Words that Lead, Watch Over, and Talk With Children (Proverbs 6:22-23)
When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. ²³For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life. —Proverbs 6:22-23
Fathers and mothers have the unique opportunity to disciple their children with God’s words. The instruction of God-fearing parents actively leads, watches over, and talks with children, lighting life’s path and equipping them to face sin and suffering. I’m thankful for my Proverbs 6:22-23 grandmothers who spoke words that lead, watch over, and talk with me—especially as I consider the frightening reality of death.
My great-great-great-great Grandmother, Elizabeth, whose last decades were impacted by the Civil War, penned these words at the end of her life:
Fear the Lord. Obey his commandments. I’ve done so and it led me to repentance, whereby I obtained the forgiveness of my sins. Then began my life by faith in his promises and love to God and faith in Christ…When it seems as though the very roots of our life, the foundations of our hopes, the springs and fountains of all our joys are removed, we can not at such times do otherwise than mourn. The heart will grieve and tears will flow and dark waves will roll over us, nevertheless it may all be well. It may be sent in kindness and love, and amid the apparent frowns there may be smiles and blessings, the darkest clouds are pregnant with showers. We do not always see things as they really are; well may the poet say,
“Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust him for his grace. Behind the frowning providence, he hides a smiling face.”
When Providence seems to us to frown, we may be emerging into a field of light.
Years later her great granddaughter, my Granny Anne, would be in her own dark cloud called Alzheimer’s. Providence seemed to frown on all of us who loved her. The last time I saw her, she didn’t recognize me. I brought along a devotional she had sent to me years earlier that quoted Psalm 103. I opened my Bible and read the chapter. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
“Hallelujah!” Granny Anne interrupted, grinning ear to ear. For one brief moment, we enjoyed a field of light as we praised our Savior for His grace.
Both Elizabeth and Anne found hope and joy in their last days in God’s forgiveness of their sins. They were anchored in the grace of God which “has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10). If, like them, I fill my soul with the fear of the Lord who abolished death, there is no room to fear it.
Will you join Elizabeth, Anne, and me? Teach your children to fear the Lord, obey His commandments, and anchor their soul in the grace of God. We all will experience dark clouds. But they are fleeting. Soon the field of light will break in forever. For all who are in Christ, our Hallelujahs will never end.
What instruction from parents, grandparents, or spiritual parents has God used to lead, watch over, or talk with you?
What would you like your children, grandchildren, or spiritual children to know most about God in order to provide light that will guide them?
Ask the Lord to help you speak truth and live it out before them as a faithful example to follow.
Rebecca Cedillo serves as the children’s ministry director at Immanuel Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. She enjoys equipping the saints with Fighter Verses resources for Sunday School and family worship. Rebecca is married to Dominic, who is an elder at Immanuel. When not serving the church, they are cultivating their farmhouse fixer-upper and land with their two teenagers.