Train Up A Child In The Way He Should Go

by Reagan McClenny


Scripture: Prov 22:6 Dec 24, 2023

Reagan McClenny explores four possible interpretations of Proverbs 22:6 ("Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it") - training a child in God's way, training according to the child's nature, training while the child is young, and warning against letting a child do whatever they want. He emphasizes that while the verse describes a general truth, there are exceptions, so parents should not feel guilty if their children depart from the training. The preacher encourages parents to train their children in God's ways to the best of their ability, knowing that it can impact them even later in life.


Would you take out your Bible, please, and turn to the book of Proverbs. Proverbs chapter 22. Proverbs 22. And we'll be reading verse 6, and that will provide the primary text for our lesson this evening. Proverbs 22 and verse 6. And if you'll make the effort to turn to the book of Proverbs, in the wisdom literature of your Old Testament, just about the middle of your Bible, Then most of the scriptures that we'll use tonight come from the Book of Proverbs.

In fact, you won't have to turn out of the Book of Proverbs, we'll reference some others, but the passages that we'll turn to and read will all come from the Book of Proverbs. One of the best known of all of the Proverbs is Proverbs 22, and verse 6, 'Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

What is your initial reaction to this verse? Comfort and confidence? Fear, sorrow and regret? Maybe pride or anger or confusion? Certainly it has caused all of those reactions and more. Maybe even among, even the people just in this room. But what does that verse really mean? Well, I want to be fully transparent from the beginning of the lesson.

Maybe this is unwise to do, you know, 45 seconds in. But I'm not entirely sure. I'm not entirely sure about what exactly this verse means. Advice that I got from an older preacher a number of years ago. Is that when we get up to give a sermon, we need to preach with periods, not with question marks. I think maybe I've shared that with you before.

When you get up to preach you need to get up and have a pretty good idea of what it is you're talking about. Knowing you're going to receive a stricter judgment and all those sorts of things. And so I'm always hesitant to get up and say, you know, I don't know. In a class setting, it's a little different.

I get questions all the time and sometimes you just have to say, I'm not sure, I've studied it, but I'm not sure. Maybe here are some possibilities. But in my study of this particular verse in the Bible, I've narrowed the meaning down to four possible interpretations. And I realized that they might be helpful.

Those interpretations might be helpful to parents and grandparents. And others who are seeking to train their children now or are grappling with the training as they've already done with their children to this point. When it comes to parenting specifically, you know, I still have lots of question marks in general.

And I have question marks about this verse particularly. But let's start with doing something with addressing something I know with certainty about this verse. And it is the part that brings the most guilt, usually, in the minds and hearts of parents. Especially those who have unfaithful children.

Whatever the first part of this verse means, train up a child in the way he should go, he will not depart from it, we know, is a general truth in an ideal world. This is a general truth. This is a truth, we might say, that is a rule, but there are exceptions to that rule. A great example of this is another verse from the book of Proverbs.

Proverbs chapter 12 and verse 21. It says this, No harm befalls the righteous, but the wicked are filled with trouble. I ask you, has harm ever befallen the righteous? Can I hear your head rattle on that one? Yeah, absolutely so. I use this verse particularly because it fits so well in the trio of books that go together in the wisdom literature.

Do we have a book in the Bible, nearby the book of Proverbs, that shows that this cannot be an absolute statement? That shows that this cannot be true in every instance? That this is not a promise from God, but just an expression of a general truth? What book is that? The book of Job. That's exactly right.

A whole book. A whole book that is devoted to the harm that befalls the righteous. And so what we see as we consider the book of Proverbs is that this is what the book of Proverbs is. The book of Proverbs is a book about the probability, not the promises of wisdom. That if you live your life in this sort of wise way, according to the wisdom that comes from God and other wise sources, then the probability is that you're going to have these results that come with it.

And yet, right alongside the book of Proverbs, we have the book of Job, that is an example of an exception to this rule. That, you know, sometimes, even when you live your life with great wisdom, as Job did, that there's going to be an exception. And you still have to live your life with integrity. Even if you have to deal with the realities of that exception.

And then the book of Ecclesiastes ties a nice bow on these two realities wrestling with this idea of wisdom. And how wisdom applies to somebody who doesn't have God in their life. And so, I've put it this way This is original to me, but these thoughts are not original to me. Proverbs is, you reap what you sow.

That this is generally the case. If you live your life this way, this is the result of that. Job is, but not always. There are exceptions to that rule that you reap what you sow. And then Ecclesiastes draws the conclusion. So, if generally you reap what you sow, in terms of what is wise. But that's not always the case.

What does that leave for us to do? Well, we should fear God. That's the reality of what it leaves for us as Christians, as those who are trying to follow God. So this idea of train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it, is this you reap what you sow? This is the general truth.

Know that that is not always the case. And so what is required of us, whatever the ultimate outcome is,

A promise from God is something that is a certainty. And I would suggest that this passage is not such a promise. Probability leaves room for exceptions. And we do see exceptions to this verse, don't we? Children who were raised in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, who were trained, who have now become unfaithful as adults.

Children, on the other hand, who were not raised in Chil in Christian homes, who were not trained up in the way that they should go as it relates to the Lord, and yet now, as adults, they have come to the Lord and are living faithfully in the, in the precepts of the Lord. There are exceptions to the rule, is the point of all of this.

So with that context in mind, Understanding that this verse is a general truth, however we understand it, let me suggest four possible interpretations of what the first part of this verse means. Now there is the traditional interpretation, the one that most of us know and have heard growing up, and this is The majority view, most people believe this, about this verse.

Train up a child in the way he should go means to train up a child in the way he ought to go. The way he should go according to the precepts of God. That phrase, the way, at least in the book of Proverbs and perhaps in the wisdom literature generally, primarily refers to the right way of God. And it's often contrasted with the way of the fool or the sinner.

So there's basically two ways that you can go in life. You can follow what God says in His Word. You can follow the wisdom that comes from God and righteousness. Or you can follow the way of the fool and the sluggard and those who don't follow God's wisdom. And we see that contrast in Proverbs chapter 4.

If you want to turn over there. Now here are the pages turning, Proverbs chapter 4.

Let's read verses 10 through 15 together. Proverbs 15. So the two paths, the two ways. Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many. I have taught you the way of wisdom. I have led you in right paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble.

Take firm hold of instruction. Do not let it go. Keep her, for she is your life. On the other hand, verse 14, do not enter the path of the wicked and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it. Do not travel on it. Turn away from it and pass on. And so what that indicates to us is that certainly we should train up a child in the way of the Lord, in the way of wisdom, and right, and righteous paths.

And, and every parent has that duty from God. There's a right way and there's a wrong way. And children who are well trained in the way of righteousness are more than likely to choose the right way. And this does seem to be the most natural reading of the text, at least in English. That we should train up a child in the way he or she ought to go.

But the second interpretation I'm going to call the John Adams interpretation. That's not John Adams the president. That's John, Big John, who used to be an elder here for, for many, many years. And I call it the John Adams interpretation, first of all, because John was One of a kind. He was a unique character, right?

And that's kind of what's implied by his interpretation. But this is not unique to him. But he is the first one that I heard this particular interpretation from. I preached a lesson and referenced this verse, and he came up to me and mumbled around for a little bit until I finally figured out what he was saying.

I'm like, oh, he disagrees with me. And you know what? He might be right on this. The John Adams interpretation is this. Train up a child. in accordance with his nature. That is, train up a child in the way he should go, with the emphasis being on he, in accordance with that particular child. Not, not all children, and how you might train all children, but you know your particular child.

And we know that every child is different. What is fair, and what is right, and what is just for every child is different to a certain degree. And so as parents, we should know our children and raise them from that perspective. We should consider their personalities, their idiosyncrasies, their, their gender perhaps, their intellect, their different talents and abilities, their hearts, and more, when seeking to train them in the way they should go.

And so, the freedoms The consequences and punishments, the harshness or gentleness of our rebuke or teaching or training or reproving, and more. is all going to be influenced by the nature and heart of that specific child. Does that make sense? Think about Proverbs chapter 13 and verse 1. Proverbs chapter 13 and verse 1.

There's another contrast. Proverbs is full of contrasts.

Proverbs 13 and verse 1. A wise son heeds his father's instructions. But a scoffer does not listen even to rebuke. What's described in that one verse, and we see this throughout Proverbs, we see this in the teachings of Jesus, and so on and so forth, what's described is that we've got, we've got two different hearts.

And how we train up those two hearts needs to be somewhat different. You have one heart that is wise, and is obedient, and is submissive, and listens, and follows through, and wants to please his or her parents. And then you've got a different kind of heart, a heart that is somewhat rebellious, that rolls the eyes and scoffs at what the parents would tell him or her to do.

And the way we address those two different kinds of hearts is going to be different. In both cases, we need to come back to the Scriptures. In both cases, we need to follow God's Word, of course. But our training is going to be different. And much of this has to do with the stubbornness of the individual child, how stubborn are they in doing what's right, and the amount of trust that we have for these particular children as well.

And we know that trust is something that's earned. And once given, that trust can be lost by the actions of the child. And if our children earn and keep our trust, what we allow them to do is going to be different. It's going to entail more freedoms than those children who perhaps betray our trust.

Something that we've told our girls for, for years and years. You get to do more if you know how to behave. In other words, your behavior, your heart is going to influence the way we parent as parents. And isn't that the way it's supposed to be? If your heart is soft, usually the punishment is not as severe.

If your heart is hard, well, our job, like the job God gave to Ezekiel, is for our heads to be harder than our children's heads on those occasions, right? Who here maybe it's with a child, maybe it's with a student at school, or maybe even with an employee, those sorts of things. Who here has said something along the lines of, if you were just honest with me, this would not have been such a big deal.

Has anybody said something like that? Yeah, of course. And isn't that the case? Isn't, isn't our reaction isn't our reaction in part based on the, the behavior of the child? Having a child who confesses when they do what is wrong is much different than a child who lies and covers up even when confronted.

And what's amazing to me is how you can often see, see vast extremes in the same household, right? Among the, the same kids with the same genetic material, you have, you have hearts that might be on one end or the other of the spectrum. And as parents, it's our jobs to react accordingly to that, to raise them up in accordance with who they are, in the way they should go.

And wise parents treat their children fairly, and justly, and gently in the New Testament sense. But they do not treat all of their children exactly the same, because that is neither fair nor just. So, that's a possible interpretation of this passage. Number three, I'll call this the emphasis on the child interpretation.

And it might read something like this. Train up a child in the way he should go would be train up a child in a manner befitting a child. In other words, the groundwork is laid in the early years when your child is still a child. And we see, perhaps, there is some indication of this interpretation with that word, train up.

Train up comes from a Hebrew word that most frequently, as it's used in the Old Testament, refers to the beginning or the initiating or even the dedicating of something. It's used of the temple in 1 Kings chapter 8 and verse 63. Not that you're training up the temple, but that you're dedicating the temple on that occasion.

And like Samuel, we should be giving our children over to God from the beginning. Just as Samuel was dedicated or given to the Lord by Hannah, our children should be dedicated or given to the Lord from the very beginning. If you turn back to Proverbs 22 there's a, an interesting structure. Now, Proverbs 22 is in that section of Proverbs where it's just kind of I won't say random, but there, there's not a, a context that we look at to say, well, here's the flow of thought within these Proverbs.

It's a lot of good general Proverbs on a lot of different subjects, and a lot of times there's not a whole lot of flow, but, but in this particular section we see that there is kind of, a bookend that is found. And that's with verse 15. So, our verse is verse 6, Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

And going with that, kind of a bookend to it, is verse 15. Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. The rod of correction will drive it far from him. What is that verse telling us? If not, you need to get folly out of your children early, right? It's bound up in their heart, and it is your job as a parent to get that folly out of your child's heart early so that that child might continue in the right way.

And he describes in verse 15 the rod of correction. The rod of correction can be used metaphorically just for any sort of correction or discipline that we might give. Think about Proverbs 13 and verse 24. Turn over there with me.

If you think back to what you know about Hebrew poetry if you've been in some of our classes here, You know that this idea of parallelism is the primary form of poetry that we see in Hebrew. And so the idea is something is stated and then it's restated in a slightly different way. And so with that in mind, let's read verse 24 together of chapter 13.

He who spares his rod hates his son. But, now this is the opposite, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly. So, the rod is comparable to discipline here in this verse. And so we know that this idea of the rod and the staff along with it can be used in a metaphorical sense. But, It is also sometimes representative of, of literal, corporal, physical punishment.

Look in Proverbs chapter 23. I think this is the clearest example where we say it's not just a metaphorical rod that's being described here. Proverbs 23

and verse 13. Do not withhold correction from a child. Now that would be general of any correction, right? But notice what he says next. For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. Now, sometimes when our children are being punished they're acting like they're dying because of that punishment, right?

And what he's saying is, if, if you use, if you use corporal punishment with your child, it's not going to kill them. Instead, you shall beat him with a rod and deliver his soul from hell. And so we live in a world, even among those who are Christians, where corporal punishment is seen as something that is taboo by many.

It's not something that should be done. And yet, I think what this verse and other verses like it suggest to us is that this is one of the tools that is in our toolbox. I would suggest that the text implies that this form of discipline is most effective when they are still young, when they're still a child.

And know clearly that it, that it is never an excuse to gratify our own anger or to abuse a child by using corporal punishment. But it can be a very effective tool for us to use in driving out the folly that might be in their heart. And that is seen right along with the reasoning that we see in verses 15 and 16.

My son, if your heart is wise, my heart will rejoice. Indeed, I myself, yes, my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak right things. Haven't we all been there for both of those things as a parent? Where sometimes it's behavior correction, right? That I am, I'm spanking you on this occasion, not because I want to, but because it's something that you need.

Because you have violated the laws of this house, you've violated the laws of the Lord, and this is a reminder, a reminder that that shouldn't happen. And yet at the same time, haven't we all done what we see in verses 15 and 16 and appealed to their hearts? Not just behavior modification. If you'll do what is right, if your heart is wise, there is nothing that makes me happier as a parent.

And when you love God and when you're willing to do what is right, and so we see that corporal punishment versus, versus other forms of discipline, that's not an either or proposition. It is what is appropriate for the time and for the behavior. But it is something that should begin early on. That we are training up a child in a manner befitting a child.

And then the final interpretation that I'll suggest this evening is what I'll call the warning. interpretation. This kind of looks at this same passage from the negative standpoint, that it's giving us a warning, and we might express it this way. Train up a child in the way he should go might be expressed as, train up a child in the way he wants to go, and when he is old he will not depart.

In other words, if you allow your child to have all of the power and make all of the decisions, and determine the direction of their own life from an early age. The only thing that child will ever really know is the strength and power of their own will. And if we as parents don't do the hard work of discipline and training, and instead let our children have their own way in all things, then we will reinforce their own will to such a degree that even when they're old, they will be still living that same sort of selfish, Ego centric sort of way that what I want is what my life is about and brothers and sisters as Christian parents We cannot allow that.

There's a Hebrew scholar who's written a Hebrew grammar named Gary Patricio He's a doctor of theology and he says about the meaning of this verse quote It doesn't mean here's a good result that you can count on when you give a child proper parental guidance. But, instead, here's the bad result that may happen if you don't give a child proper parental guidance, but let him do what he wants.

As desirable as the traditional interpretation would be, he says, experience contradicts it far too often to be attributable solely to deficient parenting. Indeed, in spite of the best parenting in the universe, Namely, God's own, many of his children departed from the way that they should have gone.

Indeed, verses like Isaiah chapter 1 and verse 2 bear this out. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord has spoken. I have nourished and brought up children, but they have rebelled against me. Did God, I need to hear your head rap on this one. Did God bring up his children in the way they should go?

Yes, He instructed His children and gave them every benefit, every love, every grace, every long suffering, every punishment, everything was perfect at exactly the right time. And yet, what did some, what did some of God's children do? They rebelled against Him. Some, never to return again. 22 and verse 15.

Foolishness is bound up in the mind of a child. The rod of correction will drive it far from him. So foolishness, going in the way he wants to go, that would be the issue. And we also think about Proverbs 29 and verse 15. Proverbs 29 and verse 15 that speaks to this same idea.

Proverbs 29 and verse 15. The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. You know what we can't do as, as parents? We can't just leave a child to raise themselves. And yet, so often, many in our world are, are doing just that. And so, with this interpretation, the burden of responsibility is more equally shared between the parent and the child for how that child ultimately ends up.

If you do not train up your child, they will likely not be faithful, this passage warns. But how many children do we know who were brought up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord who were not allowed to go the way that they wanted to while at home only to see them go off to the world as adults?

We know, of course, that everyone has a choice. And this interpretation assures us that while we must train up our children in the Lord as best we can, it is still going to be up to them To heed that training or to abandon it. That once we raise them and do everything we can to influence them over the rest of our lives, ultimately it is between them and God.

Their faith and their righteousness as they stand before Him. So what applications can we make to all of these things? Well, let me suggest four applications as we bring our lesson to a close. Number one, I would suggest that all four interpretations are true biblically. All of these can be shown from other passages and we've done some of that even this evening.

Even if one is specifically what the writer of Proverbs had in mind, and the others are not the point of this passage, we see that these four things that we have up here on the board, these four things are all true. That we need to train up a child in the way he ought to go. That we should train up our children in accordance with their different hearts and natures.

That we should train up our children starting early in a manner befitting a child. And we need to be careful about the warning that if we just train up a child in the way he wants to go and whatever he or she wants to do, then when they're old, what they've learned is, I can do whatever I want and life is about me.

All four of those interpretations are true, biblically, and all four should be in our mind and hearts as parents and grandparents and those who have influence over children. Our second application is this. One part of the verse that is undisputed, that is clear is we must train up a child. While the ultimate end result is controversial, the duty of all godly parents is not.

We should be training our children in the way of God. As we see Paul say in the New Testament, in Ephesians chapter 6 and verse 4, Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up, train them we might say, in the discipline and instruction. This is our duty. Our duty as parents to train them up as best we know how, as best we can.

And I would encourage all of us to know that what we do now matters. Maybe you say, well, you don't know about where I am with my children and, you know, the relationship or their age and all those sorts of things. What we do now matters. Whatever point we are in that. Go back to the book of Proverbs again, this time to chapter 19 and verse 18.

Proverbs. Verse 19 and verse 18.

Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction. We need to chasten them knowing that there is hope. Here is where we have the most influence when they are young, but even as they get older we still have influence over them. We make the most difference now while they are young and at home, but we continue to make a difference in the future.

And what we should strive to do is drive the folly out of their heart now because, yes, it is more difficult later on once they have left the house and they have started to do things on their own. Again, we see this in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs 27 and verse 22.

I mean, this is so vivid. Though you grind a fool in mortar, and a pestle along with crushed grain, you just grind him into dust, and what's left, yet his foolishness will not depart from him. The reason why we want to drive foolishness out of the heart of a child is because it's so much harder to drive out of the heart of an adult.

And that's why it is so important. That's why it is so important for us to start early and to start now. To do what we can to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And then finally, my fourth application is this. What we do now, It lasts. It impacts the future of our children as long as they live.

May I offer a little bit of hope for those who have children who are unfaithful in regard to what Proverbs 22 and verse 6 says. Train up a child in the way he should go. And when he is old, he will not depart from it. It's interesting that the word old is used there. It's not specifically the word for elderly necessarily, but the idea is when this one reaches full maturity in their life and in their heart.

When he is old, The idea is that this teaching, this training, this discipline and instruction, putting in the time and the effort now to do everything that you can to show them the way of the Lord, know that that gives them the opportunity to know. And know that this teaching will go with them the rest of their lives.

And they might choose to turn away from it. They might choose to turn their back on it. But even if they aren't living that truth, they remember that truth. And it gives them the chance, like the prodigal son, to come to themselves and to come back home to the Lord. And you never know when that opportunity might take place.

There is a family that we know from where I used to preach before. And the mother and father of that family were both raised in Christian homes. And over the years, after they left home, they They wandered away from the truth. They wandered away from the faith. They wandered away from organized religion entirely, in fact.

Until, as a teenager, one of their children, a daughter, started, started being interested in Christianity. So they got her a Bible. She started reading her Bible some, and she wanted to go to church somewhere. And the mother of this child said, Well, if you're gonna go to church, I guess you ought to go to the right place.

And so she started coming and dropping this teenager off at Bible class and worship studies or worship services, and then picking her up. And they started having conversations between the two of them, and the mother started coming along with the daughter. The daughter was baptized into Christ, became a faithful Christian, and within a few years, her mother was restored to the Lord, and later on, her father was restored to the Lord.

Where did that start? Praise God for the heart of this young lady, right? Praise God for her heart. But may I suggest that that whole process started with the parents who watched for years as their children were unfaithful to the Lord. And yet, through God's patience and grace and long suffering and mercy, Through His providence and through His working an opportunity was found for their hearts to be touched through the actions and heart of their own children.

We don't know how the Lord is going to work. We don't know how the hearts of our children are going to respond. But all of us should be doing what we can to train them up in the way they should go so that they have opportunity when they are older and mature. to come back even if they depart from it.

And may I say this in regard to those things? Guilt about the past is not a good motivator for us to do what we should in the present. I see far too many parents who are just consumed with guilt over things that they did wrong to the point that it paralyzes them about what they could be doing now in regard to their children.

All we have, all we are promised is this day, today. And the things of the past and the things of the future, those things are outside of our control. But giving our children a chance, the opportunity to know the Lord, to know what is right, that is our job. And ultimately, in faith, we have to leave the rest in the hands of the Lord.

And may I suggest this, as we do truly bring our lesson to the close. I think I said that ten minutes ago. But may I say this, may I encourage us all to look at ourselves honestly, not hypercritically. I know a comparison game is always dangerous, comparing ourselves with ourselves, we become unwise, we can become fools.

But I think sometimes parents are too hard on themselves in regard to where they have fallen short. Who here has fallen short as a parent? You know who's raising their hands? Every parent. We've all fallen short. But let's not be hypercritical about what we have done as parents and what we are doing as parents.

I've told you before, it's this time of year. I think so many of these thoughts are on our minds and hearts because of the holidays and being with family and so forth. And I've, I've shared with you before when I was a kid something that my family did for the local school district where both of my parents worked they, there was an angel tree program where kids who could not afford Christmas presents were, were given presents by others.

And our family Because of who my parents were and who they knew in the community in terms of where to go, being connected with the school, we did most of the deliveries of those angel tree presents. And, and I still look back on those deliveries and, and think to myself with, with some of them, what a terribly difficult life so many of those children had.

Were parents who, who didn't love them. I mean, it just, it appears as though they didn't love them. Didn't provide for them, didn't care for them. Certainly there was no training or admonition in the Lord. There was no focus on spiritual things. There was no exposure, often, to spiritual things.

And even in my heart as a, as a kid, as a preteen, as a teenager, it softened my heart to think how blessed I truly was to have the parents that I did. I remember one, I've not shared this before, I remember one Christmas in particular. I was a teenager, I do know that. Where I was so mad at my dad and then we went and we delivered all of those gifts.

And I don't think I ever said I was sorry, but in my heart I said, what do I have to complain about?

Parents, show yourself a little bit of grace, if you would please. Because what you have done, in loving your children, in showing what love for the Lord looks like to your children, in doing your best to train them up in the way they should go, is a wonderful and beautiful thing. It gives those children an opportunity that so many children in this world, this world filled with sin and sorrow and death and pain, that so many of them do not have.

And whatever shortcomings there were, and I know that there were shortcomings with me, with you, just like there were shortcomings with me. You've still given them the opportunity to know the Lord. How much better off your children have been to have parents who are Christians, who are striving to train up a child in the way he should go.

And as we enter into a holiday tomorrow where we are with family, some of us have been with family already, Some of us will be with family more. I hope these things are in our minds and hearts. And as we enter into a new year, many of us with children who are still at home, where there is still the greatest influence that we can have on them, I pray that this year will be a year of commitment, a year of consistency, a year where we are seeking to train them to the best that we can, so that when they are old, They will not depart from the way of the Lord.

Well, thank you for your kind attention this evening. The lesson tonight is not intended, was not intended really to bring someone to the gospel. But I will say this. What I've described here this evening is not the, is not the reality for, for some. Maybe perhaps not the reality for many. And maybe you're here this evening and you, you were not exposed at an early age to, to parents who loved you or parents who loved the Lord.

Know that there is one, a loving father. who is there for you and is calling you to come home, to come to Him to know what it is to have a family that does love you and is there for you no matter what. That is your Father in Heaven. And He loved you so much that He sent Jesus to die on the cross. He made that sacrifice so that you could have the hope of eternal life.

And if you're, if you're here and you know that you need to come to God, there's nothing that we would love more than to sit down and study with you from God's Word about what you need to do. And if you know what you need to do, even this evening. Won't you come now, where together we stand, and while we sing.