It is highly offensive and dangerous for one to complacently and rebelliously live in sin before the Holy God. According to the Bible, God is angry with such wicked individuals each and every day. His condemnation is promised; it will be severe when poured out by the Just Judge of all mankind.
In addition, if one wishes to further infuriate the Almighty God, one will train his children to walk in unrighteousness after his own model. Such satanic discipleship makes God violently angry. In Scripture he gives a severe warning to the father or mother who would cause one of their little ones to stumble. God says “it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matt. 18:6) One can only imagine how hot will be the hell experienced by wantonly rebellious fathers and mothers.
In Matthew 14, and example of such wicked parentage is presented:
At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus. (Matthew 14:1-12)
Herod and Herodias were familiar with the Word of God. They lived in Judea. They were surrounded by priests and scribes. They were cognizant of Israel’s ordinances, sacraments, sacrifices, and ceremonies. They were instructed by Israel’s feasts. All around them was the truth of God; they were immersed in the holy religion that came forth from Israel’s God.
Herod and Herodias were consumed with covetousness, pride, lust, and adultery. They were not interested in God. They were not interested in their neighbors. They were not interested in their original spouses. No, they were only interested in themselves, so with blatant disregard they walked in iniquity and left a wake of chaos behind them.
Herod and Herodias were bothered by the message coming forth from God’s man. John the Baptist uncovered their sins and called them to repentance; he preached many sermons targeting their depravity. However, as John persisted in preaching God’s Word, he was ultimately apprehended, bound, and cast into prison. This sinful couple used all their resources to squelch his voice. They would not tolerate God casting light on their dark transgressions. They ridded themselves of the biblical pest that kept raining on their party.
Herod and Herodias encouraged the licentiousness of their daughter. Throughout the years, Herodias had taught her daughter how do dress and move in a seductive manner. Then as she matured, Herod was pleased to invite his daughter to his raucous birthday party filled with much crassness and drunkenness. He and his wife were then pleased to sit and watch their daughter perform her maneuvers before his lusty guests. Sure, such performances were somewhat common in royal courts of the day, but normally this was done by slave-girls or harem-girls; certainly not by princesses and not by daughters. But Herod himself was said to be “pleased” by her gyrations. Sadly, scripture presents a promiscuous man, married to a promiscuous woman, grooming a promiscuous daughter, and they were not troubled by such.
Herod and Herodias encouraged a most heinous request from their daughter. Throughout this scene, Herod was more rash and passive; Herodias was more intentional and active. Together they encouraged Salome to request the head of God’s minister. One can see the hatred for God and God’s man held deep within the chest of Herodias. Sadly, through the leadership of her parents, this younger girl called for the death of the faithful preacher, the forerunner of the Messiah, the greatest of all Old Testament prophets, the humble friend and relative of Jesus Christ.
This was a sad day for John the Baptist. However, in reality, it was a short, sad day. Upon the application of the sword he woke up in paradise hearing his Father say, “Well done; welcome home!”
Yes, this was a sad day for Jesus, his extended family, and his friends. A dear brother and faithful servant had been lost. A candle had been snuffed out by the wicked one. Satan had apparently won another battle in his spiritual war.
Ultimately, what a horribly sad day it was for Herod and Herodias, for they had successfully damned their own daughter as they had damned their own souls. This couple had produced a hellion, younger, more devious, and more calloused than themselves. She was one who from an early age had learned to devalue God, marriage, modesty, sexual purity, and the sanctity of life. And one day, she would be the mother who taught her perverted version of virtue and ethics to her own children. How sad for the family of Herod. How happy Satan must have been with the familial generational dysfunction being displayed before God’s face. Another disciple of Lucifer had graduated.
Friends, we end this devotional thought with a challenge: Are we raising our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, or are we raising our children in the nurture and admonition of Lucifer?
Here are some questions for us to ponder. It may be some serious review and reform is needed in our current practice of parenting.
- Are our children immersed in the Word of God?
- Are they hearing it regularly from us as parents?
- Are they receiving proper indoctrination from their teachers?
- Are they regularly found at the foot of friends in the church pointing them in the same direction?
- Are they properly using the benefits of modern media to shape their affections, thinking, and actions?
- Are they learning to apply that which they are learning? Or are they seeing their parents pouring truth in one ear that leaks out the other without attention to repentance and application?
- What are our children learning from our non-verbal communication? When they watch our walk, what are they picking up?
- Are we defensive enough as guardians; do we keep unnecessary sin from knocking at their door?
- Do we discipline in love when we see them dancing with and like the devil?
- Do we reward our children for obedience; is their enough positive discipline when we see them dancing like Jesus?
- Are we training “thinkers” who know how to respond to opportunities and offers put before them?
- Then, what are we doing for our grandchildren? Do we see we are not only raising children, but we are raising future mothers and fathers as well? Do we see we are teaching them how to teach our grandchildren?
- Are we doing our work all the while depending on the Holy Spirit? Do we see our inability and do we intercede without ceasing?
Moms and dads, let us not be like Noah who contributed, somehow, to the sin of Ham. Let us learn a lot from Lot. His poor husbanding and parenting resulted in the loss of his possessions, the death of his wife, and the purity of his daughters. Let us forgo being like Isaac and Rebekah who encouraged Jacob and Esau to sin. May we not be like Laban whose parentage resulted in his daughters thievery and lust after his false family idols. Let us contemplate Judah and see all his wicked sons who wedded Tamar and were judged by God. Consider the pain Achan brought upon his family.
And the list could go on and on. Sadly, the history of Israel is not one of incredible success in passing on true religious devotion from one generation to another. Over and over again, God had to severely harm and alter an older generation to start afresh with another.
Instead, depending upon the mercy and power of the Holy Spirit, let us utilize the Word of God and seek to be like Job who regularly led his family in worship. Let us enjoy success as did Abraham; he had an older son willing to walk to Mt. Moriah and lay himself down upon God’s altar because this was what God had commanded. Let us use the church as did Hannah; she was able to rejoice in the spiritual growth of Samuel. Then, like Jesse the father of David, let us rejoice and walk about with incredible thanksgiving as we see that which God does through our humble spiritual parenting.
Friends, let us learn from the model of Jesus. He loved his disciples like children. He fervently poured himself into them; he would not let them go.
Let us hear the Apostle Paul talk to us about the faithful guidance of our Heavenly Father. He will finish that which he begins. Nothing is going to pry us from his strong, loving, tender, and aggressive hands.
Today as parents, let us be intentional. Let us be defensive. Let us be aggressive. Let us be counter-cultural. The world can have their children, but they cannot have ours. Let us do all we can to shape the next generation of God-fearing, Christ-honoring, Spirit-filled, Bible-believing lovers of Jesus and his way. Let us bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord!