Bible Stories to Help Your Parenting
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In this episode, Elizabeth Urbanowicz is asked for Bible stories that will help when it comes to parenting. Elizabeth looks at several parenting stories in the Bible to see what we can learn. She also looks at overarching themes in the whole of Scripture and the parenting principles we can take away from them.
Note: The following is an auto-transcript of the podcast recording.
Hello friends, and welcome to another episode of the Foundation Worldview Podcast, where we seek to answer your questions so that you can equip the children that God has placed in your care to carefully evaluate every idea they encounter and understand the truth of the biblical worldview. I'm your host, Elizabeth Urbanowicz and I'm thrilled that you've joined me for another episode today. Today's question is another one that's short and sweet and it says, "What are the best Bible stories to help my parenting?" Interesting question. We're going to dive down deep into that one.
But before we do that, if you have a question that you would like answered on a future Foundation Worldview Podcast, you can submit that by going to FoundationWorldview.com/podcast. Also, if you found the podcast, this podcast, to be beneficial would ask that you consider liking and subscribing to make sure that you never miss a future episode, and also ask that you would consider writing a review and sharing this content with those within your sphere of influence so that we can equip as many adults as possible to get the kids in our care to understand the truth of the biblical worldview.
Now, this question is an interesting one about what Bible stories can help us in our parenting. And so in the Bible we do see some examples of parent triumphs and we see many, many examples of parent failures. So just thinking of this, some of the triumphs that we see in Scripture, we see Hannah giving Samuel to the Lord just as she promised. She promised when she was begging the Lord for a child that she would devote him to the Lord. And once Samuel was weaned, she gave him to the Lord and Samuel became a mighty prophet. We also see David, his instructing of Solomon. You know that at the beginning of Solomon's kingship, he was a very wise king who followed God. Things quickly went south, but we see some of David's parenting there. We see Solomon instructing his own son in wisdom as we read through Proverbs. So we see wise instruction from a father passed on to his son.
Then in the New Testament we see Mary and Joseph faithfully raising Jesus as they were called to. And so those are some of the triumphs that we see in Scripture. However, more often than not, instead of seeing triumphs in parenting in Scripture, we see many, many failures.
In the Old Testament, we see Isaac and Rebecca playing favorites. That Isaac loved Esau more, Rebecca loved Jacob more. Then we see Jacob failing to protect his daughter, failing to train her wisely, and Dinah goes out and she is raped by Shechem. Then we see Jacob playing favorites with his own sons, that he favors Joseph more than any other son, and that creates rivalry and division within his family. In the book of Judges, we see Jephthah making a rash vow to the Lord. In the end, he has to devote his daughter to the Lord because he made this rash vow.
In the book of 1 Samuel, we see Eli failing to raise up his sons well, failing to call them out on their sin as they're just committing horrible sin against the Lord and against the people of the land as they are priests. We see something somewhat similar with Samuel and his sons that Samuel does not raise up sons who are following after his footsteps. Again, in first Samuel we see Saul and his daughter Michal that he uses her as a pawn, that he sees that she's fallen in love with David, so he uses her as a pawn to try to just manipulate the situation with David.
Then with David, we see that he fails to punish Amnon, his son, Amnon. His son rapes his daughter, Tamar, and he doesn't punish him in any way. And then when Absalom, David's son, David's older son kills, actually, I can't remember if he's older or not. Well, anyway, when David's son Absalom kills Amon for raping his sister, David has Absalom banished, but he doesn't do anything really to reconcile that relationship. And so we just on and on and on and on throughout scripture, we see many examples of parents just failing in their responsibilities to raise up their children in the fear and instruction of the Lord.
So from these few triumphs and many failures, we can learn some general broad lessons from the story of Hannah. We can learn that devoting our children to the Lord for service to Him, dedicating them to Him is a wise thing. We can see that teaching them wisdom as Solomon taught his son wisdom and then teaching them how to seek the Lord that these are things that we should do. We see from the story of Isaac and Rebecca and then Jacob and his sons that we shouldn't play favorites. From Jacob, we also see don't put your daughter in a position where she's going to be vulnerable to sexual abuse or temptation. We see from the example of Saul, don't use your children as pawns. So we see some of these lessons here.
However, I would say that the primary purpose of each of these narratives that I have just described is not to teach us how to parent. That is not why God had the authors of the various books of the Bible put these narratives in scripture. So while we can learn some of these general broad lessons, each of the texts that I mention is descriptive. It's not prescriptive. And what I mean by that is each of those narratives is describing a certain time in Bible history and what God was doing in and through his people during that time. They're not prescriptive, giving us commands for things that we are to follow, like the books of the law where when God was giving His law to the nation of Israel, He was actually giving them commands that they were to follow.
In many of the epistles, we see commands that we, as Christians, are called to follow. Where the narratives I mentioned previously are different. They are descriptive. They are not prescriptive. And the primary purpose of each of these narratives is to reveal who God is and to further along His grand story of redemption.
So rather than looking for Bible stories from which we can glean lessons on parenting, I think a wiser and much more biblically sound approach is to look for biblical principles to guide our parenting. And what I mean by that is look for overarching themes and truths revealed in Scripture that can directly guide us as we are parenting our children.
And now I'm going to go through a list of principles that I think we can very clearly glean from Scripture and have direct implications on how we parent. This is not an exhaustive list, but I think it's at least a very basic one that we need to have a grasp on to have a biblical understanding of how to parent.
And so the first truth that I think we need to recognize is that God is sovereign. He is the creator and sustainer of our children, that without God creating them, our children would not exist. Without God sustaining them, they would not continue to exist. And so we are to recognize that our children ultimately belong to God and are part of the plan that God is in acting out this grand drama in all the universe that God is writing.
Another general principle that I think we need to make sure we have in place is that the Bible is God's word. That this is not just a book that was crafted by man, but it is the very word of God. And so therefore, we are to follow all of the commands that he has given us as new covenant believers. And we need to implement these commands in our homes. That God's commands are not optional. They are actually prescriptive commands that God expects us to follow, and that we as those who have been reconciled to God are to submit ourselves under the loving authority of God and His word, and that that's how we show our love for Jesus, our Savior, by obeying His commands.
Another principle that I think we need to understand is that humans are fallen image bearers. That means that each and every one of our children is an image bearer of the holy God. And so how we treat our children is actually how we are treating God because our children represent Him as image bearers. And we need to understand that we need to have that at the forefront of our mind as we are disciplining our children. That they are God's representatives here on earth and we need to treat them as such.
We also need to understand that they are image bearers and they're also fallen. And this means that our children will sin daily. We often wake up and just hope you know that everything's going to go smoothly. Never does everything go smoothly because we live in a fallen world and we're fallen people and every single person around us, including our children, is also fallen. So we need to recognize parenting is going to be a daily battle. It's going to be a daily spiritual battle, and it is going to be difficult. And so I'm not saying that so that we can have this woe is me attitude, but so that we can recognize when we wake up and we understand that something's going to be difficult, we're going to be a lot more prepared to face that difficulty than if it completely blindsides us. So we should be prepared every day.
Parenting's going to be difficult because our children are fallen just as we are. This means that we need to disciple them. We need to train them how to know and love and trust and obey Jesus. We want to make disciples, not of ourselves, but of Jesus. That used to always make me so sad in my classroom when I would see parents that had some certain love for something, whether it was reading or baseball or soccer or something musically, and they would just have it as this primary goal that their child had to love this thing. Those parents were trying to make disciples of themselves where we need to make sure that we are making disciples of Jesus. That our primary goal for our children is that they would come to know and love and trust and surrender their lives to Jesus, that they would be reconciled in their relationship to Him.
Another thing in understanding that humans are fallen image bearers, we need to make sure that we are modeling and practicing repentance and forgiveness daily because we're going to sin against one another. We are going to sin against our children because we are fallen. Our children are going to sin against us. And the only way to reconcile a relationship is through repentance and forgiveness. And this is clear. This is how we are reconciled in our relationship to God, that Jesus bore God's wrath on our behalf so that we can be forgiven. And when we repent and turn from our sins, we are reconciled to Him. So we need to make sure that we're modeling this daily for our children and it's part of our homes, repentance and forgiveness.
Another biblical principle that we need to make sure we have down is that salvation is through Jesus alone. That we can try our hardest to be good, but we can never live up to God's perfect standard. That salvation is through God's grace, through Jesus alone. And we need to continually point our children back to this, that when we're punishing them, we do need to punish them. We do need to discipline them. There needs to be consequences for their actions so that they learn to live rightly, but we need to constantly point them back to Jesus. That we're never going to do this perfectly on our own, but because of Jesus, God accepts us that when we sin against God. It doesn't in any way diminish our worth or our value because we are image bearers of the holy God, and Jesus has bought us with his precious blood. And so we need to make sure that we're modeling the gospel and reminding our of the gospel daily.
Another biblical principle we need to make sure that we understand is sanctification is a process. That this process of becoming conformed more into the image of God's Son is a process that we're not going to be perfect. We're not going to be sinless here on earth by God's grace. So hopefully every year we will sin less and less, but we will never be sinless. And so sanctification is a process so that we discipline our children, we're consistent with our expectations, but that they know that our love for them is not based on their performance because God's love for us is not based on our performance. God's love for us is based on His character and our love for our children is based on our character, not on anything that they do that could make them worth more or less because they cannot make themselves worth more or less. They need to understand that sanctification is a process.
Then one final biblical principle that I think is really important to keep in mind is that Jesus will return one day. Jesus will return one day. We have no idea if that's going to be 10 seconds from now, 10 years from now, 10 millennia from now. We have no idea when it is, but He will return. And our life here on this earth is but a breath. And we need to keep that in mind that this is the long game in parenting, that what we're going through today may be really, really difficult. What we've been going through all year may be really, really difficult, but in eternity this life is but a breath. And what is important is that we are making disciples of Jesus and that we are loving Jesus and enjoying Him and getting to know Him more and becoming more like Him each and every day. So those are just some basic biblical principles that I think are really powerful in guiding our parenting.
And so just when you look at, one of the examples that I gave before was of Isaac and Rebecca's favoritism, and we can see how destructive favoritism is. And so yeah, we can learn from that. "Okay? Don't play favorites." That's not the main purpose of that narrative, but we can learn that. But think how much more powerful it is to look at these biblical principles that God has revealed through the whole of scripture and understanding that our children are fallen image bearers. And so that means how much they are worth and that worth and dignity and value can never be taken away. But because their fallen parenting is going to be hard because we're fallen, we're going to sin against our children, and we're going to need to practice confession and repentance.
That's such a more powerful understanding of parenting than this little moral lesson of don't play favorites, which I would encourage you don't play favorites, but that goes back to the fact of humans being image bearers, that all of our children are of equal dignity, value, and worth because they bear the image of the Holy God.
Well, that's a wrap for this podcast. I hope that you found the content of this beneficial. And as we leave our time together, my prayer for you as always is that no matter the situation in which you and the children in your care find yourselves that you would trust that God is working all things together for your good by using those things to conform you more into the image of His son. I'll see you next time.
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