king belshazzar made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in front of the thousand. belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple in jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. then they brought in the golden vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. they drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone. [daniel 5:1-4]
the apple has not fallen far from the tree.
king belshazzar, full of pride and idolatry, is following in the footsteps of his father, king nebuchadnezzar. seeking his own glory, indulging in every earthly pleasure. the only difference is that king nebuchadnezzar has been humbled. he has seen the wisdom and might of the Almighty King of heaven, has acknowledged his goodness and righteousness, and has given him praise. but as we can see, if that fear of the Lord is not taught to the next generation, the next generation is lost.
hear, o israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. and these words that i command you today shall be on your heart. you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. [deuteronomy 6:4-9]
consider the consequences of neglecting this command! parents, are you being faithful to lead your family in seeking the Lord? this does not require a seminary degree! this does not require eloquent speech or organizational gifts! this requires the gift of God’s word, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the realization of our desperate need for both. if you lack wisdom, ask it of God! he promises to give it. on top of this, we are given the gift of community in the body of Christ. we are not alone in our calling to teach the younger generation what it means to fear the Lord. parents, we have to stop being afraid of stepping on toes and start encouraging one another to this end!
if you are not a parent, not yet married, an empty-nester, maybe not even a grown-up yet… this calling is also for you. in the old testament, under the old covenant, God’s chosen people were united by the blood of abraham. the fear of the Lord was passed down from generation to generation, from father to child. but thanks be to God, who has now united people from all nations and tongues, by the blood of Jesus Christ. this good news means that every believer is charged with the great commission to make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded. are you fulfilling this great commission in our body? are you linking arms with the believers around you to raise up the next generation to fear the Lord and seek him with all their hearts?
church, today, as the bride of Christ, let us ask what the Lord would have us do to steward this opportunity well. young hearts are hungry for the pure milk of the gospel. let us feed them the truth of a God who is worthy of all our praise!
~ arwen eastman