Reading through the Old Testament book of Judges recently, a sentence jumped off the page and jabbed at my heart: After them another generation rose up who did not know the Lord or the works He had done for Israel (Judges 2:10 HCSB).
Really?! How could this happen to people whose parents and grandparents had “worshiped the Lord throughout Joshua’s lifetime and during the lifetimes of the elders who outlived Joshua,” and who had seen all that the Lord had done for them (Judges 2:7)? And what were the consequences?
The answer to that last question comes clearly and dearly in the next four paragraphs of Judges 2: They abandoned the Lord. They embraced idols. Their loving but justifiably angry God disciplined them through defeat by neighboring nations. Their hearts turned toward Him only when they were under duress. Whenever He intervened and relieved their stress, their hearts returned to their rebellious ways.
The answer to the first question, apparently, is that very little intergenerational disciple-making happened within those families — or it was very poorly done.
I thought about our grandchildren. Will they grow up not knowing the Lord or the works He has done for us, his chosen people (1 Peter 2:9)?
“Not on our watch,” my wife and I declared. Although their parents are a primary influence on our grandchildren, we as grandparents are a strong secondary influence on them in such matters.
This blog series outlines key steps that we, and other kindred spirits, are taking to become even more intentional about our spiritual legacy — our impact — as grandparents. We’ll focus on clear understandings, firm convictions, strategic tools in our grandparenting treasure chest, and fruitful outcomes. Let’s begin . . .
Our commitment to intentional grandparenting is founded on certain rock-solid realities. Our convictions drive our values, and our values drive our attitudes and behaviors. That so, here is one basic conviction (of several) that wise grandparents embrace:
It’s true: God has no grandchildren.
In Judges and throughout the Bible, we see that a person’s relationship with God is not “grandfathered” through someone else’s relationship. We may have a relationship with God that is similar to that of an ancestor or mentor—but our relationship with Him comes directly and only through God the Son.
“So what?” you may ask. One implication of this for grandparents is that we need to recognize that relationship as spiritual priority #1 for each grandchild. We need to pray for their saving and growing relationship with God. Then we need to enable or support it appropriately.
Questions for discussion or journaling:
- In my situation, what are one or two appropriate ways to enable or support their relationship with God?
- In my situation, what are one or two inappropriate or risky ways to enable or support their relationship with God?
O Father in heaven, please bring each of my grandchildren into a saving and growing relationship with You. Help me to enable that and to encourage them in appropriate ways that You ordain. In Jesus’s name and for Your glory in and through them, amen.
© 2019 John Garmo