Discover His heart: Even when others fail, He is our example of a loving father
The books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles give the history of Israel’s kings from three different perspectives, and the many books of the prophets give additional insights to this history. We may wonder why so much of the Bible is focused on the exploits of these kings, yet as we study them, we find their life lessons to be invaluable.
@ I Kings 1
Chapter 1 begins with David, the mighty warrior and king of valor, near death at the age of 70. When compared to Methuselah and others like him, this may seem like a relatively young age to die, but we learn that the role of king did not lend itself to long life in general. David’s challenging early years of survival and his reign as a warrior king took their toll on his life to be sure, and the disconnect he had with his family must have added to his burden.
What little we know about David’s parenting skills doesn’t speak well of him. In light of what we are able to read in the Bible, most of the fathers in the Old Testament seemed almost clueless about raising children. The patriarchs, kings, prophets and priests often had difficulty passing the family torch on to their sons because their devotion to God had not been accepted by their children. Willful disobedience and rebellion seemed to be the lifestyle of the sons of many of Israel’s leaders. What lesson can we learn from this?
Adonijah was David’s son with Haggith who was one of David’s many, many, many wives. Because of his birth order, Adonijah “began boasting, ‘I will make myself king,’” (5) yet he and everyone else knew that David had chosen Solomon. David was living the Absalom experience all over again with this willful, headstrong young son. One short sentence in this chapter gives an explanation as to how this son could disrespect his father by making himself the king, “Now his father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, ‘Why are you doing that?’” Help.
I’ve never met a child that didn’t require discipline on occasion, and obviously, Adonijah was not the exception. No doubt Haggith’s threats of “Wait until your father gets home!” carried little weight. King David had many wives and many children, and with his leadership demands, he probably had difficulty remembering all their names much less worrying about discipline. However, it’s hard to understand how great leaders can ignore the welfare of their future seed. Solomon was on the right track for much of his life and wrote most of the book of Proverbs including helpful instructions to young men, but his own son, Rehoboam, was a mess.
We may not be ruling a country, but with all our breadwinning, deal-making, carpooling and errand running, the last thing we feel like doing when we finally arrive home is disciplining our children. It’s easier to ignore the situation and hope for a better day tomorrow; but as parents, our primary role is to parent – a transitive verb meaning to nurture, raise and develop. Somebody’s got to do it, and we’re it!
So, what do we learn from this? Ultimately, our children are responsible for their own decisions and for the course they choose for life regardless of how we have parented. David’s lack of parenting was not helpful for some of his children, yet neither was Solomon’s advice beneficial to his own offspring.
We can’t make decisions for our children when they are grown, but when they are young, we can do all that is possible through our nurturing and training to put them in a position to make good choices. If they make poor choices, they will be without excuse with no one else to blame, and that in itself is worth all our efforts. But after spending an evening of pure joy with my children and grandchildren, I can testify that greater still is the reward that comes from our hard work as we watch our seed grow and flourish in the Lord for generations to come.
Moving Forward: I will do my part establishing my children and my children’s children in the Lord, doing the hard work when necessary in order to reap great rewards.
Tomorrow @ Psalms 63-65