Before God brought the Israelites into the Promised Land, He said this to the parents: "These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up" (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, NIV). The point is that the Lord's teachings must first be in our hearts as parents before we can teach them to our children.
In chapter 6 of the book of Deuteronomy, at least three reasons are given as to why it is important for parents to be students of the Word of God and for parents to teach their children:
1. God wanted them to not forget that it was He who had brought them out of bondage and into the Promised Land (verse 12). At the time God gave the parents these instructions through His servant Moses, they were still in the wilderness. But God promised to take them to a land with houses full of good things, wells already dug, and vineyards they had not planted (verse 11). God wanted them to remember who had so blessed them. Similarly, when God blesses us today, our daily time in the Bible helps us to remember Him as the ultimate source of our blessings.
2. God wanted them to have a reverential fear of Him (verse 13). The Bible is the main source for teaching us how to have a healthy fear of the Lord. For instance, if I were to commit a terrible sin today, I wouldn't fear that God was going to cause fire from heaven to come down and consume me. I would know that I could ask His forgiveness and be confident He would grant it. On the other hand, I know that if I study the Bible regularly and learn God's commandments but persist to live in disobedience to Him, He sees my deeds, and in due time He will chastise me as His child.
3. "You shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you" (verse 14). Even though God drove out most of the inhabitants of what became the Promised Land, they still lived in the land all around the Israelites, and these people served other gods in the form of idols. The same is true of us today. There are so many religions and so many gods in the earth today. For those of us who believe in the God of the Bible, the Bible helps us to stay focused on serving Him and Him alone.
It is important to remember that God was speaking to the parents. Parents, it is our primary responsibility to teach our children in the way of the Lord. Thank God for pastors and Bible teachers in church who minister the Word of God to us and our family. But they can't take the place of the parents. They can only reinforce what God commands parents to do at home.
Copyright 2013 by Frank King. All rights reserved.
Frank King is a former church pastor. He is currently an evangelist and an author. Frank holds a Master of Theology degree. Through the grace of God, Frank has been blessed to cross cultural lines in his preaching. Website: http://www.efrankking.com
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