Edition 12 – Israelites Greatest Failure is the Church’s Greatest Failure
THE ISRAELITES GREATEST FAILURE IS THE CHURCH’S GREATEST FAILURE!
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, the greatest failure of the people of God in the Old Testament was a fatherhood failure. This failure of Godly fathering taking place in the tents of Israel, led to all the downfalls of the nation itself, bringing about the greatest judgments of God upon them. It led to idolatry, which was so destructive, it led to all the immorality and compromises with the other Godless nations, all of which destroyed God’s people.
Read Psalm 78 in the New Living Translation.
Note: The word ancestors in most versions if translated fathers. That is the meaning of the word in this text.
One Godly, spiritually, emotionally engaged father in the home is more powerful and influential than all the megachurch pastors in America combined! Why you ask? How can you say that you ask? Because no one is more powerful or influential than the dad who lives out his faith at home, day in and day out, who honors God before his children, who teaches them the great stories of God found in the Bible and passes onto his own children the God stories of his own life, and the Bible truths he lives out and instills into their precious hearts and minds. Your pastor does not live with your kids and father them. Their coach does not live with your kids and father them. Your government does not live with your kids and father them. Your kid’s youth leader does not live with your kids and father them.
All the parted red seas of Moses in the desert could not mitigate nor undo the fathering failure going on day after day in the tents of the Israelites in the desert!! All the cool tattooed youth workers and the billions of dollars wasted every year on ineffective teen ministry that is failing to train and raise up disciples of Jesus Christ in Christian youth, can undo, nor mitigate, nor make up for the abject failure of Christian fathers in our homes today.
No nation, no program, no school, no government leader, or initiative, will ever make up for the failure of a father in his own fathering. Until we come to grasp this, to face this truth, and to step up and accept our God-given role and responsibility, we will continue to reap the consequences of our collective rebellion against God, which has been the loss of the hearts, minds, and souls of the vast majority of kids growing up in Evangelical, Christian families!!
Oh, my brothers, the price is terribly painful, the loss oh so great, and ever so costly that no success in your career or life will ever, ever make up for it.
I know some of you are thinking right now to yourself, “There Mark goes again. He exaggerates things, he is not being accurate.” I want to show you from Scripture some tremendous insights for you this day, for your future effectiveness as a father.
Here is the passage from Psalm 78 I want to pass onto you:
V.1 “Oh my people, listen to my teaching, open your ears to what I am saying. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past.”
V.4-8 “We will not hide these truths from our children, but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord. We will tell of His power and the mighty miracles He did. For He issued His decree to Jacob and gave His law to Israel. He commanded our fathers to teach them to their children so that the next generation might know them, even children not yet born–that they, in turn, might teach their children. So each generation can set its hope anew on God, remembering His glorious miracles and obeying His commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors –stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God!”
Do you see what this says, right before your very eyes?! The fathers did not, themselves, communicate to their own kids God’s tremendous miracles, found in the Bible, and the marvelous story of God. They did not communicate to their kids about God’s power, God’s love, God’s ways, God’s deeds, God’s Word, God’s faithfulness, and their own experience of walking with God. These fathers did not pass on God’s Word, God’s commands, God’s wisdom, God’s truths. These fathers did not live out a vibrant, meaningful faith, and relationship with God for their children to see. Therefore, and directly because of that, their kids failed to put their hope anew in God, and they became stubborn, unfaithful and refused to give their hearts to God!!
The great failure of the Israelites was a failure of the fathers to obey this command and directive from God, it was their failure to be the fathers God commanded them to be to their own kids.
Let me drive this home, even more, to illustrate to you that again, the greatest failure of the Israelites and the church today is a failure of Godly fathering.
In the book of Luke 1, we find this in verse 17. Jesus is talking about part of the primary mission of John the Baptist:
“He will turn the hearts of fathers to their children,
and he will change disobedient minds to
accept godly wisdom.”
Did you know this was also what was foretold in Malachi 4:5? “His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise, I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
What could be more clear than the fact that our nation is experiencing a great curse, a terrible reckoning because fathers have not turned their hearts and their heart’s attention to their own children! Fathers have abandoned their God-given role and responsibilities, and have not turned their hearts, their attention, and their focus away from the things of this world, away from material gain, and away from the indulgent seeking of pleasure and onto the spiritual development of their most precious treasure, their children! Did not Jesus say, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also?”
Do you see, will you see and embrace this truth, father? God wants you to turn your heart’s attention, your mindful attention, to deliberately passing on the authentic knowledge of God, who God is, God’s great miracle stories found in the Bible, and in fact, the stories of God’s answered prayers to you fathers, who have lived out real faith in the arena of life. God wants you fathers, to communicate with your mouths God’s truths to your children, to live it before them, to show them in your actions, attitudes, and behavior, a deep, passionate, enthusiastic love, and affection for Jesus Christ. This is the most important gift you could ever give to your children!
God is looking today for Joshua’s, who will stand and say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!!” Will you be that man? Will you boldly say it, live it, intentionally instill this into the precious hearts and minds of your children?
If you won’t, Dad, then no one else will. No one has the same power and influence you have on your children’s lives.
Fathers, as God is my witness, with genuine humility I tell you, this was the burning passion on my heart every single day of my life as a father, and it still burns red hot today, as I seek to pass these truths on to other young fathers.
Nothing in the world will make up for your failure as a father. No achievement in life will fill the broken emptiness and pain you feel, of a child who goes the way of the world, lives an immoral life, hates God, or is simply a luke-warm replica of their dad.
Dads, you may ask, where do I start?!
I will give you specific practical steps to take:
1. Turn from your own complacency, acknowledge to God you have been lukewarm and disobedient and now run after God with all you’ve got.
No turning back, you are all in. Strive and thrive.
2. Start practicing today an active, disciplined, prayer life.
Seek the Lord, get out on prayer walks every single day. Start with ten minutes and beg God for his help. Beg God for His wisdom, and beg God to work powerfully in the lives of your children’s hearts. Beg God for their salvation, yes, but much more than that, beg God that they would become obedient disciples of Jesus Christ. Pray that they would truly fall in love with God and allow Jesus Christ to be the Lord of their lives, for the rest of their days on earth.
3. READ YOUR BIBLE EVERY DAY DAD, THEN DO WHAT IS SAYS!
Treasure the Word of God. Men, today, read Psalm 119, read it, please. Ask God to make that Psalm and Psalm 63 an autobiographical Psalm of your very life.
4. Read cool Bible stories to them.
There are so many wonderful Bible tools. Comic book Bibles with cool photos, storybook Bibles that even a little 2-3 year old can understand. One of the very first things we did with our kids was as soon as they could read, I got them each a little Living Bible, a journal, and had them start by reading a chapter in Proverbs a day, that corresponded to the day of the month. They would then write one verse in their journal. Often we would bring our journals to the table for supper and take turns sharing what we wrote down that day.
5. Build a Biblical, Godly culture in your home.
A home where the Bible is honored loved, obeyed, enjoyed and applied. Here is one simple example: one of the first verses my wife taught our children was this, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiven each other, just as God in Christ has also forgiven you.” Kindness was the rule in our home. It really was. We expected the kids to be kind to each other because God was kind and loving to us. We expected the showing of compassion. We taught our children that mom and dad’s lives, and values, and rules for living, were built on the Bible’s truths. We loved the Bible. We loved truth, we loved Jesus, we loved Christianity. It is the greatest thing in the world, and our kids saw that in us, in our spirits, and in the aura and aroma of our lives.
6. Dads, let your kids hear you be thankful to God.
Let them hear you pray in front of them, thanking God for specific things He has given you, done for you, been to you. This impacts a child’s heart in real time, as they see and hear with their ears that dad credits God for his job, his house, his wife, his health, his finances, his food, his mind, his eyes, etc. They see and experience dad is returning verbal gratitude to the Giver and Creator of all things, to our wonderful heavenly Father, from whom all the gifts and blessings we have, were given. This humble gratitude seen by your children coming from you, reminds them over, and over, and over again, that you really believe in the God you pray to and that God gave you and them everything we have.
In closing, I want to ask you to please listen to this message. I believe it will touch you deeply. It relates directly to this article:
*Please note: Obviously a Godly mother’s role is essential in partnership with her husband in raising Godly children. I could not have done any of it without my precious wife, Kathy. However, fathers, like Joshua, are responsible before God to lead this endeavor and carry out Ps. 78. ALL the Godly mothers in the world will never make up for the failure of fathers to fulfill God’s mandate to them.