Sunday, July 5, 2009

Baby Shower Devotion 3 - Moses and Parenting

Other Outlines
Baby Shower Devotion 1: Warning Against Idolatry
Baby Shower Devotion 2: Psalm 23

How to Respond When Your Child Sins Against You:
A Lesson From the Forty-Year Wilderness Wandering

I. Introduction

Quote from Jay Younts in Everyday Talk:
“Moses was charged with leading Israel out of slavery in Egypt to freedom in Canaan. God handed Moses an infant nation that was virtually born as it passed through the waters of the Red Sea. Israel could not feed herself, she could not defend herself, she did not know how to what was right. The job of raising Israel to maturity fell to Moses.”

The relationship between Moses and the Israelites is a useful study for parents. Let’s look at some ways in which the Israelites were like our own little ones.

II. God’s Top Two for Children - Obedience and Honor (Ephesians 6:1-2)

The Israelites promised to obey - “Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.’” Exodus 24:7

A. Disobedience

1. The Manna Hording Incident
“And Moses said to them, ‘Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.’ But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them.” Exodus 16:19-20

2. The “I Told You Not To Go There” Incident
“Then you answered me, ‘We have sinned against the LORD. We ourselves will go up and fight, just as the LORD our God commanded us.’ And every one of you fastened on his weapons of war and thought it easy to go up into the hill country. And the LORD said to me, ‘Say to them, Do not go up or fight, for I am not in your midst, lest you be defeated before your enemies.’ So I spoke to you, and you would not listen; but you rebelled against the command of the LORD and presumptuously went up into the hill country. Then the Amorites who lived in that hill country came out against you and chased you as bees do and beat you down in Seir as far as Hormah. And you returned and wept before the LORD, but the LORD did not listen to your voice or give ear to you.” Deuteronomy 1:41-45

B. Disrespect (via Complaining)

1. Pick A Chapter, Any Chapter
Exodus 15:24, 16:2-3, 17:2-3; Numbers 11:1, 20:2-5

2. The Carnivorous Incident
“Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, ‘Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” Numbers 11:4-6

3. The Worthless Food Incident
“…the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.’” Numbers 21:4-5

(Do these examples sound familiar? You might want to remind your children that these incidents of complaint and ingratitude were rewarded by plague and fiery serpents!)

C. The scriptures record that Israel was also guilty of self-centeredness and self-pity. Lack of self-control was displayed by frequent weeping and angry outbursts towards Moses. Exodus 18 records Moses’ everyday duties - giving advice and settling disputes from morning until night (sound familiar?). There is one major difference in Moses and you, though….Moses did this for forty years!

III. Our Primary Concern Drives Our Reaction

A. Moses’ Good Reaction to the Golden Calf Incident
“But Moses implored the LORD his God and said, ‘O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’ And the LORD relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.” Exodus 32:11-14

“So I lay prostrate before the LORD for these forty days and forty nights, because the LORD had said he would destroy you.” Deuteronomy 9:25

(See also a similar reaction to the We Won’t Go Incident in Numbers 14:13-19)

B. Moses’ Excellent Reaction to the “Enter the Land, But I’m Not Coming” Incident
“‘Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.’ And he said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ And he said to him, ‘If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?’ And the LORD said to Moses, ‘This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.’ Moses said, ‘Please show me your glory.’” Exodus 33:13-18

IV. Closing Remarks

Moses’ desire was for the honor, reputation, and glory of God. He was not concerned for himself. Of course, we know that Moses was a sinful person, as we all are. He did not always respond in a way that pleased God. You can read about Moses’ sinful reactions in the Just Kill Me Now Incident (Numbers 11:11-15) and the We’re Thirsty Again Incident (Numbers 20:6-12). That final one cost Moses the moment he had looked forward to for so long - crossing into the Promised Land.

If we truly believe that our children are sinners from birth, it should not surprise us when they sin. Rather, we should expect and plan for those difficult times. This will allow us to focus on God’s glory and our child’s need of a Savior rather than on our own hurt, embarrassment, and inconvenience. We must realize that the root of all sin is directed towards God. “Your grumbling is not against us but against the LORD.” Exodus 16:8

Finally, let these promises encourage you.

God Himself will comfort you:
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.” 1 Thessalonians 2:16-17

He will be with you:
“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

And He will equip you:
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence…” 2 Peter 1:3

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