I had the privelige of sharing with our church, The Donelson Fellowship last night, and spoke about the command of God given to His people in Deuteronomy 6. My preparations brought me past a passage that provided me with a great lesson on parenting. It can be so frustrating and stressful to parent your way through a child’s disobedient actions and then subsequent negotiations. This little insightful passage for we parents is found in Deuteronomy 3:23-27.
In a very compelling direct example for parents, we can learn how parent like God Almighty! That should get our kids attention, huh?
The back story of this passage is from Numbers 20:8-12. The children of Israel were known for grumbling and complaining often blaming Moses for bringing them out of Egypt. At this time, the Israelites were thirsty, very thirsty and like literal children, they reacted emotionally to a physical need that they should have know God would take care to meet for them. The people sang their too familiar tune of woe and despair to Moses who went to God to ask Him what he should do. God gave Moses very specific instructions about what to do. Moses was to gather everyone before a large rock and speak to the rock in the name of God and water would pour forth. Moses was muy frustrated (very frustrated) with the people and in anger cracked his big staff twice against the rock instead of speaking to it. This was in direct disobedience to God’s command. God still provided, but his punishment for Moses came immediately
Check out the text…
23 At that time I pleaded with the LORD : 24 “O Sovereign LORD, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do? 25 Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan—that fine hill country and Lebanon.”
26 But because of you the LORD was angry with me and would not listen to me. “That is enough,” the LORD said. “Do not speak to me anymore about this matter. 27 Go up to the top of Pisgah and look west and north and south and east. Look at the land with your own eyes, since you are not going to cross this Jordan.
Moses blew it big time, making the decision to allow his anger and frustration with the people he was leading and there was a price to pay. The price was that God would not allow him to enter the Promised Land.
This is a situation that we parents are placed all the time. Our kids are given specific directions about what they should or should not do, and often they will disobey us. How are we going to handle this? I think we should do what God did.
1. Provide clear directions for your kids. Make sure they understand the expectation you have for their behavior. God told Moses specifically to speak to the rock, not strike it.
2. Expect them to obey, but be prepared in the event that they do not. God responded to Moses immediately. His first response was to take care of the task that Moses should have taken care of the correct way. He still instantly provided water to the people, but He also immediately told Moses that He was displeased with his disobedience.
3. Keep your emotions in check. The last thing you need to do is explode to your children when they make a mistake. God didn’t rain down fire or instantly strike Moses down with any disease. He simply informed him that he had lost the privelige of leading the people into the Promised Land
4. Stick to your guns. In the Deuteronomy passage we see that Moses came back to God and pleaded with God to be able to cross over into the Promised Land, but God refused. “That is enough,” the LORD said. “Do not speak to me anymore about this matter.” God refused to relent on the punishment because He knows the failures that follow inconsistency and an unwillingness to make a punishment stick.
5. Express your love. God loved Moses and soon after this welcomed him into Heaven and His presence. When your kids blow it, handle the problem, hand out consequences and then love the fire out of them.
If we do these five things with our kids when they disobey, they will learn how to act correctly and obey. We’ll also be parenting the way God has shown us to parent in His word.
Hang in there, Moms and Dads!