This week Norma Jean and I are in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a lovely city in the Northwest part of the state known for its water sports on beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene.
Sunday, we were blessed to worship with the Coeur d’Alene church. Due to “social distancing,” our interactions with the brethren were brief, but we felt welcomed and enjoyed our time of fellowship together.
Steven observed the expression “you shall” is found throughout the chapter and encouraged us to find and underline them in our Bibles. I found 12.
Verses 4-9 jumped off the page to me as Moses issued these Divine imperatives for parents.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and (you) shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
While these words were spoken to ancient Israel regarding the old covenant, their confession of faith, God’s commandments to them, and the communication parents were to engage in with their children, they serve as a wonderful model for modern parents.
As Israel was about to cross over Jordan and inherit the promised land, God recognized the danger of their new found prosperity. And as a new generation arose, it would be easy for them to forget who they were. Where the came from. And to whom they belonged.
This is true today. Many young people have fallen away because the prior generation failed to pass along the values and principles of their faith in God. Maybe they failed to teach it. Or to prioritize it. Or to truly live it in their home life. Whatever the reason, someone dropped the baton.
The call to “hear,” speaks to the ancient Jewish confession, “the Shema,” recited each morning and evening by devout Jews. It’s a reminder that there is ONE GOD. Not many, like the pagan Egyptian gods and goddesses that numbered over 2,000.
Christian parents need to begin and end their day with prayer. Petition. And reliance on God. Children need to see that we are not seduced by and serving the modern day idols of possessions, pleasure, position, power, prestige, or popularity.
Loving God has always been the greatest commandment. Moses issued it. And Jesus reaffirmed it (Matt 22:37-38). When we love God with all of our being, following His commands, and living for Him, passing on our faith to our family naturally follows.
Parents are specifically commanded to be diligent in teaching and talking to their children about spiritual matters. While teaching may refer to more formal instruction, talking implies the informal. Most opportunities occur in the natural flow of life. Circumstances and situations arise where we can impart the values of our beliefs. Kids can see first hand in a practical, down to earth way how our spiritual priorities drive our decisions.
In a truly Christian home, God’s Word is constantly reinforced at every turn. When you are sitting around the house. In your daily walk. When you get up in the morning. When you go to bed at night.
Note the expressions used by Moses on how the Word regulates our lives and what they mean.
“Bind them as a sign on your hand.” God’s Word directs every action.
“Frontlets between your eyes.” God’s Word controls our thoughts.
“Write them on the doorposts of your house.” God’s Word regulates our family life.
“Write them on the gates of the city.” God’s Word guides our social interactions and our relationships with others.
Get the picture?
The Bible is not just a book to be studied on Sunday morning, but a message, mission and ministry that is lived in our daily lives. When children see that kind of Christianity, they come to know who God is. Accept Jesus as the Christ. And pass on their faith to their children.
Is your home a sanctuary where God dwells? Where He’s respected and loved? Where His Word is honored? And where your children see and feel what it means to be Christian?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman