Last month we wrote the first of two articles in which we focused on Eli and Samuel as being examples of godly men whose sons did not follow in the footsteps of their father. This month we conclude by looking at our third example of men who were faithful servants of God themselves, but their children made a different choice. Many faithful Christians have the same experience when their children do not embrace the training they have received from their parents. On Judgment Day they will stand before God and give an account of themselves, to be sure; however, wise parents seek to learn from the mistakes others have made and seek to do a better job. That is the purpose of these last two articles. We conclude by looking at King David.
David was a gifted and colorful king and poet. He was a brave soldier and a respected statesman. However, he was guilty of adultery and murder (2 Sam. 11). Family misery followed David's terrible mistake. One of his sons, Absalom, even plotted a revolution against him (2 Sam. 15). David repented of his wrongs and received God's forgiveness (2 Sam. 12:13), but his momentary weakness had a lasting effect upon his life and that of his children (2 Sam. 12:10-12). Parental example, good or bad, has a powerful influence upon children. Do you teach your children about the dangers of smoking and, yet, you smoke? Do you talk of the value of Bible study and, yet, you spend more time with the comics and sports page of the newspaper than you do reading God's word? Do you teach the importance of honesty and integrity and, yet, cheat on your income tax? Do you convey proper instruction concerning purity and morality and, yet, salacious literature can be found in your house? Do you teach the value of religion and, yet, you have never committed your life to the Lord? Children can "see right through" hypocrisy.
These are just some of the examples of godly men who had ungodly children. All of us, as parents, make mistakes and we have regrets that we wish we could go back and do all over again. We would probably do a better job. Let us realize, however, that even the best and godliest of people are sometimes disappointed by their children. Of all the responsibilities people are called upon to undertake in life, it is hard to imagine a more perplexing or demanding role than that of being a good parent. Parents contribute immensely to a child's intellectual, social, and religious growth. Pray fervently for the wisdom to be a good parent.