Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
I love summer break from school. Not because of the fun things to do and neat places to go, but it’s the most time I get to spend with my children. There are 18 short years of summer breaks that my husband and I get to make an impression on our children, and the reality is that this window of time is even smaller. They are 9 and 7, and already they ask daily whether a friend can come over. Getting out of the crazy school schedule is hard at the beginning, but they recognize the relaxed routine a week into break. We have breakfast, bible study, math problems, and private reading before anything else happens that day. It’s amazing the conversations and questions that spur from our sitting down together and reading verse by verse.
We are in the process of transitioning from the book of Genesis to Exodus. Amazing to see how God provided throughout Genesis, and the covenants made throughout the journey. At the end of Genesis Jacob and his descendants end up in Egypt due to the great famine that took place. Joseph (Jacob’s son) had already created a great name for himself in Egypt and was told to bring his family there as a place of refuge.
Interesting how their place of refuge becomes their place of bondage.
Egypt was not meant to be their permanent resting place. The Lord kept revealing Himself throughout Genesis and claiming along their journey where they will finally dwell. Fast forward 400 years and the book of Exodus begins, and the great name the Israelites created for themselves has been forgotten. God continues to bless the Israelites by multiplying them in numbers, but this blessing makes the new pharaoh fearful. He begins to lead Egypt out of fear, and so he starts to oppress and enslave the Israelites.
Crazy to look at the decisions that are made from fear and the cost of those actions. The Lord is the one and only true refuge. Seeking a place, person, or thing outside of the Lord, as an ideal refuge will end up having consequences. Think about it, where do you turn when things get hard? When you must make a life altering decision who do you seek? Any “perceived refuge” outside of the Lord will only provide a temporary resting place. Some examples are eating, exercising, smoking, drugs, alcohol, old friends, etc. Placing this refuge above the Lord has the potential to place us in bondage, just like we see happened to the Israelites.
In the first chapter of Exodus we see that even though Pharaoh tries to oppress and decrease the number of Israelites, the fear of the Lord helps the Israelites continue to prosper. Not the fear of Pharaoh or his oppression, but specifically the fear of the Lord protected them and even helped them to flourish.
That should be a reality check for us. From the time I found out that I was going to be a mother, so many fears invaded my thought process. “Am I going to be a good mom? Will I raise and teach my children the right way? I hope I don’t damage them!” Plus, many, many more. When my refuge became the Lord first He removed all those fears. Fear in Him alone and dwelling in His love casts out all other fears, and He greatly provided the strength and wisdom to get through the toughest days.
Teaching our children to find refuge in the Lord, and nothing in this world is key. Showing them that fear of the Lord is the only fear they should have. Faith overcomes all our fears, if the refuge we seek is the Lord.