they should go, so that when they are of age, they won’t detour from it. Better than your own earthly accomplishments is passing the baton well to the next generation. It is your sacred duty, so do it well, for it will be an eternal accomplishment!
Going Deep // Focus: 1 Chronicles 22:11-13
“Now, my son, may the Lord be with you and give you success as you follow his directions in building the Temple of the Lord your God. And may the Lord give you wisdom and understanding, that you may obey the Law of the Lord your God as you rule over Israel. For you will be successful if you carefully obey the decrees and regulations that the Lord gave to Israel through Moses. Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or lose heart!
David didn’t leave Solomon’s path to faith in God up to chance, nor did he let his son alone decide this important matter for himself. Christian parents make a grave mistake when they take a hands-off approach to passing on their faith. “We will let our child decided for herself” is akin to a death sentence to that child’s potential walk with God. According to Proverbs 22:6, all parents have a calling to direct their children in the way they should go, so that when they are of age, they won’t detour from it.
Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
David was the paragon of baton passing for parents of faith. He clearly knew God’s will for Solomon’s life and boldly spoke that prophetic vision for his son’s future into his heart. David wasn’t a unique parent in his ability to discern that about Solomon, he was simply being a good steward of the child that God gave him. And that should be the case with all parents. It doesn’t require special prophetic abilities, but it does take diligent parenting—staying close to God and the child for the purpose of discerning God’s path for that child.
The setting for this story is David’s instructions to the young Solomon on the duty he would have to build a glorious temple to the Lord that would not only be a fitting house for the King of kings, but would wow the world as they were attracted to God by the uncommon blessings that had been poured out upon the nation of Israel. This building, in David’s own words, was to be “a magnificent structure, famous and glorious throughout the world.” (1 Chronicles 22:5) This would be an impossible task for a lesser person, but Solomon was up to it, according to the prophetic future David spoke forth for Solomon. And in the father’s instructions to the son, we find several universal and timeless truths that will not only lead to success before God and men in the building project, but throughout his entire life:
- Success comes from the Lord: “my son, may the Lord be with you and give you success.” (1 Chronicles 22:11) That is the starting point for a life of achievement and impact. Success begins with God, is for God and is rife through and through with God.
- God gives success as we are fully submitted to him: “the Lord be with you and give you success as you follow his directions.” (1 Chronicles 22:11) God is not obligated to bless the disobedient, no matter what we are doing for him. As David’s mentor, Samuel famously said, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” (I Samuel 15:22) Above all else, a parent should instruct their child that love for God is proven through obedience to his Word.
- With God at the center of lives and full obedience to him the passion of our heart, he will supply us with divine wisdom and understanding to do life well: “And may the Lord give you wisdom and understanding, that you may obey the Law of the Lord your God as you rule over Israel.” (1 Chronicles 22:12) Knowing and applying God’s Word takes discernment and skill. And even discernment and skill are not a human invention. They require human discipline, but they come from the Lord, and must we seek them, align ourselves to receive them, and ruthlessly, consistently apply them to daily living.
- At the end of the day, it will take boldness and inner resolve to wholeheartedly follow God: “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or lose heart!” (1 Chronicles 22:13) The way of faith will be fought at every step. It will not be successfully trod by the faint of heart, but by the courageous and determined soul. Most parents believe that boldness is a personality train, but in truth, a mom and dad must train the child to be strong and courageous, to fight for what is right, and to persevere through difficulty. The example of the parent who uses real life expressions of boldness as teachable moments with the child is the best way to inculcate courage. Be strong and courageous, the Lord tells us, and he will give us success wherever we go. (Joshua 1:9)
If you are a parent—or a mentor or you have some influence with a child—God’s calling on your life is to pass your faith on in such a way that the child has a running start at succeeding in life. Better than your own earthly accomplishments is passing the baton well to the next generation. Billy Graham is right,
The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.
Pass your faith on to the child that God has placed within your sphere of influence, for that is an eternal accomplishment!