Joey & Carla Link
Have you ever seen a “Teen React” video? I (Joey) watched one of teens trying to turn on a 20 year-old computer trying to start up Windows 95. It was hard for me to believe Windows 95 is so old and what was so innovative for computers just a few years ago is now so archaic. Watching this video was intriguing to see how far technology has come in 20 years as well as to see how impatient the teens were waiting for it to load. They couldn’t even wait for the monitor to come on. What stunned me more was when the teens didn’t know what a floppy drive was or that they had to connect to the internet through a modem –something else most of the teens had no idea what it was.
As I watched and saw how little teens knew about computers that was such a big deal 20 years ago, I thought about how little kids and teens are growing up knowing the Old Testament stories or the lessons these stories can teach us on how to live for Christ today.
Paul said about the OT stories: “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did… These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us.” I Corinthians 10:6, 11
If the teachings in the Old Testament were written down as examples and warnings for us, how are you as a parent teaching your kids these stories?
When Carla and I were growing up, Christian parents took their kids to Sunday School and mid-week Bible Club every single week without fail. We learned the Bible stories and why we should either follow in their example (Noah, Joseph) or learn from their mistakes (King Saul). Today, many churches don’t have Sunday School anymore and all too often the children’s program is focused more on entertaining kids than teaching them Bible stories. Since it is not the church’s job to train your children in Godly living, but to assist families in this, when do you take the time to actually sit down and teach your kids and teens Bible stories so they can hear from you the examples of people who lived during Bible times and how the outcome of living their faith produced Godly character? Remembering these stories could keep your kids from setting their hearts on evil things.
For our family, we took a few minutes to read from the Old Testament before our kids went to school. It was a good time for me to read a chapter or a story from the Bible to set their hearts on God for the day and to remind them to stand firm like Joshua or David and not to give into the temptations of this world. None of us will ever forget the time I was reading in Genesis. Our son Michael was a teen. I read the story of Cain murdering his brother Abel because he was mad God would not accept his sacrifice of vegetables but did accept Abel’s sacrifice of lambs. I was planning to move into verse 6 of Genesis 4 that says,
“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you furious? And why do you look despondent? If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
Michael stopped all conversation when he said, “How did Cain know God wanted the sacrifice to be an animal?” While his mother was quickly reading the first 3 chapters of Genesis to see if God had said this, I told Michael that if God punished Cain for not bringing the right sacrifice, then it must be assumed He had told them what would be an appropriate sacrifice. Michael then said, “So what else in the Bible are we to “assume” God thinks we already know?” Needless to say, this started a conversation that lasted several days. It was a good question and I am glad our morning devotions gave him a place to voice it.
Reading from the Old Testament each morning taught our kids to be grateful for the food we provided them like God provided food for the Israelites in the wilderness. It taught them to be able to stand firm and watch God’s mighty hand as He parted the Red Sea and tore the Jericho wall down. It taught our kids that God’s way is always the best way!
We encourage you to teach your kids Godly faith, telling them the stories of the Biblical heroes listed in Hebrews 11 so they will have those examples to help them stay true as they follow Jesus Christ.