By Sarah Evans As our children grow up, it is important that we show them how to remain under God’s mighty hand of protection. They will not know how to do this by themselves, and that is why God has placed our children in our care: to teach, model, and show them the way. How do we place our children under God’s hand of protection? This is something that we will look at during the next few issues of the parenting blog. But first we must understand what this means for ourselves. We cannot teach our children something that we ourselves do not practice, as our children learn primarily from watching our example. So, how do we remain under His mighty hand of protection?
When we look at the Old Testament, we can see that the children of God walked in a certain pattern of behavior that can help us in answering this question. The children of God (the Israelites) would swing from trusting God, to completely turning their back on God. And when they would turn away from God they would even go as far as worshipping false gods instead.
‘When they turned their backs on God, even though they did not realise it, they were actually walking outside of God’s hand of protection.’Every time they did this, their enemies would be successful in attacking them, and in taking them captive. They would even become slaves of their enemy and would walk in oppression. What is interesting to see is that every time they would end up in captivity, they would then choose to cry out to the living God for help. And every time God would come to their rescue by delivering them from their enemy, and by restoring His hand of blessing upon their lives. He did so because the people repented, and so in essence by doing so they walked back under His hand of protection once more. So what can we learn from this? When we trust in God, and obey Him, and remain close to Him, we are remaining under His hand of protection. Psalm 92:1-4 likens this to the following:
‘He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty…He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall find refuge’.If we are under His wings, the enemy cannot even see us, let alone attack us. And even if he tries to attack, he cannot inflict any significant damage. And so it is very important that we learn how to remain under His wings. When we begin to wander out of and away from God’s secret place of refuge, we place ourselves at risk. This can be seen with a pack of animals. Which animal does the prey look to overtake? The animal that strays away from its group and is alone, as it ismore vulnerable to being attacked and/or destroyed.If the sheep wanders away from the sheepfold, the shepherd is less likely to be able to come to its rescue when it is under attack! And so our strength against the schemes and attack of the enemy is in our closeness to God. If we are to be successful in remaining close to God, we must understand that there are distractions that seek to take our attention away from Him. There are false gods that seek to lead us away from His place of refuge. And this is also the same for our children. Next time we will talk more about what these distractions and false gods look like, and how to identify them. Also we will look at practical ways of how to resist the influences that seek to take us away from God; both in our own lives, and more importantly in the lives of our children. If we are to better help our children in remaining under God’s mighty hand of protection, we must first seek to stay close to God ourselves by learning how to control the influences that are constantly inundating ourhearts and minds, and then we must teach our children how to do the same. Questions to consider:
- What are the distractions and influences in your life, that seek to pull you away from God’s presence?
- What are the distractions and influences in the lives of your children?
- How can you better protect your children from these influences?