You Have Children

In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the Lord and repaired them.  He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said: “Listen to me, Levites!  Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors.  Remove all defilement from the sanctuary.  Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him.  They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps.  They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel.  Therefore, the anger of the Lord has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of dread and horror and scorn, as you can see with your own eyes.  This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity.  Now I intend to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us.  My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense.”

  • 2 Chronicles 24:3-11

Picture an often-run television commercial about a well-known store that delivers your purchases so that you do not have to go to the store.  The guy picks up his groceries on his porch and remembers all the things that he forgot and then one of the children mentions that there is a bake sale tomorrow.  Note: I had to listen to the commercial seemingly a few hundred times, and I am still not sure if the words that the boy says are “bake sale,” but a lot of folks mumble these days.

But the store promises to rush things to your home, so no harm done.  Now the father is sitting back, sipping coffee, and the narrator, making all these promises that I personally do not believe, says, “Take your kids to school.  You have children.”

I think the company should remove the ad due to the image that pops into my head.  Every year, we have deaths of children who were left in the back seat because their parents forgot that they had children in the back seat.  “Hot Car Deaths” has led to legislation changing in that one person can break the windows of someone else’s car to retrieve an unresponsive child or animal.  Many states differ on how that works.  Car manufacturers are redesigning their cars to provide alarms if there is someone sitting in the back seat when you leave the car.

Along with taking that commercial off the air, they need to have more wholesome programming that gives people a blueprint in good parenting skills.  Nearly every television show has dysfunctional parents, leading everyone to believe that is the only kind of parents.

But what happened to parents who take responsibility?  I know, they hate being called irresponsible, but maybe they should grow up so that they can learn from criticism.  I know, regarding the hot car deaths, many of these unfortunate parents, who will forever be scarred, have woven a lie that they live with, that others have done it and it is okay.  It is not okay.  I never did that with my children.  Maybe my wife and I could be considered overprotective, but we have never forgotten that we have children, and they are now in their forties, one with grown children of his own.

And yes, I have burned the candle at both ends, managed multiple projects, worked multiple 16-hour shifts.  I have done all those things that are used as “distractions,” but if I had to pick up the children on the way home, I never forgot to do so and I never forgot they were in the car.  And the older one was quiet enough that you might have that problem, but my wife and I never did.  You knew the younger one was in the car.

But this lack of remembering that you are a parent is just part of the destruction of the nuclear family.  The parents forget that they are to discipline their children.  Regardless of how you do so, there needs to be discipline.

I moved to Pennsylvania and went to my last employer about 25 years ago, and one of my co-workers warned me that the managers of the company did not know that “manage” was a verb – his opinion, but I had known such “managers” all my life.  We can say the same about most parents.  Parenting is one of those jobs that you cannot do in a 24-hour day.  I know.  That’s all that you have to work with, but it is a time-consuming job.

The Scripture above speaks of Hezekiah reading the riot act to his priests and Levites.  The parents of the adults did not teach their children well, and now they had to clean house.  Hezekiah could have blamed the previous priests or previous kings or another group, but he put the blame on the parents.

When parents do not take their responsibility as a parent with all the seriousness it deserves, our nation will crumble.  In many ways, it already has.

Do we have room for a repentance and a return to God?  Again, even that requires people standing up and leading their children as they turn their lives around.

Now, let’s listen to that last line of the commercial again.  “Take your kids to school (with church and teaching them the important things at home in mind).  You have children!”

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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