Protecting and Preparing the Next Generation.
Let’s look first into one mother’s journey in Exodus 2:1-11 and see a mother who went to great lengths to protect her son from death because she knew that he was special. The mother I’m referring to is Moses’s mom. In the face of the Pharaoh’s order to kill the Hebrew baby boys, she chose to risk her life and her family’s life to save her son.
- Why are we called to protect the next generation?
In Exodus 2:1-2 it reads, “About this time, a man and woman from the tribe of Levi got married. The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for. Three months.”
Here we see two reasons why we are called to protect the children in the next generation.
- They are special. We need to understand that the next generation is special and deserves to be protected.
- They have a Divine purpose. Moses’ mother knew that he had a future of greatness ahead of him. The next generation needs to be protected because God has a plan for them that is life-changing for others!
When we look at the next generation, we need to understand that God has a Divine plan for them, and it is worth protecting. If you are a young person, do not look at your parent’s protection as something that is keeping you from fun or being cool, but look at it as them guarding the Divine potential that God has for you.
Another question we must address is…
- What are we protecting the next generation from?
In Exodus 1:22 it reads,Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: ‘Throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River. But you may let the girls live.”
We are protecting our children from a real enemy: The Egyptians were living in fear because they were afraid if the Hebrews got over populated then there would be an uprising and they would lose their Egyptian control. So, the Pharaoh was trying to control the Hebrew population by murdering their male children. The enemy is still working this way! Satan tries to destroy the future of the Kingdom of God by stealing and spiritually assassinating our young people!
The final question that we must ask ourselves is…
- How do we protect the next generation?
In Exodus 2:2-3 reads, “She saw that he was special and kept him hidden for three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River.”
There are three ways that we can protect the next generation which are…
- Entrusting the next generation to God.
- Praying for the next generation. I am sure that Moses’ mother prayed for her son and his safety, but if you look at the basket or the ark that she placed him in you see that it kept him safe from outside physical elements. Prayer is much like this basket or ark the Moses was placed in. Prayer covers you and protects you from the things of this world. It protected him from the enemy. As parents the greatest thing that we can do for our children is to pray for them and pray with them.
- Instill wisdom in the next generation. In Exodus 2:11 it states, “Many years later, when Moses had grown up, he went to visit his own people, the Hebrews.” Moses, through the influence of his mother, knew who he was. He knew that although he was raised in the palace by the Pharaoh’s daughter, he was truly a Hebrew. We need to teach our who they are in Christ by teaching them how to view the world and life decision through the lens of Christ and what He says about them.
2 Timothy 1:5 5 I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
2 Timothy 3:14-15 (NIV) 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
In II Timothy, Paul is writing young Timothy, a guy who had become a spiritual son to Paul, to encourage him to stay faithful to walk in the way he had learned as a child and to live boldly for God. Paul recalled the names two women who taught him and shaped him to prepare him to become a powerhouse for the Kingdom of God. They were his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois.
Moms and Dads, we are our children’s first teachers. Grandparents, you are extremely important when it comes to the training of children. You know the saying, “It takes a village,” and it really does. Not only were Eunice and Lois instrumental in teaching young Timothy, but so was Paul. Men, don’t underestimate the role you could play in someone’s life as you mentor or act as a father figure in the lives of young people around you. As we consider what it means to prepare the next generation, I would say that first and foremost we need to Teach children to rely on God.
It is clear from Paul’s words that the faith Timothy possessed was in part the result of learning what the Scriptures say. “Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.” Romans 10:17 Moms, grandparents, and mentors, it is imperative that we make sure our children are frequently engaging with the Word of God, and it needs to happen when they are young. Bring your kids to Sunday School. Get them here for the midweek services on Wednesday. Make Sunday morning worship an absolute priority and not something you just fit in if there is nothing else to do. We have to be intentional in instilling the Word in our kids.
Here are some other things you need to teach if you are going to prepare the next generation to live well.
Teach conflict-resolving skills.
Here is what I would stress with your kids: Peace is important to God. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace. One of the things He emphasized in the Sermon on the Mount was this: “Blessed are the Peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9) If you want your kids to have a life of blessing, they need to learn how to pursue peace. Help your kids understand that in ever conflict, no matter how big or how small, the goal is peace.
Teach about the value of service and mission.
If your kids ever ask you what God looks like, tell them He looks like a servant. Jesus came to serve and not to be served. (Mark 10:45) Kids, by nature, are self-centered. We all are. We have to be taught to value serving others. Teach them to serve by helping them learn to serve in the family.
Teach how to save, spend and share.
Many people deal with the suffocation and burden of debt because they haven’t learned how to live within their means. Kids need to be taught to save ten percent of what they make, tithe ten percent of what they make, and live on the remaining 80%.
Teach about motivation and initiative by helping them set goals.
When you help your kids set goals, you help them understand they have a purpose. We aren’t on this planet just to be takers or just to be along for the ride. We are here for a reason. Ask your kids what personal goal they could set and what spiritual goal they could set each month and then help them evaluate at the end of the month how well they worked to achieve that goal.
Teach recovery skills and how to accept personal responsibility when they experience failure.
God’s grace is sufficient for us whenever we need a do-over. (II Corinthians 12:9)
One thing that might be missing in the character of many people today is the willingness to accept personal responsibility for their failures. When Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him, I think Jesus was asking Peter to think through what he had done, to think about how he had failed Him not once, not twice, but three times. In order to move on, we need to own where we have been.
Teach them how to get out of tempting or dangerous situations.
“Lord Jesus, help me” has to be a prayer that is right on the lips of our kids’ mouths. Talk to your kids ahead of peer pressure situations. Help them develop an exit strategy for the moments when they need to find a way out of something or a way home from something.
Parents and grandparents, each of these lessons build a Christ-like character and can help you equip the next generation for the Kingdom of God. Parenting your children is the most important thing you will ever do. Let’s protect and prepare them so that God can use them in the way He has planned.