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Chip off the old block?

“And from among my sons—for the LORD has given me many children—he chose Solomon to succeed me on the throne of his kingdom of Israel. He said to me, ‘Your son Solomon will build my Temple and its courtyards, for I have chosen him as my son, and I will be his father.’” — 1 Chronicles 28:5-6

Some fathers do not hesitate to tell their children what to do with their lives—and they’re often wrong. One father who has worked hard to build his business assumes his son will be eager to take over, only to discover that the son has neither the heart nor the head for such a task. Another father, frustrated in his own athletic career, pushes his son to excel so that he may vicariously enjoy what he has personally been denied, only to discover that his son prefers footlights to football and plays by Shakespeare to plays from scrimmage.

David, too, had designs for his son Solomon. But there was a difference. God had told David what he wanted his son to do—even giving David detailed instructions! (1 Chronicles 28:19). David then drew up the blueprints and began collecting the raw materials for his son’s work (22:1-5), and he spoke to his son with certainty and authority concerning the work that he would do (22:6-19; 28:20-21). David was not just laying his own plans on Solomon, as many fathers do. He was laying God’s plans on his son, in accord with God’s will. And it was exactly the right thing.

Fathers today can still discover God’s plans for their children. They can begin collecting the “materials” that will help their children fulfill those plans, and they can instruct their children in those plans. By prayerfully and carefully studying God’s Word, fathers can find general principles of guidance for their children; and by carefully and prayerfully observing their children’s aptitudes, abilities, opportunities, and interests, they can help their children discover more specific details of God’s plans.

Today’s fathers should remind their children that, whatever their occupation, their calling is to be the Lord’s servants; and whatever their success, their abilities are God-given. They should remind their children that everything they have received comes from God, and that their lives on earth will prepare them for the experience of eternity. Fathers should tell their children that, whatever their field of endeavor, if they pursue the Lord’s will with enthusiasm, they can count on the Lord’s presence and enabling.

Shame on fathers who impose their own will and ignore God’s will in their children’s lives. But blessed is the man who watches his children carefully and pursues God’s path for them wholeheartedly. Those men understand the difference between imposing their will and influencing their children—the difference between intimidation and inspiration.

For further study: 1 Chronicles 28:1-21

Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.