10 Crucial Grandparenting Lessons Learned in the Bible (Part 1)

I grew up in church. And honestly, looking back over the years, I can cite many instances where sermons were preached, lessons were taught, or conferences were held on the topics of marriage and parenting. But for the life of me, I do not recall even one – ever – on grandparenting.

It’s sad, really. Because the role is so very important, and the Bible has much to teach us about it.

Consider the following 10 crucial lessons the Bible has for grandparents.

Our priorities can easily get all twisted up. Can’t they? I mean between family and jobs and responsibilities and calendars, many of us find the urgent things all too often crowding out the important. But it wasn’t so with Enoch.

The grandfather of Lamech and great-grandfather of Noah, it is said that Enoch “walked with God” (Genesis 5:22). Now get this, he didn’t just walk with God for a season or two or when things were easy. No, he walked with God for three hundred years, during an age of terrible corruption. Such corruption that God, in fact, wiped out the entire world (minus Enoch’s grandson’s family) a mere two generations later.  

As we read about his life, we learn much. Enoch lived against the grain of society and became the first man to experience something even Adam had not, the true delight of walking with God. He learned how to commune with God in every moment and circumstance of life.

You know his miraculous story. It is recorded in Genesis 5:24 that Enoch did not die. Instead, he was taken up because he pleased God (Hebrews 11:5). How did he please God? By walking with Him. Enoch’s example indicates God’s desire for us to walk with Him.

And how did Enoch’s walk affect his relationship with his grandson? I think it’s safe to say that Enoch passed his belief in and love of the Lord on to his grandson, Noah, whose family was the only one to be saved from the flood.

Grandpa Enoch clearly shows us that walking with God is our priority. A lifetime priority that might very well require us to walk against the grain of society – yet be our greatest delight.

This lesson comes to us through Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham. We first meet this grandpa in Genesis chapter eleven where his name is Abram.

Soon after the introduction, we read that Abram was called by God to leave his country and his family (Genesis 12:1). Remarkably, just three verses later, we read that Abram, without any knowledge of where he was going or what was in store for him, did just as God had directed (Genesis 12:4).

Leaving wasn’t in Abram’s plan. Relocating was not on his agenda. He wasn’t given any details, let alone a map or item-by-item itinerary. Yet, he went – without dragging his feet.

Prompt obedience is one of the most valuable lessons we can learn from Abraham. Some of us are planners. Most of us want details. We “need” to know where we are going and how we are going to get there. But this was not the case with Abraham. It certainly may have taken him some time to pack up the family and make final preparations for the trip, but in his mind, Abraham was already on the way as soon as God called.

When God spoke, he listened. When God commanded, he obeyed (Hebrews 11:8).

And, of course, we cannot leave this lesson or this teacher without mentioning Isaac and the altar. Yet another profound example of prompt obedience. An obedience that can only come from knowing God and having complete trust in Him.

Prayer is expected (Matthew 6:9, Luke 11:9, and Luke 18:1). And just so we don’t miss that fact, an abundance of examples are provided for us throughout the pages of the Bible. Modeled in the Old Testament are the prayers of the patriarchs and prophets. In the New Testament, Jesus leaves us His example of prayer for His disciples, for Peter, for those who crucified Him, and for believers throughout eternity. Recorded in Acts are the prayers of the members of the early church who prayed for the spiritual needs of one another, for physical needs and healing, and for those being commissioned into service. And we mustn’t forget all the examples of prayer found in the epistles.

Moses, the grandfather of Shebuel (1 Chronicles 26:24), was a convincing teacher when it comes to this lesson. In continual conversation with God, his recorded prayers are plentiful. For example, in Exodus 15, we read his prayer of praise for deliverance from the hand of Pharaoh. Prayers of intercession for the Israelites are recorded in Exodus 32 and 33. And we don’t want to overlook his Psalm 90 prayer or his prayer of pleading to see God’s glory (Exodus 33:18-19). Moses took this lesson to heart. He prayed!

Prayer is a beautiful, multi-faceted gift from our Heavenly Father. One that invites us into His presence (Revelation 3:20) and is our great weapon in spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12-18). And if that weren’t enough, this precious gift is one that cannot be bound by the limitations of miles, generational gaps, or family members who do not want us to share Christ.

By His choice, our prayers are the means by which God chooses to act in the lives of our children and grandchildren. He expects our prayers. They bring Him glory, and He delights in them.

This is a powerful lesson, and it comes to us by way of Joseph’s grandparents Isaac and Rebekah.

Before becoming grandparents, this couple was blessed with twins. But soon after reading about the birth of these twin boys, we read something quite telling, “Isaac … loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob” (Genesis 25:28).

Isaac and Rebekah played favorites with their sons, and it proved to be a very dangerous game. Instead of growing up as close-knit brothers, these boys grew to become fierce rivals. In fact, when all was said and done, poached birthrights, mother-son deceptions, and stolen blessings fueled one of the worst rivalries in history.

The negative outcome of showing partiality is demonstrated to us by Isaac and Rebekah. In His Word, God instructs us not to show favoritism (James 2:1, 9). As well, we know from Scripture that Christ died for all (John 3:16), and that God Himself shows no favoritism (Romans 2:11). Clearly, as grandparents, we must avoid ever showing favoritism toward any of our grandchildren.

Marriage is to be founded on God, and our commitment to it unwavering.

While Grandpa Isaac provided us with one lesson on what-not-to-do, he also teaches us a compelling positive lesson. In a time when multiple wives and concubines were common, we see from the Bible that Isaac was faithful to Rebekah. No, they were not perfect, neither was their relationship perfect. Yet, in a marriage founded on God, they remained committed to one another no matter what.

In a culture of little commitment and follow-through, where marriage is considered lightly and viewed as disposable, we need to be grandparents who model biblical marriage no matter how tough things get.

Part 2 of this blog covers five more crucial lessons grandparents can learn from the Bible.

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