“When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’” (Joshua 4:21)
There is much that can be learned on the subject of parenting by observing how the Lord led Israel, particularly during the 40 years they spent in the wilderness while a new generation was being groomed to enter the Promised Land.
The phrase “when your children ask” is also recorded in verse 6 with regard to this event and similar phrases are recorded in Exodus 12:26; 13:14 and Deuteronomy 6:20 concerning other significant events. It seems we have a parenting principle that we would do well to emulate.
The next generation of Israelites would be provoked to question their fathers concerning the piles of stones. One pile was of smooth river stones on the bank and the other pile was of rough stones in the river. Both would look out of place even apart from being made into a pile.
These provocations were intended to be teaching tools to assist parents explain who their God is and what He has done to the next generation. Are there any events in the Christian life that might provoke our children to ask questions?
Actually there are many in the home. Your daily quiet time should raise interest as will the reading materials and conversations parents have in the home. The two most obvious ones in the church environment are baptism and the Lord’s Table. We should take advantage of these even if a question is not forthcoming.
In explaining the Lord’s Table and baptism to our children (and grandchildren) we explain the Gospel of grace through Jesus Christ to the next generation. We may not have a couple of piles of stones but we have something far better as a means of explaining the Gospel to our children and the unsaved.
Parents have the wonderful privilege of explaining the Gospel of Christ to the next generation and should take every opportunity to provoke their children to ask questions and respond clearly to them. God has given us an example to follow.