I remember talking to a man about his son. It was at a wedding. I asked him where his son was that night. He told me that his son stayed home. He wasn’t interested in coming with his family. The man admitted that he could not get his son to do what he wanted him to do. He said this with the tone of defeat. The incredible thing is, that his son was only 13 years old!This man was not a stranger to me. I had known him years ago when we lived in the same town. I remember his son as a happy child who loved his parents. Something had changed and I saw it in the resignation of his father.
Lift up your eyes, and behold them that come from the north: where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock? — Jeremiah 13:20 (KJV)
God brought judgment on Judah because they refused to hear God’s words. They were carried away captive by the godless people from the north. This is what Jeremiah’s lament is about. Where is thy beautiful flock?
When I think about the man and his son, I wonder, “Where is the beautiful son that I remember? What happened to that boy who’s smile could light up a room?” Our children are the flock that God has given us. This man’s son had been taken away. By what? I don’t know. This I do know. It doesn’t have to stay that way. God makes this promise to us.
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. — Malachi 4:5-6 (KJV)
These two verses close out the Old Testament. It is a prophecy of what God will do. It says that God will turn the heart of the father to his children. With this, he also turns the hearts of the children to their father. There is an order here that I want to explore that may not be obvious at first.
You can clearly see that the father’s heart is turned first. But what turns his heart? Is it what the prophet says? If so, what is the great message of the prophets? I would put forth that it is for man to turn back to God to and repent of his sins! That is the kind of man that God will do a great “heart work” in. That is the man that God will cause his children’s hearts to turn back to. A right heart toward God will produce a right heart toward your children. It is here that reconciliation and restoration can occur.
If you don’t do it, these verses have a different message. It says that God will smite the earth with a curse. I think that this curse, at least in part, is the disobedience and rebellion of your children.
I pray that you don’t have this in your home. It is extremely important that you watch the relationships you have with your children. Look for signs that things are not quite right. Reflect on your own life to see if your heart is after something other than God.
I found something interesting when studying the life of Jacob. There is a point in time when Jacob realizes that God had not forgotten him. He is speaking to his wives, Rachel and Leah about their father.
And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, And said unto them, I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. — Genesis 31:4-5 (KJV)
Notice how Jacob realizes that “the God of my father hath been with me.” I especially want to emphasize that it is the God of Jacob’s father. In his time of distress, Jacob remembers the God of his father. Isaac’s God was real to Jacob, because God was real to Isaac. Here is where your faith in God comes in. It is seen daily in your life and witnessed by your children. They will believe this more than anything you say. It is your actions toward God and toward your children that count.
Turn your heart toward God, who will turn you and your children’s hearts toward each other in love.
God Bless, Mike