My oldest daughter wanted to know the answer to some random question that she had, so we looked it up on the Internet. In the course of our conversation, I mentioned to her that when we were in school, we didn't have the Internet. She looked at me in shock and said, "How did you look things up?" I explained that we looked things up in books and encyclopedias -- which led to a long explanation of what an encyclopedia was. Today's kids have a vast array of resources from which to get their questions answered -- all available at the click of a button. It's tough to teach our kids that not everything they read on the Internet is true, and it's even more difficult to teach them what constitutes a reliable source of information. With so much information readily available at their fingertips, teaching them to discern the wisdom from the ridiculous is a daunting task.
Even as adults, our first inclination when we need information is to "google" it. We seek parenting advice, job advice and relationship advice on the Internet. Yet, our first source of wisdom shouldn't be Google. It should be God.
Ahab was a king of Israel in the Old Testament. He did the B.C. equivalent of googling when he wanted some wisdom on whether he should go to war. He turned to Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, and asked him what he should do. Jehoshaphat answered "But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the LORD” (1 Kings 22:5). So, Ahab called together his 200 "prophets" who all said he should go to war. Jehoshaphat wasn't convinced, though. He asked Ahab, "Is there no longer a prophet of the LORD here whom we can inquire of?" (1 Kings 22:7)
So, Ahab sent for the prophet Micaiah of whom he said "There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the LORD, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad" (1 Kings 22:8) When Micaiah came, he prophesied death and defeat for Ahab. Ahab ignored him, had Micaiah thrown in jail and went to war anyway. Ahab died in battle.
With so many sources of "wisdom" available to him, Ahab followed the advice of his 200 prophets instead of the wisdom of the God. Helping our kids learn to turn to God and not the Internet or their friends teaches our children the true source of wisdom. But, how, do we make turning to God the first place our kids want to turn?
- Examine your own life. Do you turn to God first when you need wisdom? Do you seek out what the Bible says and pray about the situation before making a decision? Your children will learn what they see you live. If they see you turn to Google or pick up the phone and call your friends before they see you seek out what God has to say, they will learn to do the same. There's nothing wrong with gathering information on a problem, but we need to seek God's wisdom first.
- Introduce your kids to an online Bible program, such as Bible Gateway. Use the Internet to seek God's advice. Show them how to type in a word and pull up all the Bible has to say on that word. For example, if your child is having trouble with friends, open the program, type in friends and read all the verses the Bible has on friends.
- Pray with your children for wisdom when they are facing a difficult issue. Ask God to show them what they need to do.
- Talk with your children about seeking God first. Ask them if they think the wisdom of Google and their friends is better than the wisdom of God. Talk about how God has given us great resources for gaining wisdom, but He wants us to seek and follow His wisdom first. Share the story of Ahab with your kids and compare the 200 prophets to seeking wisdom for other sources than God.
As you memorize 1 Kings 22:5 this week, remember that God is the ultimate source of wisdom and choose to help your kids seek God's wisdom first.