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October 25, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.”—Daniel 1:3–4 (NKJV)
We’re influenced by our upbringing, education, the media, philosophies, and religious beliefs. Nebuchanezzar’s master of the eunuchs, Ashpenaz, was to take gifted Israelite boys (ages 13-17) and train them up in the Babylonian system. These young Israelite boys had to learn the language and teachings of the Babylonians.
However, before being taken in by the Babylonians, parents and teachers of these young men heeded the instruction of Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV), which states, “Train up a child in the way they should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Therefore, they had already been trained in God’s ways and they possessed godly insight, true knowledge, and understanding.
Deuteronomy 11:19-20 (NKJV) further instructs us to train our children in the ways of the Lord by saying, “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. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Pastor Doug Sauder has taught that “we are responsible for the souls of the next generation!” We have been called and commissioned by the Lord to teach our children and the next generation by our example. As parents, teachers, business people, and leaders in the church, we need to be a godly influence to the youth.
A sobering statistic from Barna research reveals by the year 2050, 35 million young people will leave the church. That’s roughly 1 million youth each year. By the time they graduate high school, they will walk away from the church in which they were raised.
According to Scripture, we are living in the last days, before Jesus returns or calls us home to heaven, and as such, the world will increasingly become more and more challenging. Every generation has its faith tested.
Children are primarily influenced at home. Knowing this—as a parent, step-parent, grandparent, relative, or foster parent—make sure you are building godly character in the children you influence. Spend time with them. Be a godly example to them. Pray with and intercede for them. Do devotions together that speak their language and disciple them in the ways of the Lord.
My wife and I have two precious grandchildren who are vulnerable and teachable. Every day we seek the Lord to show us how we can come alongside them to be a godly influence. We are asking God for the wisdom and knowledge to help us fulfill our God-given role. We have the torch of the good news and answers of life that we need to hand off.
DIG: What does this passage tell us about these Israelite boys? Why did the king want them?
DISCOVER: How were you influenced in your teenage years?
DO: What steps you can take to influence the youth God has placed in your life? Who has the Lord placed in your life?