Monday, February 11, 2008

Teaching Children to Worship

Our kids do not go to Sunday School. We feel very strongly about having the kids in the church service with us. Church is family time. The kids are learning by our example of what it means to worship the Lord in church. It is the biblical way to do church. I did a little research through the Word and was thrilled at how many verses I found that had the kids in the assembly with the elders, men, and women.


I am only going to touch on a few of the verses here and I am breaking it up into a few different postings. It took me a few typing sessions to finish the first part and I know that if you are a mom getting more than 15 minutes to do anything is a great accomplishment in itself. The goal of these postings is to encourage moms in how to teach their children to worship. I, by no means have all the answers, but I know it can be done. I have trained all my older kids to sit and listen in church. I am training my 14 month old right now. I will touch on how to train your child to stay in the service at the end of this series of postings.


Deuteronomy 31:10 - 13

And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.


In Deuteronomy, Moses was passing the torch to Joshua. He instructed Joshua to gather everyone including women and children to assemble at the end of every seven years. He instructed them to do this so that they may hear from the Lord, learn to fear the Lord, and observe all the word of the law. They were to be together, everyone in the same place, not assembled separately. The children were to hear the law with the adults because the children needed to learn the law so they would not depart from it when they were adults. Learning to fear the Lord is easier the younger you are. Therefore, it only makes sense that they were there.


Joshua 8:33 - 35

And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.


In Joshua, we see that he did what Moses told him to do. Everyone was assembled together so that everyone could hear the law as Moses commanded. God saw it important enough to include the children in the assembly of hearing all that was written in the Book of the Law. If it was important then, it is absolutely important now.


2 Chronicles 20:3 - 5

And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,

2 Chronicles 20:13 - 15

And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation; And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle [is] not yours, but God's.


King Jehoshaphat sought the Lord in the midst of war being declared on him. He called everyone to seek the Lord, including the children. The Lord heard their prayers and comforted them in the midst of turmoil. He told them that the battle did not belong to them but to the Lord. Jehoshaphat knew the importance of the prayers of the children. God hears the prayers of our children. If our children see our example of prayer, then our children will know how to pray. It will become natural for them to seek the Lord because we as parents demonstrated it to them. Children are great observers of our behavior and mimic it all the time.


Ezra 10:1

Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, there assembled unto him out of Israel a very great congregation of men and women and children: for the people wept very sore.


In Ezra, we see something a little different. The people we not called to assemble before the Lord, they came on their own. Everyone including the children came around Ezra as he was repenting before the Lord. The people of Israel had not kept themselves separate from neighboring lands as God had told them. They were taking the women from these lands for themselves against what God had told them to do. Ezra falls before the Lord weeping and repenting for the sins of Israel and the people come to Ezra recognizing that they needed to repent themselves; even the children. Exodus 34:7 says that God deals with sin to the third and fourth generation. It was very important here that the children also repent for their parents’ sin. Sin is also passed on from generation to generation; it is called generational sin. Confessing the sins of our father’s, and asking God to forgive, that is part of breaking the generational sin.


Joel 2:15 - 18

Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where [is] their God? Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.


In Joel, everyone, including the babies, is called for a solemn assembly. The people were called to fast. I find interesting that a fast was called here. I am not sure if the children were included in the actual fasting but I am sure the children were very aware of the fasting, and how to fast. As adults, God sometimes calls us to fast. When we do, we are teaching our children how to deny their flesh for a period of time for the Lord. If God calls you to fast, you should be teaching your child what it means to fast and why we fast.


To sum up, in the Old Testament, children and babies were called to gather with the elders, men, and women. In every instance, that we looked at there was a different reason for the gathering. Children were involved in hearing, learning and fearing the Law of the Lord, seeking the Lord in times of trouble, and in repentance.


Children learn by example, if we do not have them in service with us, how can we be the example of how to worship the Lord? In Sunday school, they learn from the example of their peers. Where do their peers learn how to worship? God esteems children as being as important as adults, so why would we put them at the “kiddy table” so to speak? I will be looking at examples in the New Testament next time.



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4 comments:

  1. You have been tagged with a book tag.

    Come and look.

    BOOK TAG

    ReplyDelete
  2. LOL.......you tagged me before I could tag you......by the book tag as someone else tagged me too......I just read her tag before yours......LOL........I have no idea who I will tag as everyone I know has already been tagged......LOL

    ReplyDelete
  3. p.s. My kids do well in church, but I expect it of them. Even my little one does pretty well for the most part....People ask me how...I have no idea.....I expect them to be good and they are good. Occasionally I have to take one out but that is rare. Even the baby sits pretty quietly, occasionally she will get fussy but usually she can be easily distracted with a piece of paper or a soft doll etc.....and all mine love the singing part of worship service. We worship intensely so usually by the time the singing is done they are ready to sit for a bit.....LOL

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thelma, that is so funny. I think this is a popular tag because it is so different than the normal ones.

    Oh I know that the reason your kids sit is because they know the expectations. Parents too often do not expect enough from their children because they don't think they can do it. But kids can do so much more than we give credit for. And if they learn what is expected of them then they will do it. It is just very important not to expect so much that they get anxious about disappointing us as parents.

    ReplyDelete

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