Psalm 34:11 Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
This verse makes me think about a responsibility that I have. Remember David is writing here. We don’t know if he is speaking to what we could call children or if he is talking to children of God or to his own sons. Scripture is not clear on this. However, we do know that he is encouraging and calling them to come. He is telling them to listen. The word for listen actually means to listen and to obey. I know a lot of people that hear things, but the don’t always obey what they hear. I know this because I raised a son. I know he heard me but he sure didn’t always do what I told him to do. As Christians we are to not only hear the word of God we are to do what it tells us to do.
I told you this verse makes me think of a responsibility I have. As a parent, as a pastor, as a teacher, I have a huge responsibility. That responsibility is to teach children. I am to teach my sons and daughter. I am called to teach the children in my church as well as the children that step into my math class. Don’t think it is just my responsibility. If you are a Christian you two should be teaching those who come after you. You should be leaving a legacy that out lives you. You should be a link in the generation chain that grows with every generation that follows after Christ. You are called to teach your children and the children you come into contact with.
So what is it that we are to teach them? David tells us, “I will teach you to fear the Lord.” David isn’t pulling them aside and telling them about this big scary monster that they need to be afraid of. Growing up he was called the boogie man in our house. One of my uncles always talked about the boogie man coming to get us. Waiting under our bed. I think it was the fact that I knew my dad was a huge joker that clued me into knowing his brother was doing the same thing to try to scare us.
When you look at the original word used here it can have multiple meanings. Two of the meanings stand out to me. One of the is fear, dread, terror. Wow you read that and think, nothing like really freaking some kids out! However, I think it is important that we are honest with kids. It is important that we tell them what the Bible says. As we talking about in the last lesson there are those who will reject the Lord. They do not believe what He says or what He has done. They do not fear Him or what the Bibles says will happen if they reject Him. I am sorry to say but there will be many people that spend eternity in Hell because they did not fear the Lord. Don’t let kids be confused. Don’t let them think if they are good, or nice, or go to church that they will be ok. Kids need to be taught the truth. Kids need to know they have a choice and what those choices lead to.
Some people think we are wrong to “scare the hell” out of kids. I still remember being at church camp and Pastor Powell standing at the front of the auditorium with hideous blue and red carpet. He said to close our eyes. He told us to imagine holding our hand over a flame on a stove for just a second, then imagine holding it there for five seconds. then 30, then a minute. Finally he said imagine turning the oven up as high as it would go and climbing inside of it. Let me tell you that day if I wasn’t already assured of my salvation he would have scared me out of hell and I know he did some others. The main thing is we can’t stop there. We have to talk about God’s love for them. We have to talk about hope, peace, joy and God’s plan for them.
We have to teach them who God truly is and what God has done. We have to teach them to be in awe of God and have respect and reverence for Him. As we have talked about, that is what fear can also mean, reverence. We have to teach our children this. We have to show the younger generations what it means to fear the Lord. We have to teach them how our of respect for Him we follow his plan for our life. Out of respect we live an obedient life. Can you read that verse and mean what it says? “I will teach you!” Will you? Will you teach those who don’t know Him about Him? Will you help the children of God grow more mature in their faith and in following Him? It is how we pass on our legacy. It is how we give others a new hope.
Things to Think About
1.) When you were a child did anyone speak to you about Jesus? Who? What kind of impact did it have on you?
2.) Who are the children God is calling you to teach? How are you teaching them about Christ?
3.) Growing up did you ever hear someone preaching about hell? What did you feel? What are your thoughts on that approach? Why?