“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
God commands the fathers to “provoke not your children to wrath.” To provoke means to make angry or to fill them with wrath. When you look at the verse above, God shows what will bring a child to anger or wrath is when a parent doesn’t nurture or admonish them in the manner that the LORD would if He parented your child. When children don’t receive the nurture and admonition they need, they become frustrated to the point that they get angry on the inside. Your children may never tell you what is going on in the inside, but if you don’t want to frustrate or provoke your children to wrath, you had better nurture and admonish them in the way the LORD desires. There are seven ways to nurture and admonish your children.
First, bring them up, don’t push them down. God says to “bring them up,” which implies you should strive to get them closer to God and not to push them away from Him. The way you live will either bring them up or push them down. You need to look at your lifestyle honestly to see if it is a life bringing your children closer to the LORD.
Second, encourage them, don’t discourage them. The word “nurture” means to encourage. Be careful that you are not the type of parent who constantly discourages or tears down your child. Your job as a parent is to nurture them and encourage them so that they believe the LORD can use them.
Third, give them clear direction. The word “admonish” carries several definitions from where we get the rest of the advice in this devotional. Admonishing your children is to give them clear direction of what they are to do. You can’t assume your children know what to do, and you can’t expect your children to read your mind. Your job as a parent is to make clear to your children what you expect them to do. You will confuse and frustrate your children if your directions constantly change. Give them clear directions and expectations, and don’t change them at your every whim.
Fourth, instruct them in the ways of the LORD. To admonish them means to instruct them in their duties. Every child should have duties in the house, and you must clearly define those duties and when you expect them to be done. When you give your children duties, don’t you do them, but you make sure they are accomplishing the duties properly.
Fifth, reprove them when needed. To admonish means to reprove or correct. Every child needs correction at times. A child that is never punished when they do wrong will bring heartache to their parents when they get older. You may think it is cruel to punish your children, but it’s more cruel not to punish your child and let life punish them.
Sixth, caution them when you see danger. Your children need to be cautioned when you see something that will hurt them. Whether it is a friend, decision or action that may hurt them, you would be wise to caution your children when they are about to do something that will hurt them.
Seventh, advise them when they need help. Never push your children aside when they come to you for advice. Be there for them because you will rue the day when they stop coming to you for advice. If you are always there to advise them when they need help, you will find that they will come back to you for advice when they need it again.