At a recent Annual Parent Meeting, Trinitas father and board member, Pastor Jon Mark Olesky, reminded us of the timely importance of Christian parents educating their children to engage their world. This is the second of three posts containing his comments.
The context of preparation for Babylonian exile is significant. Providentially, these four youths entered Babylon in (605B.C), having been exiled out of Judah, after the Reforms of King Josiah, which he led until his death in (609 B.C). These young men were not trained under the long list of Apostate Kings of Israel “who did what was evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 8–17); but under King Josiah, who arguably surpassed David in Kingly righteousness since he had no public scandal (2 Samuel 11), and “before him, there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart…according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him” (2 Kings 23:25).
Only time would reveal the massive impact Josiah and his reforms would have on the lives of these four Jewish exiles directly, and indirectly by way of their parents who were with them. They were raised going up “to the house of the Lord… with all the people, both small and great” to hear King Josiah “read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant” (2 Kings 23:2).
As young boys, they would have watched the 26-year-old King make “a covenant before the Lord” to obey God’s Word, and have “all the people joined in the covenant” (2 Kings 23:3). There was no dead orthodoxy in their view of religion, only theological seriousness. What was read from scripture was immediately obeyed (2 Chron 34:30-33). Especially notable was King Josiah’s zeal to remove idolatry and syncretism in Israel, (2 Kings 23), no doubt influencing those bold words, later spoken by these youths to the King “…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Dan 3:16-18). What believing parent wouldn’t claim parental success if their young adult displayed such steadfast and unyielding faith? Without doubt, their faithfulness to Yahweh is evidence of God’s grace working through their covenant community before entering Babylon.
Preparedness to enter Babylon never happens accidentally, Scripture commands explicitly, “you shall teach them diligently” (Deut 6:7), and “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4). While parents must “discipline” (Prov 13:24), and play defense, there’s also a strong offensive approach. The psalmist calls covenant children, “arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth” (Ps 127:3-4), and wise parents sharpen arrows to be shot out into a hostile culture. Man-centered parenting philosophies never strategize like this, only Biblical parenting is tactical by design. Christian parents are either preparing children for war in Babylon or surrender to it. However, “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor 10:3-5). The war our children must learn to fight is a war for truth. These four young Hebrews entered Babylon “skillful in all wisdom and endowed with knowledge, understanding learning” (Dan 1:4). (to be continued...)
Read Part I here.