10 Crucial Grandparenting Lessons Learned in the Bible (Part 2)

Part 1 of this blog shared the first five crucial lessons grandparents can learn from the Bible. In Part 2, you will discover five more lessons!

Blessings are serious business.

We need only look at twin brothers Jacob and Esau again to see this. Consider for a moment Jacob’s shrewd act of tricking Esau out of his birthright. From Esau’s response, it appears that the birthright wasn’t such a big deal. We see, in fact, that his only response is to despise it (Genesis 25:29-34). No where do we read of Esau trying to regain his birthright by taking his case before Isaac. Nor do we read of him trying to renegotiate it with Jacob.

However, take a look at Esau’s response when tricked out of his father’s blessing.

This time Esau totally loses it, to the point he was ready to kill his brother. Certainly, there was more to blessing than most of us understand today.

Old Testament blessings from father to son contained several elements. Among others, they included words of encouragement and affirmation, details regarding the son’s inheritance, and prophetic words concerning the future. Father-to-son blessings are prevalent in the book of Genesis. Here, we read, many formal blessings bestowed upon sons by the patriarchs. And Grandpa Jacob blessed his grandsons as well (Genesis 48:9).

Blessings are powerful and important in the lives of others. This was true in Bible times and remains true today. To receive a blessing is a high honor. On the other hand, to not receive one is commensurate with a curse.

From Grandpa Jacob, we learn the incredible power of blessing and the importance of speaking one over our grandchildren. A spoken blessing serves as a conduit through which we affirm our grandchildren’s worth as children of God. Within our words lies the incredible power to bless or to curse.

This lesson comes to us from the grandparents of Jesse (the great-grandparents of David), Ruth and Boaz.

Ruth was a Moabite and daughter-in-law to Naomi, an Israelite living in Moab. Upon the deaths of all the men in the family, Ruth was the one to take great risk. She left her home, her family, and her gods to follow Naomi back home. Their people enemies, Ruth was a foreigner in a strange and hostile land.

Boaz, Ruth’s eventual redeemer-husband, was most likely, based on biblical record, the son of Rahab. Recall that Rahab was a non-Jewish woman and former prostitute who survived Israel’s conquest of Jericho because she hid the Jewish spies and helped them escape.

What a mess! But God…. Who delights in making beautiful things out of ugly messes.

Our lesson here is that there is absolutely no mess too big or too ugly for God. Lavish in love, He offers redemption and grace.

Here’s another lesson from Grandma Ruth and Grandpa Boaz.

Recall their history and lineage. Can you imagine the stories Boaz heard as a boy? Stories of God’s incredible work in Jericho and in the lives of Rahab’s family? The redemption story of a foreigner and harlot who was saved by the grace of God and grafted into Israel’s tree?

I’m sure the personal testimony of God’s lavish love poured out on Rahab affected Boaz. Quite likely it had great effect on the way he viewed Ruth the day he saw her gleaning in his field and discovered who she was. I imagine he saw something familiar and dear in this woman who left everything to embrace Naomi, her nation, and her God.

Reminding us of who God is and Whose we are, our God-stories are important. They help to shape our children and grandchildren and provide them with a sense of identity.

We find this lesson in the example of Hannah, grandmother to Joel. Years before becoming a grandma, Hannah persevered in waiting upon the Lord. Her poignant story is recorded in 1 Samuel chapter one.

In this chapter we read that Hannah desperately yearned to be a mom. Here as well, we read that “year after year” Elkanah, Hannah’s husband, went to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice (1 Samuel 1:3). We are not told for how many years this went on. But even two would be a long time when waiting for a child. Yet, wait she did, and while she waited, Hannah prayed. I’m sure at times it felt as though she were praying for something she would never receive. Yet she did not give up. In fact, quite the opposite occurred. Hannah grew to the place where she was able to offer back to God, the one thing she was so desperately waiting for. In her persistent waiting, Hannah’s faith grew. Her focus shifted away from herself and toward God’s glory.

From Grandma Hannah, we learn that God, working in a multitude of ways, uses our waiting to grow our faith. While we may not be waiting for a child, we can certainly follow her example of perseverance. We can wait upon the Lord when finances are tight. We can persevere when family dynamics are strained or when our grandchild walks away from God. Rather than giving up, we can allow the wait to grow our faith knowing that perseverance produces character, and character produces hope (Romans 5:3-5).

Scripture is clear that God is the God of many generations. The idea is even found in one of the names God gives to Himself (Exodus 3:6a). Additionally, His perfect design for generational interaction can be found in Psalm 145.

The importance of living with a generational mindset is not limited to the Old Testament, however. In the New Testament, it is recorded that Timothy’s grandmother was the starting point of a sincere faith. One that was seen in both her daughter and her grandson (2 Timothy 1:5). Also, later in the same book of the Bible, we learn from Paul that Timothy had been learning about God from his grandmother since childhood (2 Timothy 3:14-15).

Grandma Lois had a generational mindset. She did not work hard to cultivate faith in her daughter and stop there. No, she continued working, investing in the next generation. Lois discipled Timothy, influencing him just as she had her daughter. This grandma set the foundation for Timothy to develop into the man that he did.

In a culture that shouts to us that our work is finished, and we have earned time all to ourselves, we would do well to keep this lesson in mind. Generations are important to God.

The Bible is clear. We are to make the things of God known to our grandchildren (Deuteronomy 4:9). We are to pass to them a heritage of faith (Psalm 78:4). With great conviction and resolve, we must resist the temptations to call our work finished. We must shun the notion that discipling our grandchildren is not our work.

Also, we must understand that the value of our relationship with our grandchildren is not to be dismissed. Lois valued her relationship with Timothy and through it was able to have great influence on his life. According to a Barna study, grandparents have the most influence on their grandchildren of anyone other than parents. We must understand that our relationship with our grandchildren is a priority, a place where we can disciple them from an early age, passing a heritage of faith.

There is so much the Bible can teach us about being a godly grandparent if we will but look and listen.

May we be grandparents who take to heart and exemplify these crucial lessons. And as we grow in our grandparenting, may it be said of us as it was of Grandpa Jotham (Hezekiah’s grandfather), “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord (2 Kings 15:34).

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