Posted by: Heather | June 7, 2010

Taught of the Lord

Isaiah 54:13  And all of thy children shall be taught of the LORD;  and great shall be the peace of thy children.

In the past few days, the calendar pages have turn to June.  June is the month when we begin to wax poetic, because it’s a time of many new beginnings.  Weddings often take place in June, and graduations are another big focus of our time and energy.

I am fortunate to know a few friends that graduated children this year.  I suppose it’s on my mind more strongly than usual because Lord willing, this time next year, my husband and I will graduate our oldest son.  He will be the first graduate of our homeschool.  I’ve been thinking over his life for the past few days, and realizing how little credit I get for any of it.   God is the one who deserves all of the credit.   At this point in his life, he’s still deciding what he wants to be when he grows up.  We’re tossing ideas about and trying to determine what path he’d like to take once he graduates.  But, if I was to name the quality about him that stands out the most, it’s that he loves the Lord, and loves to study His Word and learn about Him.

This is a child that has, for as long as I can remember, had spiritual wisdom beyond his years.   As a 14 year old, he went head to head with a man (in his 60’s) that was trying to convince him behind our backs that he belonged at another church other than the church we attended.  This went on for a period of 2 months or longer.  Funny thing was, he never could upset my son.  Even though I never saw this man personally (it’s a long story), I quickly realized that my son was enjoying the challenge of being able to answer him biblically.  It eventually came to the place that the man brought reinforcements with him, and finally one day he was told by his partner, “You’d better just quit while you’re ahead”.   That ended it in its tracks.    As I reminisce about incidents like this, I realize what a great man he has become, and how proud I am of him, and what God has done in his life.

While considering this, a thought came into my head about the phases of education in the Hebrew culture.  Hebrew children, especially sons, undergo 3 phases of education.  From birth to about 5 years old, the mother is the child’s primary teacher.   She has the ability to teach him right from wrong in her nurturing way, up in her lap, where he’s totally protected and secure.  From the ages of 5 to 12, the primary educator is the child’s father.  During this period of time, he learns the Word of God, a trade, and what it takes to be a man.

The biggest transition in this young man’s life comes when he turns 13 years old.  Most of us know that this new teenager will then be given a ‘bar mitzvah’.   For the longest time, I thought this was simply a party that represented his passage into adulthood.  But, it means so much more than that.   This ceremony marks the time when he enters the 3rd, and most important phase of his education.  From this point forward, he becomes a student of the Torah…his primary teacher is no longer his mother or his father, but the Word of God.  It’s not that mom and dad are no longer important, but that the Word of God takes precedence over them.

As I continued thinking about this,  a startling revelation struck me.  As parents, we want what’s best for our children.  We want them to thrive in all areas of their lives.  And, most parents I know want to see their children excel far above what they themselves have been able to achieve in life.  We like to see our children do better than we did.  The Lord began to impress on my heart that this is the case in material things.  But, when it comes to spiritual things, the story is often very different.

When people are asked questions about their behavior, it’s a common thing to hear they do things because ‘that’s the way my parents did’.  Many have stayed at the same church because their family were charter members of that assembly, or because that’s the way they’ve always been taught.  We do the best we can to place good morals into our children and a spiritual basis for living.  But, if the truth be told, we would often like for them to stay within those religious parameters and not move on into other things.

I was challenged with this idea myself not long ago.  I realized that when my children displayed a different opinion than I did about spiritual matters, it would shock me, and I quickly wanted to make sure they understood the doctrine I was trying to teach them.  But, I soon realized that their questioning is healthy, and instead of having my ‘apple cart’ upset, I should take them straight to the scripture.   Not through the eyes of what we’d always been taught, but through the lens of scripture alone.   By going to the Word of God, we could establish a scriptural basis for their questions together instead of just a doctrinal one.

It was a hard transition.  Not so much for them as it was for me, learning to evaluate things simply by the light of God’s Word.  By doing that, and showing them how to do that, they can move on to being taught directly by the Word of God.

The realization that struck me so hard is that many adults have never ventured beyond the faith of their parents, and become a student of the Word of God for themselves.  Not the Word filtered through denominational doctrine…not the Word filtered through our cultural lens, or our ideas.  This is why the church world is impotent in a lot of ways…so many never learned to learn for themselves.  Fear strikes many who are afraid of going against their parents, or going further into the Word than they’ve been taught.  Sometimes it may seem it brings division.  Parents worry that their children will venture off into unbiblical things, and that’s definitely a valid concern.  But, just as in the natural, we have to allow God to work in our children, and let go to watch them fly on their own.

Unless we make a deliberate decision to allow our children to be taught of the Lord, they will never realize what grand plans God has for them.  Maybe they will be one of the next reformers.  Maybe they will take the reigns, go forward and do something amazing for God that the world has never seen.  Maybe they will be the next great evangelist, teacher, or preacher.  Or maybe they will be the mothers that train the great ones of the next generation.   But, unless we allow them the freedom to go spiritually beyond where we have gone, we may stifle one that has tremendous potential for Christ.

I’d like to issue a challenge to you today.  No matter your age, or position in life, begin to do all you can to be taught of the Lord.  Preachers and teachers are important for the furthering of the gospel.  But, our primary goal should be to reach a place of becoming a student of God’s Word, not a student of our pastor, or our denomination.  Our goal is to be like Christ.  What better way to be like Him than to be taught by Him?  The Bible says great peace will accompany those that do.  I don’t know about you, but great peace sounds just fine to me!

God bless you this week!

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