As I have studied verses about moms in the Bible, I notice 2 themes. First, mothers are instructed to teach their children. Second, there are blessings for children who follow a Godly mother’s instruction and joy for the mother when her children walk in her footsteps.
Today’s verse from Joel 1:3 falls into the first category encouraging mothers to teach their children.
Tell your children about it, and have your children tell their children, and their children, another generation.Joel 1:3
The book of Joel is a short 3 chapters. It’s a warning to the people of God to repent or face God’s judgement. The book begins with warning about the consequences of sin. First, locusts have destroyed the crops and the land (Joel 1:4), then a nation (an enemy) is coming against the people (Joel 1:6).
Joel is calling the people to attention. He’s asking them to recognize their situation is difficult and it’s time to repent and call on God.
Right before verse 4, Joel calls on parents to teach their children. He says to tell your children, and their children and the next generation.
What should parents to teach their children?
First, teach them of God’s justice and holiness. Teach them repentance.
Throughout the Old Testament we see God’s people and individuals (Moses, David, Solomon) who walk with God and then fall into sin and repent. Teach your children about these people and how their struggles with sin are our struggles with sin.
But also teach your children God’s faithfulness. When God’s people repent and call on him, he forgives their sin and protects them from enemies. God also meets their needs daily (the story of the Exodus).
Use examples from the Bible and parallel the stories with your own life and your own family experiences. Help your children see how God is working.
Last, it’s important to notice this verse is generational. The faith of the mother is passed to the children, who shares her faith with her children, and so forth. We have many examples in the Bible of grandmothers and mothers teaching the children their faith.
While the Bible doesn’t specifically state it, it seems that Moses’ mother must have taught him the faith of the Hebrews before he went to live with the Pharaoh’s daughter. How else would be have chosen to side with the Hebrews? Timothy, in the New Testament, is also noted to have been taught the faith of his grandmother and mother.
The faith we teach our children, even when they are very young, makes a life long impact on them and potentially many others.