Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.1
This past week our local news has featured more than a couple articles on unruly teenagers participating in disrespectful, destructive, and even violent manners. All comments toward these actions seem to ring the same, “Where are the parents?”. These children’s behaviors fall strongly on the way they are being raised and the shame falls on the parents. In many of these cases, an absence of fatherhood in the home has left wives and mothers with unnecessary burdens, and the church and culture are left with unloved, undisciplined and unruly young men and women.
In the story of David's succession in the Bible, we see the results of both wise and foolish fatherhood. David's inconsistencies as a father were vividly displayed in the way he dealt with his sons, and each one bore severe consequences. David's regular failure to discipline his children is highlighted in 1 Kings 1:6: But his father had never once infuriated him by asking, “Why did you do that?” David indulged his son Adonijah, and the result was a spoiled and disobedient son who eventually turned into an entitled young man. His son, Amnon, was lustful, devious, immature, and violent; an undisciplined child that had grown into an evil man. In 2 Samuel 13, David did not deal with his son Absalom's heart, and he grew bitter. It eventually led to Absalom's death. Like Eli before him (1 Sam. 3), David knew about the evil of his children yet consistently neglected to correct them.
Too often fathers are afraid to "displease" their children: especially with teenagers there is often a fear that they will react if a father imposes correction and restrictions. But the Bible is clear, and we must discipline our children (Eph. 6:4) because a child left undisciplined today will become the bane of society tomorrow. David was not a good example to his children and his sons reflected David’s sins. Despite all David's failures to discipline his sons and be an example to them, he is not without merit. He was still a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22). He did teach one son though, Solomon. Solomon's Proverbs indicate that David taught him the fear of the Lord as a child.
In many ways David is like many fathers today, but God never intended to make David our ultimate example. His failures showed the need for a perfect King and a perfect Father.
God promised that this King would be from David's line and would rule in righteousness reflecting the perfect, loving rule of his Heavenly Father (2 Sam. 7:12-15). The true Son of David, Jesus Christ, redeemed David's fatherhood and all fatherhood, and through His death and resurrection. Now, Christian fathers are able to reflect God's fatherhood towards their own children.2
Suggested Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, raising my children for you in a sinful world has proved to be very difficult. I ask that you give me the wisdom to guide their young heart toward you so that their actions will always reflect you in me. Help me to be consistent and always discipline in love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
1. Ephesians 6:4 (CSB).
2. “Lessons for Christian Fathers” by Gavin Peacock.
Today’s Encounter was written by: Veronica B.
All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.