One of the continuing benefits of being a home schooling parent is that you get to re-learn things you should know over and over again as you introduce new subjects to your students. This is especially true of the excellent practice of reading passages from Scripture aloud to your children. Presenting the text with expression, thereby making its meaning come alive, followed with discussion about how the attitudes and perspectives of the people toward God affected their situation, reinforces the truths of Scripture to the one reading as much as to those listening. However, I've found that I can be quite uppity at times regarding my "ancestors in the faith" as I critique their moves and motives as though I would have done a better job! How many times have I screamed at the patriarch Isaac about choosing the ungodly son over the one God had told Rebecca would rule over the older? I hate to see him make that error time and again! And what about David? I mean, doesn't he see what effect his heinous sin is going to have on his descendants? Reading these "family histories" can act as a valuable reminder that we are very much like (if not worse) than those who've come before us.
Numbers 13 & 14 is another good case in point. In that account, Moses had sent twelve spies into Canaan to spy out the land that the Lord had promised them for a possession. Ten of the twelve came back having drawn the conclusion that they wouldn't be able to prevail against the giants in the land. Their solution was to walk by sight, not by faith. In a similar way, many Christian parents today, when they are plotting a course of action for their children's "higher education," have their gaze more fixed on the giants in the land, than on the provisions and promises of the God of Scripture. In fact, they believe that if they don't have enough "AP" (advanced placement) courses, or letters of recommendation, or a high enough GPA from an "accredited" school, that they won't be able to get into the "best" colleges. Since their focus is on the wrong things, instead of making sure their children are strongly grounded in a biblical world and life view and are living out the implications of their faith, they are busy spending oodles of time and money trying to get the best situation that the "giants in the land" will deem worthy.
Need I remind all of those who have bought into this philosophy that for the Children of Israel, this resulted in a total of forty years of wilderness wanderings? Come to think of it, I can't think of a better way to describe many professing Christians I know who, after having graduated from those "best" schools, end up thinking and acting much like the heathens who run them, while wandering in a wilderness of their own making. When they "mature" into adulthood, their decisions and perspectives are more "Canaanite" than they are Christian.
I am truly saddened that there is no quick fix for this attitudinal malaise. However, I am encouraged that there are many who correctly discern the war raging against the Christian faith all around them, and yet continue to persevere in the process of raising warriors obedient to the law-word of Jesus Christ. Our victorious hope lies in the reality that by focusing on the promises rather than the problems, the land will be ours!
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, the Chalcedon podcast, and has an active teaching schedule with women and high schooled students.. She can be reached at [email protected].