Parenting

Loving Your Children — Pt.1

    “…the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things — that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Titus 2.3-5 NKJV


Loving children. That seems natural enough, doesn’t it? Then why does Paul seem to think women need to be admonished or trained (as the NIV puts it) to do so? Perhaps it’s not as automatic as we would like to think. Perhaps it requires choosing — purposeful choosing. And maybe, just maybe, there is a measure of self-control involved. Possibly even self-sacrifice. Let’s begin our exploration where I started so many years ago as I endeavored to learn what Paul meant in his Titus 2 mandate. Let’s look at my favorite Bible woman, Jochobed.

    And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank. And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him.

    Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river. And her maidens walked along the riverside; and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maid to get it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby wept. So she had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?” And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the maiden went and called the child’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.” Exodus 2.1-10 NKJV

Amram (the Levite in our story) married Jochobed (the Levite woman) in the midst of a wayward generation, surrounded by unfaithful people who had ceased to fear the Lord. (Joshua 24.14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.”) On top of that, they suffered slavery, bondage to a cruel Pharaoh. When I comprehended Jochobed’s situation, I discovered I related to her. I, too, lived in the midst of a wayward generation who no longer loved and feared God but were enslaved to Satan, the cruelest of masters. We were in the same boat — living in these circumstances as wife and mother. I liked her already.

I knew the outcome of her life: in spite of such incredible adversity she and Amram raised up three children who walked in faith and functioned in leadership as prophet, priest, and prophetess. Now she had my attention. I figured I just might learn a thing or two from this woman. What a woman she proved to be.

How did she do this? What was her part? What would be my correlating part?

Psalm 144.11-12 became my starting point. What does a righteous mother do in the midst of an unGodly nation and culture? She begins by crying out to God.

    Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, Whose mouth speaks lying words, And whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood–
    That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as pillars, Sculptured in palace style…

“Oh, that we would be freed from the deception all around, rightly discerning the enemy’s lies! Oh, that our children would be different from the rest!” This is a righteous mother’s cry. She desires sons who are mature beyond their years and able to produce; daughters who are strong and beautiful, ready to bear much weight. She understood that it began with her discernment — rescue me, deliver me. First she had to gain understanding of truth, discarding the falsehoods all around her.

In our original text we see that she understood some fundamental truths about God and His creation. “And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months.” Why does the scripture point out that she saw that he was a beautiful child? Doesn’t every mother think that? Do you believe a mother who says to you, “Oh, my Johnny is incredible!” Or do you assume that he may be no more special than your Johnny?

Of course she saw that he was beautiful! What’s the big deal?

    1. Jochobed came to this conclusion apart from outward signs. There was no angelic visitation accompanying this birth, no prophet bringing a special word, no Hollywood music score swelling dramatically. Just a baby.
    2. She saw what every mother can see if they look with eyes of faith.
    3. Perhaps every mother sees the beauty, but if that is so, why wasn’t the river full of other “baby boats”? Did they truly see and know that their baby boy was beautiful? In whose eyes was this beauty beheld — only theirs, or God’s as well?
    4. According to the scriptures, we are all beautiful, made in His image, unique and precious. Every one of us. (Psalm 139)

UnGodly cultures don’t comprehend such truth; deception and lies abound. But Jochobed had prayed for Godly wisdom. She had sought eyes to see truth, deliverance from wicked falsehoods. She was granted her petition. She understood that this child was beautiful, not only to her, but to God Himself.

That is the beginning of true love for children — understanding His great love for them. He personally creates them, carefully forming them in the womb. Every day is planned. They are full of purpose and destiny that only He knows. And He loves them, passionately.

    Jesus loves the little children,
    All the children of the world;
    Red and yellow, black and white,
    They are precious in His sight.
    Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Today I challenge you to look at your children, at your neighbor’s children, at the children in your church, and see what He sees. They are beautiful. He intends good things for every one of them. But until we are convinced of that — absolutely positively persuaded — we will not see anything worth sacrificing for.

Next time we will see what kind of sacrifice such beauty demands.

Discussion

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  1. beautiful.

    Posted by Louissa | September 5, 2008, 7:43 am
  2. wow. thank you for such beautiful, encouraging words.

    Posted by Gina Murawski | September 6, 2008, 5:40 pm
  3. I was just reading psalm 144…..and our daughters may be as pillars. You spoke that at an advance I was at.The other day I was saying to myself how does she get stuff out of that line.This was timely for me,helpful and encouraging!

    Posted by Marianne Hardy | September 7, 2008, 4:15 am