Several months ago, my wife and I received word from our doctor that we would soon be welcoming a baby into our home. As you can imagine, our hearts were overflowing with excitement and joy at the news. Neither emotion has diminished over the months but has increased many-fold as we continue to prepare our home and our lives for the arrival of a precious baby boy in June.
Peppered among all this planning and preparation, happiness and anticipation, have been questions that all first-time parents ask themselves—“What will he look like?” “What should we name him?” and “Will he even like me?” My wife and I have discovered that, as soon as we answer one question, another replaces it and another and another, each one more weighty than the previous one and tinged with anxiety.“Will I be a good parent?” “How do we raise a child for the Lord?” “Lord, would You please help us?”
In Judges 13, Manoah and his wife also learned that they would be new parents; it might encourage other first-time mothers and fathers to know that you and I are not the first ones to experience concerns about raising a child. Manoah expressed his own apprehension in verse twelve: “How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?”
Mom or Dad, have you ever asked yourself a question like his? If you have a teenage son or daughter, I am most certain that you have; raising teenagers, I imagine, is not a simple task. But what guidance did Manoah receive? Did he ever find an answer? Could that answer from thousands of years ago guide parents of the twenty-first century? In Judges 13:8, we read: “Then Manoah intreated the Lord, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.”
The phrase “the man of God” immediately caught my attention, and I began to recall all the blessings of my life because I had heeded the instruction of the man of God. (Needless to say, I believe that we all understand that the pastor of the church is not God—but a man of God—and that the Word of God is our final authority. Our relationship with the man of God does not replace our personal walk with the Lord and the power and guidance we receive from Him.) However, the Lord will give us something that we personally need through His man, something that no other person can provide.
How does the Lord work through the man of God? In II Timothy 3:16-17, we read: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
“Doctrine”- What Is Right
How grateful I am that, every time I enter the house of God, the man of God preaches to his flock the Word of God. Because the pastor loves, prays, and cares for his people, he will preach what is right. As you are faced with the challenges of raising your children, listen to the man of God as he sounds out the warnings of what is right.
“Reproof” and “Correction” – How to Get Right
As my wife and I prepare for our firstborn, I am well aware of the fact that along the way of parenting I will make mistakes. My job as a parent will be to pray, read the Word of God, listen to the man of God, and then make corrections in the areas in which I have erred.
“Instruction” – How to Stay Right
Through the preaching of God’s Word by the man of God, I will receive weekly instruction that will help me along the pathway of parenting. Mom or Dad, how are you doing with the instruction that is being given to you through the man of God?
In raising teenagers for the Lord, you are going to need help. Take a lesson from the life of Manoah: go to the Lord, and go to the man of God.