“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.”
Very few things are harder to see than a parent dealing with a wayward child. They love that child dearly and do everything in their power to try and bring the child back, but sadly the child pushes them away to go live their own life. What is most troubling about situations like this is that most of these parents blame themselves for the child’s wayward ways.
To every parent who is reading this devotional, let me encourage you that even God talks about Israel being His wayward child. He said that He “nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.” If God couldn’t make His children do right, I would think that you are no better than He. However, when I look at this chapter, I see three reasons why children go wayward.
First, they go wayward because they forget what their parents have done for them. The verse above says that God “nourished and brought them up,” but they forgot all that He did for them and rebelled against Him. Most wayward children are wrapped up in themselves and have never stopped one time to consider everything their parents did for them as a child. I truly believe that a child would never rebel if they considered how much their parents invested in them. The wayward child’s parents may have never gone to watch them at one of their outside activities, but their parents provided for them and made sure they never went without. The problem is not that the parents haven’t done anything for them, but the problem is the child has forgotten all that their parents invested in them.
Second, the wayward child has a bad heart. Verses 4-5 show that the head of the wayward child is “sick” and their heart “faint.” Rebellion always comes down to the heart. If you have a good heart, you don’t care how much someone does for you because you are pleased that they would do anything for you. Only one person can change the heart of a wayward child and that is God. That is why the prodigal son’s father never went after his son when he left, because he knew that only God could change his son’s heart. If your child has gone wayward, you are going to have to commit them to the LORD and let Him change their heart.
Third, the wayward child has no purpose in serving the LORD. To me, this is the biggest reason a child chooses wayward ways. Verse 11 shows that they have no reason as to why they go through spiritual activities. The difference between the child who does right and the child who goes wayward is that one sits at spiritual activities and does nothing while the other involves themselves in those activities. You can always tell when a child is going the wrong direction by how involved they are in the activities of the church. If all they do is sit and never do anything, you had better watch out because they are going a different direction.
My friend, it is not always the fault of a parent that a child goes wayward. It always comes down to the heart of the child. The best way to keep a child from going wayward is to get their heart involved in the ways of the LORD when they are young and keep them tied to those ways throughout their teenage years. You will have a better chance to keep them from going wayward if you direct their heart towards the LORD.