Lord, grant our youth to take heed according to Your Word and keep their path straight! (Psa 119:9)
Text: Second Timothy 3:14-17
But as for you, continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
We do not doubt that God’s Spirit has created a new life in our children at Baptism. But all life must be nourished if it is to grow and not die. God’s Word is the nourishment for spiritual life for both young and old. Children do not have in themselves the understanding to feed their soul with the bread of the Word, therefore it is the parents’ duty to take care of that. Eunice did this with her son Timothy, so Paul can write to him: “I greatly desire to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also” (2Ti 1:4-5). A wonderful thing to say to a young man! From childhood he knew the Holy Scriptures which are able to make one wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
So it should be also with our children and youth. Yes, let this burn in our mind and soul! But, Christian fathers and mothers, ask the Lord to give you wisdom and grace to do this! Your own hearts must live in God’s Word, for only the heart finds a way to the heart. You must not torment your children by spouting Bible passages at them, but give them the spiritual, unfailing milk of the Word! You must not seek to create their image in your likeness, not measure them by your standards, and not overload them with teaching or admonition. The flesh must be restrained, and in this you shall help your children with Christian discipline, but the new life of love itself cannot be forced by a gluttony of spiritual nourishment. O how we wander off to the right and the left! Many neglect to teach their children God’s Word often: this is contrary to the Lord’s command. They relinquish it all to the school. Their home is a heathen place. Others speak God’s Word for their children both in opportune and inopportune times, thus creating aversion against the Word instead of love for it, and closing their hearts to God’s Spirit. I say again: Pray God sincerely for understanding to instruct them “so that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2Ti 3:17). For Jesus’ sake do not neglect it! God shall surely give you all the grace needed for it. Read James 1:5. (If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.)
Yes, Lord, grant parents the Spirit of wisdom and understanding and the strength of love, so our children may grow up in the teaching and discipline of Your Word as believing, holy, and blessed people. Amen.
When they can go and speak aright
And see what Jesus brings to light,
Their soul His Word now minding,
You lead them to the House of God,
So may the Spirit of our God
In them His home be finding.
Then in lush valley you shall see
They are a strong and healthy tree,
Arising, good fruit bearing,
So wondrously its fruit it gives;
In wisdom’s ways forever lives,
The crown of grace now wearing.
Brorson: O I forældre L 199:7-8 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: Kommt her zu mir (ELH 189); alternate hymn: Let children hear the mighty deeds ELH 180