The greatest parenting book ever

The sheep aren’t in charge – the shepherd is.

This morning in our Mom-Daughter Devo we talked about Saul.  Saul did not obey God, so God took the kingdom if Israel away from him.  In fact, the words the Lord gave to Samuel for Saul in verse 28 say “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to someone else – one who is better than you.

Ouch.

If something that is precious to you gets taken away, that is painful enough, but the Lord didn’t stop there.  He gave it to “one who is better than you”.

My daughter and I talked about her stuffed animal collection and how that would feel if I took them all away.  We also talked about how it would feel if I took them all away and gave them to someone else.  How much more would it sting if I said I was giving them to someone better than her?

We also talked about how this parenting idea of taking things away as a consequence for misbehavior is not a new idea.  God’s been doing it for thousands of years and He is the ultimate example of a parent for us to follow!  See, I’m not the only parent who does this!

But doesn’t God love each of us the same?  How can one person be better than someone else?  Doesn’t the Bible teach that we are to love everyone equally?

Yes, God does love us all the same.  However, He was taking the kingdom away from Saul to give it to someone who would take better care of it than he did. Someone who would listen and obey God. God wasn’t rejecting Saul – he could still ask for forgiveness and restore his relationship with God.  It was, however, too late to get his kingdom back.  God is a God of second (and third, and fourth….) chances, but Saul’s heart was hardened and it was time for God to take big action.

Emily said it’s just like if someone hired someone to do a job for them and they didn’t do it well.  They would get fired and the person would hire someone else.  YES! I told her she was exactly right and that happens all the time!  That’s why we work to teach her to have a good work ethic now.

This story makes me think of my own parenting and how sometimes we have to give big consequences to teach a big lesson.  It’s better for me to take away a couple of my daughter’s toys to teach her that she must take care of her things, rather than wait and let her learn that lesson when she doesn’t take care of her car, or her house.  Better to learn the lesson early when the cost is less.  Of course, we are human, so some lessons we have to learn over and over again as we grow.

I also think of the lessons God has taught my husband and me.  Very early in our marriage, we went through a very difficult financial season.  For a while, we both had great jobs and had great salaries.  We also had the wrong attitude about it all.  We acted like we deserved it all, we made some poor choices in how we spent it, and we failed to stop and remember where it came from in the first place and Who it truly belonged to.  We failed to thank the ONE who supplied our money and instead we just valued the money.

Then, we hit some major medical issues and bills came that we couldn’t pay.

Thankfully, the Lord used this to take us through a season of learning.  I can say “thankfully” because even though some of it was incredibly painful, it also opened our eyes to a new way of living – a much better way of living – that wasn’t dependent on money, but rather on HIM.  We lost a lot.  A lot.  A house, a car, and a lifestyle.  But we gained even more.  For months when we were out of work with absolutely no income, the Lord supplied for our every need through amazing ways and incredible people.  We did not go into debt, and we were never homeless.

There are SO VERY MANY stories within that season that I could tell about God’s greatness, but I’ll save those for another time.

 

This story reminds me of one of our favorite songs, “Blessed be Your Name” by Matt Redman. Let me share the lyrics with you. This song has spoken to my heart through many seasons of my life.

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

CHORUS:

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

(CHORUS)

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

 

No matter what our circumstances may be, it is our choice to bless the Lord and to praise His name.  Will you choose to praise Him no matter what you are going through today?  Will you look for the lesson He is trying to teach you?  Will you see the rose in the thorns?

 

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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