There are times when God’s command seems cumbersome. Mothers are instructed to teach their children (Proverbs 1:8-9). Investing the time, energy and effort needed to teach children is often the last thing on the minds of our busy female populace. Between the workload in the office, the traffic constrains that take up so much time in a big city, the demands of running a home, meeting the needs of a husband, all your siblings and in-laws, doing the work of the Lord in varying capacities, and trying to have a life – hair, clothes, exercise, facials, spa, rest…there is hardly any time to spend with the children. Time spent with the children has now been reduced to homework sessions and scolding sessions.
We have outsourced the ‘teaching’ of our children to educational institutions, therapists and Sunday school teachers…to all the so-called professionals. We have relegated an all important, God-given assignment to the back burner and spent time in a range of other pursuits.
The bible is replete with examples of people who were so busy serving and whose children ended up causing shame to the name of God and to their parents. We have the children of the high priest Eli as one of the more popular examples. We have the sons of David, who committed detestable acts as another example. We also know of similar cases in our time; cases where children of the high and mighty, the rich and famous, the super spiritual, end up a wreck – often moving from one rehab centre to the next, one failed business to the next, one failed marriage to the next.
Thank God we also have examples of people who have been able to “get it right”. There are unsung heroines in the bible who achieved much by simply raising Godly children. We have the story of Bathsheba, wife of David – former wife of Uriah – who in spite of her treacherous beginning, was able to raise Solomon, King of Israel. We have the story of Rahab – former prostitute- who turned to God and was able to raise Boaz, a godly man who took on Ruth and had Obed, grandfather of king David.
One heroine in particular is Queen Esther. Her story I find to be the most intriguing. She was taken into captivity with the Jews, her parents were killed and she was raised by her uncle. By some ill-fate at that time, she was captured and forced to compete for the king’s favour, because she was beautiful…what we have turned into a lovely movie must have been an absolutely terrifying experience for a young girl. When she became queen, she kept her faith and brought deliverance to the people of Israel in captivity. Most importantly though, she raised a son, a King of Persia that had a heart for God. Her son – although a King of the most important heathen empire of that time, was the one who ordered the rebuilding of God’s temple in Jerusalem. Esther was the mother of King Cyrus.
II Chronicles 36:22-23 gives an account of his command.
King Cyrus was named by God 150 years before his birth and about 200 years before the degree which fulfilled Isaiah 44:28-45:1 (bible research is available on the subject). God needed a Cyrus to be born, to be raised, and he positioned Esther to become queen in Persia, so that her godly influence could lead to the building up of his change agent. Imagine if Esther got caught up in the affairs of Babylon and forgot her godly heritage…the story of Cyrus would possibly have turned out differently.
Imagine if Jochebed, mother of Moses, had not been one to remain sensitive to God, the story of Israel’s deliverance might be written slightly differently today.
I encourage all mothers out there (and fathers too!)- do not relegate your primary assignment to the back burner! Teach your children about God and be a role model for them in the pursuit of God.