What does it feel like to experience God’s blessing in our parenting? Join AMBrewster as he guides Christian parents through the inexpressible glory of what it’s like to be a Righteous Parent.
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Welcome back. Today we’re going to discuss the experience of righteous parent according to God Himself from Psalm 112.
But before we do that, I want to thank Cara for making today’s episode possible. Without our Patrons, those who give at least $1 a month, we would not be able to produce this free parenting content. We are a listener-supported ministry, so the Lord has seen fit to bless TLP as we bless His people by sending people like Cara. You too can get involved. Just click on the “5 Ways to Support TLP" link in the description of this episode to learn more.
And even if you can’t invest financially, you can pray for us, share us with your friends, and rate, review, and recommend us on iTunes and Facebook.
All of that connects us with searching families who want to know what God’s Word says about their homes.
So, let’s talk about that right now.
Last time we began our discussion looking at what it takes to be a righteous parent, and we saw that a righteous parent . . .
And we saw that we cannot hope to enjoy the blessings about which we’re going to talk today if we aren’t living righteously as God defines it.
This is the parent’s greatest calling. Our biggest job is not leading our kids; our most important responsibility is following Christ.
Then, to the degree that we do our first job well, we will be able to do our second most important jobs well . . . ministering to our spouses and children and everyone else in our lives.
The only other thing I wanted to say by way of review is that we must interpret these blessings in light of the New Testament. If that doesn’t quite make sense yet, I will explain what I mean when we discuss the blessings themselves.
And I think now is the time to do that.
Alright . . .
2. The Experience of the Righteous Parent.
A. A righteous parent will be blessed.
Verse 1 records, “Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!”
I believe with all my heart that God desires to bless His followers. And not only does He want to do this, He will — beyond a shadow of a doubt — bless His followers.
And this blessing will come both now and in the future.
But what is the extent of His blessing? What does this blessing look like? We’ll try to answer that question after we consider this second point.
B. A righteous parent’s children will be blessed.
Verse 2 tells us, “His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”
Okay, so we need to take moment to consider this general idea of blessing.
We could take weeks and weeks discussing this one, but I want to zero in on Matthew 5 just to make 3 important observations.
Each of the beatitudes starts with the promise that the individual they describe will be blessed. And then — so as to prove the point — one specific blessing is included with each beatitude.
Consider these blessings with me:
With the exception of “inheriting the earth,” it’s clear that all of those promised blessings are significantly spiritual or a future heavenly reward. But “inheriting the earth” isn’t a temporal blessing, but another future promise when God recreates the world and populates it with His people.
It doesn’t matter where you look in the New Testament, you will see three consistent truths concerning God’s blessings.
1. Christians will be blessed spiritually and materially in Heaven.
Five of the nine blessings in Matthew 5 are things for which we can look forward in the future. Of those five, it’s hard to say which are more materially focused and which are primarily a spiritual blessing and which are a little of both. I kind of lean toward the most of them — at least — being both.
Anyway, as awesome as that is, I think too many people put an overemphasis on the material and physical blessings of Heaven. It was during part 2 of our last Easter series that I remarked, “Too often [when considering our heavenly home] we focus on being free from sickness or fatigue or disease or hunger or weakness. But this promise is infinitely more than that! BORN AGAIN BELIEVERS WILL HAVE NO SIN!!!! The glory of this resurrection focus is to systematically draw our understanding to the fact that the Gospel absolutely will and must change us — not merely physically, but spiritually!”
Forget the streets of gold and walls made out of precious stones and gates constructed of one giant pearl. Forget the perfect health and uncursed earth. All of that will be infinitely overshadowed by the spiritual blessings of being free from sin and forever communing in the presence of God able to perfectly please Him and — for the first time ever — finally be able to fulfill our purpose by worshipping Him and Him alone!
I think our preoccupation with the material prosperity of the afterlife illustrates why we’re so focused on material prosperity in this life.
But, that’s not really what we see in Scripture.
Of the remaining four earthly blessings related in Matthew 5, all four of them are distinctly spiritual in nature. So . . .
2. If they submit to God, Christians will always be blessed spiritually while on earth.
Every single promise of peace, contentment, wisdom, teaching, illumination, refuge, strength, comfort, rest, and the plethora of other divine blessings are conditional. If we’re not rejoicing the Lord and casting our cares on Him and thinking correctly, we won’t experience peace (Philippians 4). If we don’t run away from our own understanding and follow after God’s commands, we can’t have wisdom. If we don’t live righteously, we won’t be blessed. And the list of examples goes on.
I would even go so far to say that salvation is conditioned upon our faith. Now, that’s not a work, because faith is a gift from God. It’s not something we necessarily “do,” but it is something that must happen. People who do not have faith in God will not be saved.
And we can know for sure that God will definitely and consistently keep every single one of His promises to bless us spiritually by helping us be conformed to the image of His Son.
In fact, I’m going to argue that the spiritual blessings offered to the Church are magnificently more glorious than the temporal physical blessings offered to Israel in the Old Testament. Okay, so I live a relative life of ease and plenty for my 80 or so years on earth. That’s nice. But the Jews had to regularly make atonement for their sins as they awaited the coming of the Messiah. They didn’t have the completed Word of God. They did’t even have the Holy Spirit filling them the way New Testament believers do.
I think a Chineses pastor being tortured in some government prison or someone having her life cut brutally short at the hands of Muslims who were able to experience spiritual joy and hope and peace and contentment and wisdom are in a far more glorious position than an Old Testament Jew.
Now, quick note, I keep saying Old Testament Jew because I believe that Jewish Christians who are part of the Church will receive all the same temporal spiritual blessings as any other Christian, but they will also receive unique blessings once in Heaven as well.
I just didn’t want anyone thinking that modern Jews who believe in Christ don’t receive the same blessings as the rest of the Church.
Anyway, again, our preoccupation with material blessing too often causes us to miss the actual riches of the depth and breadth of the spiritual gifts God wants to give us.
So, what about material blessing . . . on earth . . . for Christians.
Well, in a way, they don’t really exist.
3. Christians may experience differing levels of material prosperity on earth, but it has nothing to do with blessing.
After hearing this third point, my wife made one little addition. She said, “Christians may experience differing levels of material prosperity on earth, but it has nothing and everything to do with blessing.”
Anything and everything short of eternity in Hell is a gigantic blessing from God. I tell my boys at Victory Academy that if I were lucky enough to be able to spend the rest of my life being beaten in the face by someone wielding a folding chair, it would be so much better than I deserve because — as uncomfortable as that would be — it’s way, way better than Hell.
So, yes, one can say that getting over a sickness or winning the lottery or getting a promotion or selling a home or graduating at the top of the class is a blessing. But so is being sick and destitute and being fired and losing your home and not having the highest grade in school.
If you want to see just how much the modern Christian is misunderstanding this glorious Truth, just scroll through Facebook and look at the words that follow, “Praise God . . . .”
I know. I’m guilty of it too. I catch myself all the time wanting to praise the Lord for selling my house, but — you know what — the five years He didn’t sell my house was a blessing too. But, if I’m being honest, it wasn’t the blessing I wanted.
We generally define blessing as receiving what we want. But what if God’s best is a child with down syndrome? What if God’s best for us is cancer or singleness or martyrdom?
I know, that significantly clashes with the Christian American Dream.
But we need to submit our minds to God’s will, not our own.
The level of your prosperity has absolutely nothing to do with a special outpouring of God’s blessing on you because you obeyed more than someone else.
Our equal submission to God results in equal blessings of peace and wisdom. And our equal submission to God has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that we get paid different amounts at work.
It is unbiblical to suggest that the guy who makes more money is more holy, but it is acceptable to say that the person experiencing more God-infused contentment is living a more righteous life.
I know I spent a ton of time on that, but this is the very crux of today’s show. God does want to bless the righteous parent. And perhaps you are living righteously and growing in your sanctification. If that is the case, you cannot afford to think that God is going to bless you and your kids by making you temporally successful or healthy.
God may allow you to experience a different level of material and physical prosperity than others, but it will have nothing to do with your spiritual submission to God. That will simply be how He’s chosen to glorify Himself in this world and accomplish His will. And yes, you do have the responsibility to be faithful in that, but no more than a missionary in Haiti has.
God will bless you for being righteous.
And He will bless your kids. They may not become rich or smart or popular. It may be that a righteous parent has an unregenerate child who never submits to God. That doesn’t mean He hasn’t blessed them. He allowed them to have parents who loved the Lord. He used them to point the child to Him. That’s significant. Not everyone receives such a blessing. But it didn’t have anything to do with what the child did, it was a result of their parents being righteous.
Now, the remaining six experiences of a righteous parent must be understood within this context. So, even though we’ve already used up a lot of our time, I believe these next blessings will flow quickly.
C. A righteous parent will not be afraid.
Verses 7-8 explain, “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.”
This obviously does not mean that bad news won’t come. However, the spiritual blessing of peace and steadfastness will be yours if you live righteously before God.
Are you afraid? Are you experiencing anxiety or worry over your kids or your spouse or your monetary situation or your health or anything else?
If that’s the case, I’m not saying you’re a terrible person . . . I struggle with anxiety too. But, just like I, you need to grapple with the fact that you’re not experiencing the blessing God promises to righteous parents.
And, again, though that doesn’t mean you’re an absolute reprobate parent, you do need to acknowledge that you’re not trusting God as you should.
Do you remember our last discussion? Trusting God was the very foundation of a Righteous Parent. Hear what God says, ““He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.”
Let me be frank, this episode is not designed to inform Righteous Parents about what they can expect to receive from God. No, no. Righteous Parents are already receiving these blessings and experiencing these joys.
This episode was designed to help all of us, that includes me, to compare our experience in order to detect whether or not we’re really being righteous. It’s too easy to tell people I was in a rock band if I don’t have the recordings and albums to back it up.
In the same way, it’s too easy to claim to be a Righteous Parent as long as there is no objective way to illustrate that. But here God says that a truly Righteous Parent is not going to be afraid, and he’s not going to be afraid because he genuinely is trusting in God.
An Afraid Parent has some more maturing he or she needs to do.
That’s why we have have the “Peaceful Parenting” series and the episode “Fearless Parenting” — so we can all grow in our dependence on God and reap the fearless benefits of truly trusting Him.
Please know that I don’t say this to put you down. Yes, a fearful parent is not trusting God, therefore though they may be more righteous than other parents, they still have things on which they need to work . . . and that’s okay. None of us are perfect, and God expects us to be growing and maturing every day we live.
I say this because I love you.
D. A righteous parent will be richly supplied.
Verse 3 says, “Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.”
Yes, the Old Testament Jews who submitted to God had the promise of earthly riches, but we New Testament saints have a much greater promise.
Consider Jesus’ consolation to the Church of Smyrna in Revelation 2, “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’”
In the midst of tribulation and poverty, Jesus calls them rich because they believed in Him and He was going to give them everything they needed to glorify Him even if that meant they were simply going to be faithful unto death.
In I Timothy 6:17-19 we read, “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”
The Righteous Parent will be rich. They will be rich in the provision of God. The Bible has everything we need for life and godliness, the Lord provides us a way to escape every single temptation we will face, and he arms us with every spiritual weapon we need to overcome Satan.
Amen and amen!
Are you having fun? I am! This is so great.
E. A righteous parent will have direction.
Verse 4 reveals, “Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.”
We all know that God is light and in Him is no darkness. We know that His Word is a light to our feet. As the light of Truth fills the Christian, we become a light to this dark world.
The believer need not fret over a decision. Yes, they will be hard, and the Bible doesn’t specifically say whether or not you need to buy the black car or the red car, or whether or not you need to send your kids to a public school, Christian school, or homeschool, but He does give you everything you need to make the decision and know you’re glorifying Him in the process.
We have a ton of episodes about the education questions, but we also have a series called “Help Your Children Discover God’s Will for Their Lives” and an episode called “Decision Making and the Will of God” that should be a huge help on this point.
But it gets even better.
And if you’re sad because you don’t have all of these blessing written down, fear not, we have free episode notes linked below.
F. A righteous parent will never fall.
Verse 6 promises, "For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.”
In the same way that God gives us the weapons we need to fight this spiritual battle, we can have the confidence that if we use the weapons (aka: live righteously) we will never fall.
Only when we stop trusting God and fearing God and delighting in and obeying His commandments will we fall in our sin.
Who is there to tear us from God’s grip? No one. Our spiritual failures will be our own and they will come when we’re not being righteous.
G. A righteous parent will triumph.
Not only will we not fall, we will overcome!
Verse 8 says, “His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.” And verse 10 records, "The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish!”
They may malign us and take away our rights, they may persecute us and even take our lives . . . but they will never triumph. And as we’re being burned alive at the stake for the name of Christ, they will be incapable of stealing our joy and praise and adoration and testimony to God.
And though they may feel smug delight at silencing yet one more Christian, it is they who will — but by the grace of God — live out their days in rebellion to God and enter a Christless eternity while we — by their own hand — will spend eternity with our Savior is glorious perfection and light!
I know parenting is hard. I know we too often look for triumphs in potty training and sleeping through the night and passing Algebra to give us comfort, but we have so much more promised to us if we will only live righteously.
If you feel like you don’t have direction, and you’re constantly falling in your sin, and you’re not experience triumph over your own flesh, then you need to listen to yesterday’s episode again. We all must be reminded about true righteousness and how the Lord intends for us grow in it.
And finally . . .
H. A righteous parent will leave a legacy.
Verse 6 reads, “For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.” And verse 9 says, “He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor.”
For what will your parenting be remembered? So many years from now, when you’re dead and gone, if someone were to track down your children and ask, “How would you describe your dad and moms parenting?” what would they say?
Will you be remembered as a Righteous Parent who experienced the blessing of a life submitted to God? Or will you be remembered as a parent who though education was really important or who pushed their kids to excel in sports or who put family above everything else or worked really hard so we could have a comfortable life.
Now, those things aren’t so bad. But is that the legacy God wants us to leave?
This Righteous Parent is remembered because his faith in Christ caused him to not be moved. His horn is exalted in honor because he was generous and showed the light of Christ to all with whom he interacted.
“But, Aaron, I want to be remembered for having good kids.”
That would be nice, but that’s not always the experience of a Righteous Parent. Do you remember our “What Is Successful Parenting?” episode? You really need to hear it if you never have, and maybe it would be helpful to re-listen if you have.
Our parenting will not be judged by our children’s submission to Christ. Our parenting will be judged by our submission to Christ as we parented. Remember, “Our biggest job is not leading our kids; our most important responsibility is following Christ.”
Thank you for your patience today.
Join us next time as we start a series about “Parenting Angry Children.”
If you’ve made it this far, I’ve love to just read Psalm 112:1-10 for you as we finish up today so we can all experience the joy of this passage as the Lord originally laid it out.
“Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice. For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor. The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish!”
So, to that glorious end, I’ll see you next time.
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