Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts…
There are some things which if we can give them place and power in our own lives, win lucre great influence in enabling us to carry through our work as parents to a blessed issue of success.
I. FAITHFULNESS. The meaning of this word is explained by the resolve of the Psalmist when he says: "I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way; I will walk within my house with a perfect heart." Always when we try to do good to others we are thrown back upon ourselves; we are reminded that high work must have fit instruments, and that our influence is likely to be as our character is. As the man is so will be his strength. This is peculiarly the case as between us and our children. They know us much better than others, are much nearer to us, see us more clearly. For our children's sakes we are bound to be the best we may. Nothing that we can say or do will have half the force of that invisible and almost irresistible power which comes right from our souls, and goes at once and straight into theirs. This power, issuing from the depths of our own being, is an involuntary thing on our part. We cannot make it this or that by an act of will. This sincerity on our part ought to take as one of its forms a firm, steady family rule — an exercise of wise parental authority. On the other hand, parents mar their own influence, hinder their prayers, and injure their children, although they are very far from meaning it, by over-indulgence. They never command — never rule calmly and firmly — all is softness, liberty, or even license. Such parents tell us in defence of their system: "It is not for us to command; our best influence is, as has been said, that of personal character; if that be not right, commands from us will be of little use." On the same principle it might be said that God does not need to command; that He only needs to reveal to His creatures what He is, and they will love and serve Him. He has revealed Himself to us. And yet this same God, this Father of mercies, commands, legislates, and duly brings penalty upon those who do not obey. Law and love, these make the whole revelation of God.
II. TENDERNESS. A mother's tenderness! It is one of the continual wonders of the world. It is really a greater thing than a father's constancy, a soldier's courage, or a patriot's love. Yet the world is full of it.
III. Such feelings will lead to PRAYER. In prayer for our children we are putting ourselves in the line of God's laws. "Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." It is not our nurture, it is His, and in prayer we cast it over on Him.
IV. We are thus naturally led to the last word — HOPEFULNESS. We ought to cherish a feeling of cheerful confidence in God as to the result of our endeavours for our children's good. Discouragement, and despondency even, will come to us soon enough, and. darkly enough, if we will permit them.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.