TEXT: GENESIS 18: 18 – 19; PROVERBS 4: 1 – 4


If as parents we represent God, it becomes our obligation to live lives worthy of honour to Him. Ultimately, the responsibility for keeping the fifth commandment (in Ex 20: 12) falls on the child. However, by carrying out their responsibilities, the parents clearly lay the foundation for the child keeping the commandment (Prov. 22: 6; Deut. 6: 7 – 9).

Parental Joint Effort

Child’s upbringing is a joint effort of the father and the mother from biblical perspective (Malachi 2: 15). Both parents are required to contribute to giving the child guidance of which the child is called to follow (Proverbs 6: 20). Removing the father or the mother from the home, either bodily or whether emotionally or spiritually, is one of Satan’s greatest ploys to plunge society into confusion and collapse. When you think about the way it was at the beginning—that is what Jesus always did, in the beginning it was not so (Matt 19: 4 – 8). This is a crucial reason why God hates divorce –Malachi 2: 14 – 15.

Provoking the Children

Provoking the Children is not only done by the fathers today, it also applies to mothers as well. How do fathers provoke our children?

  • By being absent—physically, emotionally, and spiritually—any one, or combination of them. Children want their fathers around, and not only to be there and give them some time, but they want them to be involved, interested, encouraging, and helpful in what the child is doing. (Deut 6:7; 11:19)
  • By being little more than a spanking machine; an angry despot. If all we are is the disciplinarian, or the angry father, then we will breed anger into them. 3: 21; Psalm 103: 13
  • By criticizing more than encouraging –see I Samuel 20: 30 – 34. An atmosphere of constant criticism will deflate a child quicker than anything. Sure, children need instruction, and they need help to do things better, and to improve their skills, but there are ways to teach them without being harsh.
  • By publically humiliating them. Shaming them just breeds hurt and resentment. And, this can start pretty early. Especially when parents do not live exemplary life. Do not think that your kids are stupid. They are not. They are very smart.
  • By being stingy; by not giving them things occasionally; by withholding things from them; by taking their money. Withholding gifts, time, money, even conversation from your children, makes them feel worthless, and without value. But on the other hand, when you are generous with your children, it teaches them generosity. And it teaches them a giving spirit. We need to give good gifts to our children, just as James 1: 17 tells us that God does for us. It is almost impossible to imagine all of the good gifts that God gives us (Luke 11: 13).