From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Deuteronomy 6:4-9

“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 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.”                   NKJV

The Jews call Deuteronomy 6:4-9 the “Shema,” literally meaning “hear this,” and consider it the most important passage in the entire Old Testament.  This passage of Scripture is the first that every Jewish child must commit to memory.  It is used to open every Jewish service.  It is recited twice daily by the faithful in accordance with Jewish religious law.

This great confession of faith begins with a focus on who God is and an injunction to love Him with all of our being—to love Him totally and completely.  The passage goes on to declare that, as parents, God’s word must be in our hearts and we are charged with the responsibility of passing our Christian faith on to our children.  We cannot teach our children about the love of God if we ourselves have not experienced that love.  We are to instruct our children, not merely by quoting or reading them God’s word, but by demonstrating it in our daily devotion and obedience to Him.  What we parents have personally experienced we are to pass along to our children through a variety of methods, including verbal communication, personal example, and the posting of the scriptures around our homes.

As parents, we cannot impart to the next generation what we ourselves do not possess.  We cannot teach our children the importance of observing God’s commandments if doing so is not a priority in our own hearts.  When we are inconsistent in our church attendance, we are teaching our children that church is optional—something to do if there are not more fun or entertaining things to do.  When we are sporadic in our personal devotional time, we are teaching our children that praying and reading God’s word are not really all that important.  If we are to see our children come to know, love, and serve God, the Lord Jesus Christ must be an intimate member of our family and home.  Our Christian faith must be a personal, heartfelt faith.  Our children know whether or not the things of God are truly dear to our hearts.

According to the scriptures, youth ministry begins in the home.  The Bible exhorts us as parents to train up our children in the things of God.  Our homes provide the proper Biblical atmosphere for youth ministry.  In our homes, our children are under our influence and authority from day to day.   They need our guidance and a consistent spiritual and scriptural example from us, their parents.

Why do you turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth and take so little care of your children to whom one day you must relinquish it all?              Socrates

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