“Do not sin against the child.” Genesis 42:22.
God, who declared in His Word, “All souls are mine,” has committed unto every mother and unto every father an enormous trust: the priceless souls of their children. Consequently, parents will be answerable for their children before the judgment seat of Christ. In light of this, we make an earnest appeal, firstly, to all unconverted mothers and fathers: “Do not sin against the child.” Why should your children be deprived of godly parents, of a father whose holy example would lead them to God, of a kneeling mother whose prayers would influence their lives forever? What? Have you no regard for the eternal state of your little ones? Shall it be their lot to be eternally lost, tormented in hell, separated from God, engulfed by blackness and darkness forever, weeping and wailing, gnawing their tongues for pain, suffering never-quenching thirst, and spending an eternity with Satan and his dreadful host–all this, largely because of your reproachful life and example? Does that not stir something within you? Shall it be said of you, “They who gave them birth, give them their death”?
Fathers, hear what the Bible teaches concerning your God-given responsibility: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Eph. 6:4. That is to say, you must train your children for heaven! It is a charge extending far beyond paying the household bills, feeding hungry mouths, or even driving the family to meeting every Sunday. If you honestly want your children to go to heaven, you must go too! You must give up your pet sin, your gratification of the flesh, your disobedience, and your procrastination. Do not sin against your children by shutting up the kingdom of heaven against them, “for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” Matt. 23:13.
Mothers, there is a call for you to diligently watch over the souls of your children, to see the threatening evils besetting them, and to step out bravely to foil Satan’s plans and devices. We read in Gen. 21:9-10 that “Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.” This world needs more Sarahs that see; that see beyond the household duties of cooking, sewing, and cleaning; that see the incalculable worth of the souls of their children and that will do their part in protecting them from evil.
This world needs mothers that will see the very spirit of evil lurking in children’s toys and in children’s clothing. You may think that your toddler has no understanding of these things, therefore, it really does not matter at this point in time what toys he plays with or what clothes he wears. Oh, but if you could see the terrible spirits that accompany these worldly toys and these articles of clothing (beginning with the new-born size), you would without further delay shield your babies from these poisoning spirits. One writer observed, that parents will dress their children in types of clothing that they themselves would not wear, thereby lowering the standard while “she’s such a little girl and need not look so old-fashioned,” with the intention of raising it later. The writer showed the danger of waiting until later, using the experience of Reuben in Genesis 37:22, where Reuben had told his brothers to cast Joseph into a pit that he might get him out [later], only to return to the pit to behold that Joseph was no longer there! Parents, spare your children from entering the “worldly pit” from the start, so that you need not join Reuben “later” in his lamentation: “The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?” Oh, those are bitter, bitter words spoken on account of a great loss–the loss of a child.
Do not wait until later to train your children in the way that they should go. Don’t allow them to “choose for themselves,” but command them to keep the way of the Lord as Abraham did. Check them now; restrain them now. If at two years of age your boy stomps his foot to get what he wants, he will demand to have his way at twelve, and at twenty-one he will continue to rule according to his life’s principle: “Me first.” That is the perfect recipe for a miserable life, and should he have a spouse and children to share that misery with, all could rightfully point their fingers back at you for being soft and tolerant and for waiting until later to correct that sulking lip that looked so “cute” at the first.
Mothers and fathers, the enemy is viciously targeting your children. At this very critical time, you must, as someone expressed, “hide” your “little Moses’.” You must hasten to build around their young lives a protection from the surrounding perils of this wicked world. Moses’ parents “saw he was a proper child.” Do you see how very precious your children are? Then you must hide them from contaminating their minds by inerasable images resulting from a glance at the magazine rack. Hide them from the dangerous influences of unsaved family members and neighbors, of public schools, of unwholesome books, of secretive talk with other children, and of overnight visits. Hide them in your watchful presence, not allowing them to wander off alone in the store. Hide them in your prayers; hide them in the name of Jesus, for it is a “strong tower” that is safe. Is it not a very sobering thought that children are extremely impressionable by the influences of those around them? A mother’s carelessness and inconsistencies, a father’s negligence and slackness can affect the entire household and cause many little feet to go astray. How serious a matter is that to you? Fathers, think of how careful you are with that freshly-poured cement driveway, that it not be marred or ruined. Yet, it will soon pass away. Mothers, how cautiously you handle that newly-finished piece of furniture. It will soon burn up. But the eternal souls of your children which have been laid into your hands and which will one day be required again of your hands, what have you done with them? What will you do with them? Will you return them safely to God or will you lose them and “bear the blame for ever” (Gen. 43:9)? “Do not sin against the child!”