“Thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter”? (Ezek 16:20,36).
Molek was an Ammonite deity to which children were sacrificed by being placed on its red hot extended metallic arms, their cries being drowned out by the beating of drums. It was a deplorable, gross form of idolatry, proscribed by the Law (Lev 18:21; 20:1–5), and yet tragically introduced into the worship of God’s people by Solomon (1 Kings 11:5,7). Ahaz burned his children there (2 Chron 28:3), and Manasseh made at least one of his sons pass through the fire (2 Kings 21:6).
Our children are not our own: they are the “heritage of Yahweh” (Psa 127:3), a sacred trust given to us by Him to be instructed in His way. Notice what is said about our children in the above quotation, “whom thou hast borne unto me”. Bringing them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord (Eph 6:4) is not an option but a commandment. How can this be done in this evil and adulterous generation?
We know that we live in the perilous last days, days likened to those of Noah when the world was filled with corruption and violence, days also likened by the Lord to the days of Lot, who with two daughters alone escaped the fire and brimstone of divine wrath. So we have been forewarned. We cannot protest ignorance. Not one of us would deny the gross moral degradation in every aspect of society and the threat that it poses to the ecclesias of the last days. But our children are the ones that are particularly vulnerable, and we need to be realistic and wake up to the unprecedented challenges they face before it is too late.
The onslaught upon our children
We live in a world that knows not God and therefore the moral foundations are “out of course”. In this secular world there are attempts being made to have Creation and “intelligent design” scrapped from the curriculum even of independent Christian schools! Without the Bible as the basis of morality, the morality of society is founded on humanism: whatever the human mind deems to be right. This is the prevailing environment in which our children are growing up, unless privileged to be able to attend a ‘Heritage College’. But even this does not insulate them from the subtle challenges of this hi-tech invasive era.
Our children are being brought up in a world when girls (and boys) are losing their virginity at a very young age. Access to various forms of ‘birth control’ have only served to accelerate the moral decline. Our children are losing their innocence, and know more at an early age than their parents, and face the temptation to indulge and experiment in sexual matters like their contemporaries. They, like all flesh, are naturally curious and drawn to this way of life unless they have sound moral foundations firmly laid in early youth. It is crucial for parents to know how their children are thinking, what kind of friends they have, where they go and what they listen to. A child’s mind could be a million miles away from what you may imagine if time and love are not invested in them.
Exacerbating the decline in morals and intensifying challenges facing the young are the whizz-bang high-tech items freely available, such as cell phones, computers, Facebook, internet, i-pods and i-pads. These have astounding capabilities but are fraught with dangers unless carefully monitored. The problem is that parents cannot be looking over their children’s shoulders all the time to see ‘where they are at’. There has to be trust, a faith, a knowledge of right and wrong inculcated in early years which will help to keep them from evil.
Today ‘social networking’ is taking place amongst our young as it never has before. Arrangements are made without parents being consulted, often to go to places they would not approve of. Cell phones coupled with the mobility of cars and peer pressure can easily bring about moral collapse. When young people start on the downward path of having relationships, they are in the hands of a power they in all likelihood will not be able to cope with or resist. What this effectivelymeans is that they are lost, for how can they progress towards baptism if they are doing such things? Often some are aware of what their peers are doing but will not be ‘whistle-blowers’ for fear of being ostracized by them. So the problems are not dealt with as they should be. This sorry state is reflected in young people losing interest in the Truth, infrequent or nonattendance, drifting away from the ecclesia, and as a result not growing in knowledge and being baptised. The percentage of our children putting on Christ is on the decline. It is a serious problem, and inasmuch as we have not recognised it, we are to blame. How is this different from offering children to Molek? And we all must bear a measure of responsibility for all our children are God’s and we are all part of His family. We are all mothers and fathers, aunties and uncles, grandpas and grandmas, and have a role to play.
This is not a subject that gives me any pleasure to write about. It is only because of the reality of what we face and clearly see that a warning, a wake-up call is being sounded. We do not want to lose any more of our Father’s precious heritage.
What we can do
There are steps we can take that will minimise the loss. This is not a comprehensive list but some of the tried and proven – and biblical – things as parents we can do.
When children are growing they are very impressionable and that is when spiritual education must start. Later on their minds will be cluttered, even polluted by worldly influences, so it is important to make use of the narrow window of opportunity that exists. We should be more concerned about their spiritual education than their secular: the most valuable possession we can give them is a sound upbringing in the Truth, teaching them to love God, His beloved Son and his teachings. We can point to the manifold wonders of creation to impress them with God’s sovereignty and power.
They will need instruction, loving care and discipline to grow and mature in spiritual things. Eating together, praying and Bible-reading together following the evening meal, or when suitable, should be a routine. Children are great mimics; what they see us do they will do; the values, the priorities we espouse and place importance upon, they will too. If the Truth is not the governing priority in our life, then it will probably not be in our children’s either. There is power in a faithful example. What we talk about, where we go, the kind of people we mix with, will all be observed by our children. They will be quick to observe hypocrisy, where our profession does not match our practice. We must be consistent, true and always there for them.
It is important that our children feel our love and care. In all the discipline that might be called for the over-riding love of parents must be in evidence. And our loving care is manifest if we spend time with them, reading with them, playing with them, having holidays and doing family activities with them – and always in the context of ecclesial arrangements that might be taking place.
Our love for God and His ‘called-out ones’ should be visible to our children. We should never expose our children to ecclesial strife or denigrate brethren in their presence, or indeed at any time.
It is important also to ‘pitch our tent near the Tabernacle’, to live as close as possible to the place of meeting to facilitate our children’s attendance at ecclesial activities. Where this is not possible, and home is some distance away, we must make it our business to ensure they make friends in the meeting, and take part in youth activities. These are crucial years.
The Apostle Paul said, “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom 12:2). The world is putting intense pressure on the household of faith in these closing days of the Gentiles. We need to be alert to the dangers which we face and particularly the children God has entrusted to our care. If we do not want to lose them, to see them destroyed by the modern Molek, we will take the steps which will forestall this from happening. Time, interest and sacrifice will be called for. Remember the Lord said, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
With the current rate of decline, with the encroachment of worldly ways threatening our brotherhood and ecclesias, particularly in the decadent, affluent, Western world, these words may well prove true.
Let us gird up our minds; let us be like men who wait anxiously for their Lord’s return; and like Joshua let us say, “but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”