He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been. – 1 Kings 15:3 (NIV)
Sin is a problem, but not an unsolvable one. The passage above happens with tragic repetition through 1st and 2nd Kings highlighting the problem of sin and pointing to the solution. The problem is being complicit with our sinfulness rather than struggling against it. David isn’t brought up in this passage because he was without sin, but that he struggled against it. At his core, David desired to be right with God, even when he messed up. David’s offspring, however, seem to have lost a heart for God.
There is much to be said for wisdom, strength and talent, but none of them get us anywhere good if they are not ruled by a heart surrendered to God. Too often we define ourselves by those things that the world and those around us value. These kings thought they were being good kings by giving the people other gods to worship, building powerful armies and constructing mighty cities, but this is a worldly view. God wanted men who would lead the people to His heart.
God is still calling for his children to break away from the sins of their fathers and mothers. He is calling them to seek the heart of their heavenly Father and run from sin. He is asking them to be like David, who though he struggled, returned again and again to his God with a contrite heart. The world wants to teach our children that they have excuses and rationales for their sinful behavior, or even worse, that their behavior isn’t sinful at all. Not only do we as parents have to struggle against sin, we have struggle with a world that wants to convince our children that sin doesn’t exist.
I want my daughters to have hearts that belong to God, who seek Him earnestly and pursue righteousness, but they will never feel the need for any of it if they don’t understand their sinful state. Teaching them about their sinful bent is less about shoving sin in their face and more about helping them see it with their own eyes. It is far better for them to discover the error of their ways than to be slapped in the face with them. It is about speaking the truth in love, about gentleness and mercy.
Lord, help me lead my children to a discovery of their sinfulness so they can turn to You for righteousness. May they not fall into the sins of their father, but have hearts that strive after You. Give us all hearts for You and You alone. Amen.