Adam: The First Man
When I first read that passage many years ago, my eyebrows shot up as the Bible has many examples of sons departing from what was taught them. But the more I thought about this, prayed about it and matured in my walk, I realized a couple of key points that are tucked in that passage.
To train a child up in the ways of the Lord means you (Dad) have to know the ways of the Lord. You can’t teach what you don’t know. We’ve all heard the phrase, “do as I say, not as I do” and I’ve never heard that phrase repeated in a good way. It suggests that while I know what I should be doing, I’m not going to do it; but I expect you to. If you don’t set an example of what a man should look and act like to your wife and children, how are they supposed to learn how to behave?
The second part of this passage is a little more sobering as it touches on Will. I know of men who do all they can, set a Godly example and have poured into their children only to see them rebel anyway. You may look at an example and see a polar opposite to the verse above, but there is one word that stood out to me in that verse “should.”
The verse doesn’t say, “Train up a child in the way he WILL go…”. It says, “Train up a child in the way they SHOULD go…”. We can be a Godly example, praying for them, sharing Jesus with them, loving their Mother and others, spreading the Gospel, reading the Word and they still have the will to choose.
In Genesis 4 1-8 we see Adam and Eve have their two famous sons, Cain and Abel. The boys are born in verse 2, and by verse 8, Cain killed Abel. I know years passed during the span of those verses, but you can see that in spite of the surroundings, people, and age, our children have a will to choose.
The last thing that stood out to me was the tense of the word “Train.” It’s a present tense word that indicates that it's ever continuing. I have two sons that are 21 and 19, and one is graduating college, and one is getting married. If they think my job as a Dad is over, they have not been paying attention. My job as a Dad is never finished. My job as a Dad even extends beyond the grave. The lessons I pour into my sons today should echo throughout their lives and hopefully into their children’s lives. It would be selfish of me to think that my role as a Dad is over at any point in my life. It’s not going to be easy, but I don’t see that work in the verse. It says to “Train up a child,” and you better be learning from your heavenly Father if you want to train them up right.