As it should be, one of my primary sources of advice is the Bible. So many lessons about how to treat people, how to react to adversity, and how to experience God. Most of these lessons can be translated to parenthood as we try to make these stories and principals relatable to children. But it is rare to find an example of quality parenting that can be put straight into practice. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon one of those passages earlier this week.
Speaking to his son, Solomon, David was giving instructions for building the temple. He gave a list of building specifics, went over blueprints, and let Solomon know that this was all straight from God.
Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (1 Chronicles 28:20a NLT)
I have always been inspired by the way the Old Testament refers to God as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. They talk about the God of their fathers. That makes God personal and less like a distant deity. And I think David does a great job making God a reality to Solomon. He says that God is the Lord, but he is also my God. That’s real.
Speaking from his personal relationship with God, David talks with authority about who God is. He will not fail you or forsake you. There is no reason for Solomon to be afraid or even nervous. David is so convincing about who God is that his other advice about constructing the temple, and life in general, is flawless. Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged.
If I can convince my children that my God is who I believe that He is, the rest of my advice should take care of itself. However, like David, words alone will not be enough to convince anyone that my God is real. I must have faith as he did when facing Goliath. I must trust God as he did when preparing for kingship while surviving Saul’s reign. I must work hard as he did to expand and secure his kingdom. And I must obey God as David did by waiting to pass the temple project over to his son.
I may not have a temple for my children to build, but I have a God that I can’t wait for them to meet. In the last piece of advice he gave to his own son, David gives instructions for how I can show them how great my God is:
“I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go…” (1 Kings 2:2-3 NIV)