Monday, August 24, 2009

"...but obey their father's commandment."

The above phrase is taken from Jeremiah 35:14, the account of the family of the Rechabites. In this account, which I have previously referenced, God tells Jeremiah to hold up this family as an example of faithfulness and obedience to the people of Judah. They also set a pretty good example for us today, when so many of our families are falling by the wayside. But what is truly amazing to me is that when studying a little further, I discovered Jonadab was not their father. This account in Jeremiah takes place in the time of king Jehoikim, one of the last kings of Judah. Jonadab lived in the time of Jehu, approximately 240 years earlier. In other words, for about ten to twelve generations, this family had passed on the teaching and instruction of this one man Jonadab. Stop and think about that for a moment( or in Bible terms - Selah ). That would be similar to the descendants of George Washington still living today following his teachings. So, how did he do it, you ask? I believe there are several principles that we can learn from this man's life.
#1. Jonadab took a stand for God.
We see this in the account of II Kings 10:15-28, when Jehu the king came to him looking for a man to stand with him against the wicked worshippers of Baal.
#2. Jonadab practiced what he preached.
I believe this is evident in the clear views that are presented by his descendants two and a half centuries later. There was no argument about what he said or what he meant.
#3. Jonadab was personally involved in the teaching of his children.
He didn't assume they were just going to get it at the temple, or in school. Three times in the account in Jeremiah, the phrases commanded and charged are used. he exemplified the instructions God gives in Deuteronomy 6:1-9. How can I know that for sure? We reap what we sow. It can't possibly be luck or coincidence that a man's descendants, two hundred plus years down the road, are still following his commands.
So, can we have the success of Jonadab? Yes, I believe we can. But I believe the reason we're not, judging by the poll, is not that our youth aren't listening or learning - it's that we aren't teaching them the things they need to know. Fathers - it's up to us. Mother's - if Dad is not there, it's up to you( see Timothy for case in point ). Point is, parents, we have a great responsibility, and from what I've seen in my few years is that responsibility has been ignored, because to many dads and too many moms quite frankly don't want to grow up. Men are living to pursue pleasure instead of promoting principle; woman are living to build a career instead of building character in their children; and the children are left on their own to "find themselves."
May God help us to restore a broken foundation, the family.

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