Bows slung across their shoulders. Quivers bulged with arrows. The archers of Israel’s tribe of Ephraim stood ready for battle. After years of training, the time had come. They were trained. They were equipped. They were skilled. They were ready for battle. Valiantly, they marched forward toward the enemy.
They turned back. They retreated from their purpose for which they were equipped. They abandoned their covenant with God who promised to defeat their enemies. They forgot how God had acted on their behalf in rescuing them from Egypt and bringing them to the Promised Land.
Being equipped with weapons and skills was not enough. The archers needed confidence in their God Almighty.
“The sons of Ephraim were archers equipped with bows, yet they turned back in the day of battle. They did not keep the covenant of God and refused to walk in His law; they forgot His deeds and His miracles that He had shown them.”
As a homeschool mom, I aim daily to equip and train my children. We practice skills of washing laundry, calculating area of polygons, sweeping floors, typing properly, hammering nails, tracing maps, changing the oil, capitalizing proper names, memorizing body systems. Persistently, I seek to equip them with skills of life-long learning, manners for respectful relationships, and knowledge in various subjects. We work consistently on training in choosing virtue, developing character, confessing our wrongs, and forgiving others of theirs.
Your lessons might be different, but I know you also aim to equip and train your children for a life of purpose.
But will our children be confident in God?
Numerous battles await our children in life. When those days come, weapons and skills will be essential. But they will not be enough.
Confidence in their own ability and preparation is dangerous ground. They must learn to place their trust in God alone.
Their confidence in God will lead them to remember His works, to prepare their hearts for His presence, and to walk in obedience to His Word.
Ephraim’s archers forgot God’s mighty works of deliverance and provision. Escape from Egypt, parting of the Red Sea, manna in the wilderness. Will our children remember God’s work of deliverance and provision in their lives?
Ephraim’s archers forsook their covenant with God. They were not faithful in preparing their hearts to live in His presence. Will our children exhibit humility and honesty over the state of their hearts?
Ephraim’s archers were a stubborn and rebellious generation. They turned back when God commanded to move forward. Will our children choose to obey even in the face of danger?
In their future battles of life, we want our children be confident that God is who He says He is.
“That they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments, and not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not prepare its heart and whose spirit was not faithful to God.”
How can we lead our children toward this type of confidence?
We’re slowly working backwards through the first eleven verses of Psalm 78. Backing up a bit, we gain wisdom of how to lead our families to the confidence of verse 7.
In the rush and frenzy of daily life, I wonder if we unintentionally conceal God’s mighty works from our children. Do they know our stories of redemption, deliverance, and provision? Do they know their heritage of how God has personally intervened to rescue and lavish love?
We must tell our next generations our praises of God Almighty who has drawn close to us personally. Pass on your story. Tell them about the unexpected financial provision right when the bill was due. Share your story of salvation. Explain how you walk in a bit more freedom from depression or anger or that ugly area of sin. They need to connect our personal family stories with the stories they know of Jonah, Esther, and Paul.
Tell stories in daily conversation. Set up a family altar of remembrance. Keep a family journal. Frame your written stories on the wall. However fits your family personality, make it personal. Open your mouth and tell your story.
“Listen, O my people, to my instruction; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
We will not conceal them from our children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. For He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should teach them to our children.”
But what if I’m not confident?
Mom, you have been called to pass on confidence in God throughout the generations. But no need to fear: You can proclaim this type of confidence even when your own confidence is wavering. In doing so, you provide a beautiful model of learning to trust.
Stay in the battle. The victory belongs to Jesus. God will defeat your enemies. Just stay close to Him. Perhaps the best way to lead your children toward confidence in God is to model staying in the battle when life is tough.
Have you had days when you want to quit? Probably so. But you kept on going.
Remember how God has given you victories of provision, deliverance, and redemption. Keep moving forward. Step into your daily battles determined to learn to trust. Talk with your children all along the way. Watch yourself and your children put your confidence in God.
“That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, that they should put their confidence in God and not forget the works of God.’