Sunday, January 23, 2011

Who is a Rebellious Child?

Tim Challies posted a poem yesterday called The Rebellious Child by John Bunyan, which I copied below. I couldn't help but wonder this morning: who ought we consider a "Rebellious Child?" Those rascally teenagers in our youth group? Perhaps those texting tweens in the back pew?

Well, this morning's service offered some excellent insight that we read from the fifth commandment of the Westminster Larger Cathecism. I thought I'd share it here:
"Question 123: Which is the fifth commandment?
Answer: The fifth commandment is, Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God gives thee.
Question 124: Who are meant by father and mother in the fifth commandment?
Answer: By father and mother, in the fifth commandment, are meant, not only natural parents, but all superiors in age and gifts; and especially such as, by God's ordinance, are over us in place of authority, whether in family, church, or commonwealth."
Taken in this light, the fifth commandment takes on a whole new level of conviction where I think we can all see how short we fall of God's glory in this regard. Here is Bunyan's poem:
Children become, while little, our delights!

When they grow bigger, they begin to fright’s.

Their sinful nature prompts them to rebel,

And to delight in paths that lead to hell.

Their parents’ love and care they overlook,

As if relation had them quite forsook.

They take the counsels of the wanton’s, rather

Than the most grave instructions of a father.

They reckon parents ought to do for them,

Though they the fifth commandment do contemn;

They snap and snarl if parents them control,

Though but in things most hurtful to the soul.

They reckon they are masters, and that we

Who parents are, should to them subject be!

If parents fain would have a hand in choosing,

The children have a heart will in refusing.

They’ll by wrong doings, under parents gather,

And say it is no sin to rob a father.

They’ll jostle parents out of place and power,

They’ll make themselves the head, and them devour.

How many children, by becoming head,

Have brought their parents to a piece of bread!

Thus they who, at the first, were parents joy,

Turn that to bitterness, themselves destroy.

But, wretched child, how canst thou thus requite

Thy aged parents, for that great delight

They took in thee, when thou, as helpless, lay

In their indulgent bosoms day by day?

Thy mother, long before she brought thee forth,

Took care thou shouldst want neither food nor cloth.

Thy father glad was at his very heart,

Had he to thee a portion to impart.

Comfort they promised themselves in thee,

But thou, it seems, to them a grief wilt be.

How oft, how willingly brake they their sleep,

If thou, their bantling, didst but winch or weep.

Their love to thee was such they could have giv’n,

That thou mightst live, almost their part of heav’n.

But now, behold how they rewarded are!

For their indulgent love and tender care;

All is forgot, this love he doth despise.

They brought this bird up to pick out their eyes.
Ouch. True, so true. Oh Lord! We are such rebellious creatures. Your word tells us that when we rebel in this way, causing fights and quarrels with evil motives, we are rebelling against Your law (James 4). Lord, I find myself doing this again and again with brothers and sisters in You, but more importantly with those "Mothers and Fathers" which have been given by Your ordinance. May this never be. Make our hearts new in this area and continue to sanctify us when it comes to this sin (especially in my life!).

And then we can turn to Your Word -- remembering and holding onto this:

2 Cor. 5: 15 "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

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