God did not hand Adam and Eve a parenting book explaining how they should raise their children. He did say, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,” so God certainly wanted them to procreate. The very first man and woman had the perfect role model for parenting but they also had to learn how to raise their children through trial and error.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Genesis 1:28 (NKJV)
Sadly, sin (jealousy, envy, anger, pride) brought Cain to a place where he killed his own brother. Was this because Adam and Eve favored his younger brother and mistreated their first born? I doubt it. However, God did favor Able’s offering over Cain’s. Maybe Cain did not make an effort to bring his best to the Lord. Whatever the reason, Cain let his feelings rule over his heart and it led to murder. Adam and Eve did not make Cain a murderer. He was responsible for his own actions and God punished him alone for his act.
No doubt, Adam and Eve were filled with sorrow when they realized they had lost both of their sons, one killed and the other banished. But God showed mercy and provided another son, Seth. Through his line, Noah was called upon to build an arc that was meant to further the human race.
In the book of Judges, we read about the life of Sampson. God selected righteous parents to raise him but again, sin led to his downfall. Even though his parents advised him against taking a Philistine bride, he turned a deaf ear to their wise counsel.
“Then his father and mother said to him, ‘Is there no woman among the daughters of your brethren, or among all my people, that you must go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?’ And Samson said to his father, ‘Get her for me, for she pleases me well.” Judges 14:3 (NKJV)
Many good Kings of Israel had evil sons. King Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh, was very evil. Manasseh served terrible gods. He was cruel and killed many innocent people. When Manasseh died, his son Josiah became King. Josiah was a good king and loved God’s law. Josiah encouraged the people of Judea to trust God. However, after Josiah’s death, all the kings of Judah were evil.
So what is the point of this devotion? I wanted to address parents with prodigal sons/daughters. Too many parents feel guilt over the ungodly behavior of their children. They take on a burden of responsibility that is not theirs to carry.
Yes, we are called to, “Train up a child in the way he should go,” but there is also an age of accountability. This is based on one’s ability to comprehend and respond to the Good News. Thus, there is no specific age provided. A person becomes personally accountable when he or she has the spiritual and mental facility to grasp spiritual issues regarding sin. This does not mean they are not sinful, but only that they have not reached a place where they can understand their condition.
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:17 (NKJV)
If you have a prodigal, keep praying. God is faithful. Recite back to God His scriptural promises. Then trust Him, remembering He knows what is best for all concerned and that His timing is perfect. Do not forget the last part of Proverbs 22:6! “and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)
We lift up all the prodigal sons and daughters. Cause them to reflect upon Your good character and chip away at their hard hearts. Turn them from their evil ways and cause them to acknowledge Your goodness and love for them. Teach them to walk in Your ways. You have promised to hear the desires of the humble, so we humble ourselves before You now. You alone can lead, guide, and rescue the wayward sheep. We are powerless but we call upon Your power and strength. It pains us to see their rebellion against You. We know the refiner’s fire brings forth impurities so test them as gold is tested. Grant us perseverance. Build up our faith. We believe that nothing is impossible with God.
“But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” Matthew 19:26 (NKJV)
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” John 15:16 (NKJV)
“Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear.” Psalm 10:17 (NKJV)
“’And it shall come to pass in all the land,’ says the Lord, ‘That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one–third shall be left in it: I will bring the one–third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”