Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
This evening is the end of the Chanukkah, the Feast of Dedication. I thought I would therefore share something with you about the meaning of dedication. “Chanukkah”, a noun, means “dedication.”
The interesting thing is that the word to “train” our children in Proverbs 22:6 is actually the Hebrew verb, “chanakh” which means “to teach, to dedicate, to consecrate, to inaugurate”. Apart from Proverbs 22:6, here are the examples where it is used.
1. Dedication of a house. (Deuteronomy 20:5)
2. Dedication of the altar of Moses’ tabernacle. (Numbers 7:10-11,84,88)
3. Dedication of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 8:63; 2 Chronicles 7:4-9)
4. Dedication of Zerubbabel’s temple. (Ezra 6: 16-18)
5. Dedication of the walls of Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 12:27)
6. Dedication of Nebuchadnezzar’s image. (Daniel 3:2-3)
7. Dedication and cleansing of the temple in 165 BC (from which we now celebrate Chanukkah) after it had been desecrated with the abomination of Antiochus Ephiphanes who sacrificed a pig on the altar of the temple. This is recorded in the Apocrypha in 1 Maccabees 4:54, “It was dedicated anew, with singing of hymns, and music of harp, zither and cymbals.”
This certainly gives us a new light on the meaning of training our children, doesn’t it? The word “dedicate” means “to consecrate to a sacred purpose.” We train our children for the specific purpose of setting them apart for God’s service and the purpose that He has destined for them. Each of our children is born with a destiny that God has planned for them before the foundation of this world. We do not train them according to our ideas. We do not train them by society’s standards. Our whole purpose in training is to dedicate them to the purposes of God.
How did they dedicate in the Old Testament examples?
1. With Purity.
Ezra 6:20-21 tells us that the priests and Levites who were involved in dedicating the temple “were purified together, all of them were pure.” The people too – “All such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land.”
When they dedicated the walls that were rebuilt in Nehemiah’s time, “The priests and the Levites purified themselves, and purified the people, and the gates, and the wall.” (Nehemiah 12:30)
To train dedicated children, we must first be dedicated ourselves. Every temple in the Old Testament was dedicated. God no longer has a temple of wood and stone. He now has temples of flesh and blood. I am a temple of the living God to be filled with His glory. You are a temple of God to be pure and holy for His dwelling. Your children are temples waiting to be dedicated to His purposes.
We must keep our hearts pure from all contamination of sin, rebellion, bitterness and anger. If there is iniquity and rebellion in our hearts, it will cause rebellion in our children’s hearts. (Exodus 20:5) We must be purified mothers to raise holy and set apart children.
2. With sacrifice.
They always sacrificed offerings at the dedication of the temple. At the dedication of Solomon’s temple he personally offered up 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. This was worth $9,550,000.00! And this was apart from the rest of the offerings of the children of Israel. (1 Kings 8:63)
It takes sacrifice to train children to be set apart for God’s service. It takes forgetting our own agenda and laying down our own lives. But it is for God and it comes with His reward. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” (Mark 8:35)
We cannot forget that in purifying and sacrificing, the blood was shed. It is only through the power of the blood of Jesus that we can keep pure and cleansed from the contamination that will blight our lives and our children’s lives.
3. With prayer.
Read 2 Chronicles 6:14-42. We cannot successfully set apart our children for God without much prayer. One of the most important aspects of parenting, and yet the least observed, is prayer. Are you finding parenting a challenge? Prayer is your answer. Are you having difficulties with one of your children? Prayer is your answer. Are you concerned about the direction of your children? Prayer is your answer. Prayer will release your children into their destiny.
If you don’t pray for your children, who will?
We will look at one more point next week.
Love from NANCY CAMPBELL
“Dear Lord, help me to keep my mind and heart pure before you so that I can raise pure and holy children. Cleanse me with your precious blood from all sin.”
I am set apart for God’s purposes and I am raising children to be set apart for God.