BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him’” (Matthew 2:13 NKJV).
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15 NKJV).
In Matthew 2, Herod represents Satan and the child represents life and destiny. Herod wanted to kill Jesus and thereby abort the destiny he had come to fulfill on the earth. Herod was however unsuccessful but he got several children killed in the process. Even today, ‘Herod’ has not ceased from his assignment.
Joseph was told in Matthew 2:20, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead” (NKJV). But today the ‘Herod’ who wants to destroy the lives of many children is still alive. So their parents cannot afford to relax and stay around the ‘Herod’ otherwise he will accomplish his evil plan. Therefore, fathers must arise for the sake of their children’s lives just as Joseph arose to run away from the land of Israel with Jesus and Mary, as he was told by the angel in a dream. “Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him’” (Matthew 2:13 NKJV).
Mothers must arise for the lives of their children as Deborah arose. Deborah said, “Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7 NKJV). Nehemiah 4:14 says fight for your sons and daughters: “And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses’” (NKJV).
As a parent, you must arise and fight so that the devil will not corrupt and destroy your children as he did with the lives of some people in the Bible.
1. Cain: Satan entered Cain and made him a murderer, the first murderer in the Bible. He killed his brother and for this God cursed him. “And He said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth” (Genesis 4:10-12 NKJV).
There are children today that ‘Herod’ (Satan) has turned to murderers including murdering their parents. Many children are cultists in school and armed robbers in society maiming and killing. That is not what God created them to be but satan has perverted their destinies. He has similar plans for other children too. Parents must arise and fight for the destinies of their children.
2. Lamech: Lamech was the son of Methuselah, a descendant of Cain. Satan also entered him, and he took after Cain – he also committed murder. “Then Lamech said to his wives: ‘Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; wives of Lamech, listen to my speech! For I have killed a man for wounding me, even a young man for hurting me. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-sevenfold” (Genesis 4:23-24 NKJV).
Exodus 20:13 says, “You shall not murder” (NKJV). Deuteronomy 5:17 says the same thing. A murderer deserves death. Leviticus 24:17 says, “Whoever kills any man shall surely be put to death” (NKJV). There is a curse upon every murderer. They shall reap what they’ve sown. Psalm 140:11 says, “Let not a slanderer be established in the earth; let evil hunt the violent man to overthrow him” (NKJV).
Parents need to arise and fight so that the devil does not turn their children to violent men and murderers. There are many children today who are already in prison or detention on murder charges and there are those who have lost their peace for the same crime and are prisoners of conscience. Only Jesus can set them free.
3. Ham: Ham was one of the sons of Noah, but he acted foolishly; he failed to cover the nakedness of his father but told his two brothers, Shem and Japheth, outside. But his two brothers took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered their father’s nakedness. Proverbs 10:1 says, “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother” (NKJV). Ham didn’t make the heart of his father glad. He rather caused him grief. “A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him” (Proverbs 17:25 NKJV).
Satan must have moved him to despise his father notwithstanding that his father ought not to have become drunk. Noah cursed Ham’s son. “Then he said: Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants he shall be to his brethren” (Genesis 9:25 NKJV). Needless to say, those parents shouldn’t allow themselves to be provoked to curse their children, grandchildren, etc. no matter what; they should rather pray for them.
4. Reuben: This young man acted similar to what Ham did. But his misbehavior was more grievous. He slept with his father’s concubine (Genesis 35:22). What he did was evil and so painful that there is no record that his father spoke about it immediately.
But when it came to the time of pronouncing a blessing upon the children, this evil stood against his blessing. His father brought up this sin of immorality he had committed 40 years earlier and declared thus. “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power. Unstable as water, you shall not excel, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it —He went up to my couch” (Genesis 49:3-4 NKJV).
This prononcement, which seems like a curse, glued to Reuben. Though he was the firstborn, because he slept with his father’s wife, he would only enjoy the prvileges of a son, not of the firstborn. His words came to pass as the tribe of Reuben never became great. Nobody of substance, whether a judge, prophet, or ruler, came from this tribe except Dathan and Abiram, who are known for their rebellion against Moses (Numbers 16). The tribe of Reuben is one of the tribes often referred to as the ten lost tribes of Israel. They were the tribes in the northern kingdom of Israel..
Sexual immorality is one of the deadly sins that Satan has been using to destroy the lives of children right from the days of the Bible. Sexual immorality was part of the wickedness or depravity of Sodom and Gomorrah for which God destroyed them. Both children and adults should learn from Sodom and Gomorrah, an example to those who live an ungodly life (2 Peter 2:6). But have human beings learnt at all from that example?
Because of the sin of sexual immorality, God, in His judgment, destroyed 23,000 Israelites. 1 Corinthians 10:8, therefore, warns: “And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day” (NLT). Perhaps no sin destroys the lives of children faster than the sin of sexual immorality. So many lives have been cut short in the contemporary world by HIV/AIDS contracted through illicit sex or from sex with unfaithful spouses; many others have died from other sexually transmitted diseases. Arise, and fight for your children.
Writing to the church at Corinth on the sin of sexual immorality, Paul said, “I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore put away from yourselves the evil person” (1 Corinthians 5:9-13 NKJV). Sexual immorality is evil, and children must be saved from Satan using it to destroy them.
Children must be taught that their bodies are not meant for sexual immorality. “Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” (1 Corinthians 6:13 NKJV). Their bodies are meant to be used to the glory of God. “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20 NKJV).
They must be taught to run away from sexual immorality so that it does not steal their destiny and future as it robbed Reuben of his. 1 Corinthians 6:18-19 says, “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (NKJV).
5. Nadab and Abihu: These were the sons of Aaron, the priest. They were to be serving with their father in the Temple, but they died prematurely – they died before their father and had no children (1 Chronicles 24:2). They actually died before the Lord because they offered profane or strange fire before the LORD. They should have known better. “Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before” (Leviticus 10:1-2 NKJV).
For disobeying the Word of God and dishonoring God, they paid dearly for it with their lives; and Moses forbade Aaron and his sons, Eleazar and Ithamar not to mourn or they would die and the LORD would be angry with the Israelites. Leviticus 10:6 described Nadab and Abihu as those “whom the LORD has destroyed by fire” (NLT). Their dishonourable and evil behavior made God kill them. They caused their parents, brothers, other relatives, and the entire nation of Israel avoidable pain.
That is why parents need to arise and fight for their children so that Satan will not move them to do what might provoke the wrath or anger of God that will abbreviate their lives. Romans 1:18 says the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Similarly, Ephesians 5:6b says the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience. Parents must fight and see that their children are obedient.
6. Hophni and Phinehas: These were two sons of Eli, the priest. They were no better than Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron. They engaged in abominable practices in the service of God and dishonoured the sacrifices of God. 1 Samuel 2:12 says, “Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the LORD” (NKJV). They were sons of Belial, scoundrels, evil and good-for-nothing men. Verse 17 goes further to summarize their sin: “So the sin of these young men was very serious in the LORD’s sight, for they treated the LORD’s offerings with contempt” (NLT).
God’s judgment, which God had warned their parents about, came upon them. It was inevitable since Eli couldn’t get them to repent. It was obvious that he had failed to discipline them as demanded by the Word of God. The two of them died in battle, same day. “So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. Also the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died” (1 Samuel 4:10-11 NKJV).
Their father also died from shock immediately after hearing the news of their death and the capture of the Ark of God. 1 Samuel 4:18 says, “Then it happened, when he made mention of the ark of God, that Eli fell off the seat backward by the side of the gate; and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years” (NKJV).
What happened to Eli, and other parents in the cases I have highlighted, are just examples of the tragedies children can bring upon their parents and the entire family if Satan succeeds in turning their hearts against the LORD. To avoid such irreparable damage, parents must arise swiftly and fight for their children. They must not allow ‘Herod’ (Satan) to destroy them because not only the children will suffer for it – everyone else connected to them will. Arise and fight for your children!
How to arise and fight for your children
Parents need to adopt an integrated approach to save their children from Satan’s destruction. If parents don’t fight for their children, they’ll allow the devil to have the upper hand. Parents must engage in battle and God is able to frustrate the plans of the enemy over their children. Job 5:12 says, “He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot carry out their plans” (NKJV). When parents stand up to confront the devil, God backs them up. Isaiah 44:25 says of God: “Who frustrates the signs of the babblers, and drives diviners mad; who turns wise men backward, and makes their knowledge foolishness” (NKJV). That will be the testimony of parents who’ll take up this challenge of Satan and defeat him. What should parents do?
1. Be a godly example to your children. An example is better than precept. Children are more likely to do what they see their parents do than what they hear their parents tell them. If there’s a contradiction between the two, children will do the former – what they see their parents doing.
Parents must be real and not pretenders or hypocrites. They must be the model of the kind of life they want their children to live and not just talk about it. Jesus told the disciples in John 13:15: “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (NKJV).
2. Teach your children the way of the Lord. Parents must start teaching their children the Word of God very early in life. That was what God expected of the children of Israel when He gave them the law. And that’s what He still expects of parents today. Deuteronomy 11:19 says, “You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (NKJV). God expects parents to use every available means and time to teach their children the word of God.
God said about Abraham: “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him” (Genesis 18:19 NKJV). This is what every parent should do. And only parents who do this will have children who’ll have peace because they are following the teachings of the Lord that they’ve received from their parents. “All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children” (Isaiah 54:13 NKJV).
This is another way for parents to arise and fight for their children lest the devil should take them over. Parents must not be too busy that they don’t train up their children in the way of the Lord. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (NKJV). To train up means to educate, nurture and guide. It also, by implication, means to discipline but I prefer to treat that separately. Ephesians 6:4b tells fathers to bring up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord. Parents who fail in this divine responsibility will live to regret it.
3. Discipline your children. Child discipline is a major part of parenting and any parent who fails in this regard will have children taken over by the devil. Proverbs 29:17 says, “Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul” (NKJV). The New Living Translation renders the verse thus: “Discipline your children, and they will give you happiness and peace of mind.” The converse is also true. Don’t discipline your children and they’ll give you sorrow and lack of peace of mind. That will not be your portion in Jesus’ name. Your children will not cause you sorrow; they will bring you joy.
Failure to discipline a child is a clear violation of the Word of God because God knows children will not turn out well on their own without discipline. They must be instructed; they must be disciplined. Proverbs 23:13-14 says, “Don’t fail to correct your children. They won’t die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death” (NLT). The New King James Version puts it this way: “Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.”
The Bible recommends physical punishment, where necessary, as part of the process of raising one’s child, notwithstanding what the law says to the contrary in some societies. Proverbs 20:30 says, “Physical punishment cleanses away evil; such discipline purifies the heart” (NLT). Proverbs 22:15 says a similar thing: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him” (NKJV).
Refusing to beat your child to correct or discipline him is contrary to the Word of God. The Bible knows that there are certain things our children won’t get or do right except we apply the rod of correction. Proverbs 29:15 says, “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (NKJV).
Our children don’t have to enjoy being disciplined. Parents also may not enjoy doing it but, all the same, parents have a responsibility to discipline their children and where necessary apply the rod of correction. Hebrews 12:11 says, “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening — it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (NLT). The New King James Version uses the word chastening in place of discipline.
To withhold the rod of discipline is to destroy your child. That does not however mean that a child should be flogged just for any misbehavior or be beaten without regard for his or her safety. You don’t beat a child to the point of injuring or killing him or her. That will be child abuse; that will be a criminal act. The Bible says, “Chastise your son while there is hope for him, but be careful not to flog him to death” (Proverbs 19:18 New English Bible).
If a child is wise and wants to turn out well in life, he’ll cooperate with his parents’ discipline. He knows it’s for his own good even though he may not enjoy it. Proverbs 13:1 says, “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke” (NKJV). The word instruction here also means discipline. “A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline; a young mocker refuses to listen” (Proverbs 13:1 NLT). Proverbs 9:8 says, “But the wise, when rebuked, will love you all the more” (NLT). Because wise sons don’t reject discipline, they learn and, thereby, become wiser. No one hates discipline and becomes wiser. “To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction” (Proverbs 12:1 NLT). But a foolish son won’t heed the instruction or discipline of his parents. He won’t respond to their words of wisdom; he’ll rather react against it. Proverbs 23:9 says, “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words” (NKJV).
Some children reject discipline and walk out on their parents. They grumble and say that their parents are archaic, not civilized or don’t know what is in vogue. That is acting and talking like a fool. Do you know as much as your parents in the school of life? “A fool despises his father’s instruction, but he who receives correction is prudent” (Proverbs 15:5 NKJV). Prudent or wise children learn from correction; they don’t reject it. Rebellious children always think they can handle their lives themselves. They assume everybody is wrong and they are right. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise” (Proverbs 12:15 NKJV). The New Living Translation renders it thus: “Fools think they need no advice, but the wise listen to others” (NLT). Every child who rejects discipline lives to regret it later in life. “I wish I had listened to my parents” is their usual refrain. But unfortunately, the damage has already been done.
When children are rejecting discipline, parents mustn’t give up the fight. They must hold on to the word of God and patiently wait to see the change they desire. But let me emphasize that it is also important that parents don’t provoke their children. This balance is necessary because many parents are guilty of this in raising their children. Ephesians 6:4 warns fathers, “Don’t make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord” (NLT). Colossians 3:21 says a similar thing: “Fathers, don’t aggravate your children. If you do, they will become discouraged and quit trying” (NLT). The King James Version uses the phrase “provoke not” in these two scriptures while J.B Phillips translation renders the phrase “don’t overcorrect.” The New Century Version puts Colossians 3:21 thus: “Fathers, do not nag your children. If you are too hard to please, they may want to stop trying.”
There’s another weapon in this battle that must be combined with other weapons already discussed. I’m discussing this last.
4. Engage in powerful intercession for the children: Parents must know that the greater the destiny of their children, the greater the attack of the devil against their lives. And the more the devil’s attack, the more intense the intercession of parents for their children should be. Parents’ intercession will provoke heaven’s intervention. Parents must arise as Nehemiah arose when he saw the situation confronting the people of Judah and urged the people not to give up. “And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses’” (Nehemiah 4:14 NKJV).
Parents mustn’t give God peace until the counsel of God is established in the lives of their children. They must cry to God in the day and cry to God in the night. They mustn’t allow God to rest until they see the change they desire in the lives of their children. Lamentation 2:19 says, “Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street” (NKJV).
Sometimes victory does not come immediately and easily. The battle may be long but you should, with faith and patience, pursue the fulfillment of the promises of God over your children (Hebrews 6:12). Don’t be so provoked by their wrong actions that you cancel your faith by negative words. Don’t curse them; purposely bless them. Remember, you shall have whatsoever you say (Mark 11:23).
Conclusion: Parents mustn’t allow the devil to fulfil Deuteronomy 28:32 in their lives. That Scripture says, “Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, and your eyes shall look and fail with longing for them all day long; and there shall be no strength in your hand” (NKJV). That won’t be your portion, as a parent, in Jesus’ name. To avoid this tragic experience take action today. Your children won’t be destroyed in Jesus’ name. Victory shall be yours in Jesus’ name. Arise, fight for your children!
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947