Passing on the Faith to our Children

Passing on the Faith to our Children

Here we are in the last book of Moses, the fifth book of the Bible, the final words of the greatest Old Testament leader: we are in Deuteronomy.

There are a few places in the Bible where we have a final message from a great leader. Deuteronomy is one of them. It’s the longest final message, and also the most quoted book in the scriptures.

This is Moses swan song to Israel. As Moses comes to the end of his life, God inspired him to record these final words for His people Israel. This is the most heartfelt proclamation of the law in the Bible. Moses pulls out all the stops to remind, encourage, warn and plead with Israel to love and follow God AND to pass the faith onto the next generations. Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is ONE GOD! Love Him! Remember Him! Obey Him! Cling to Him! Avoid all substitutes for Him!

Jenny was just telling me yesterday how much she loves and appreciates the first 11 chapters of this great book in God’s word. It’s a book where God seeks to write His words on our hearts, not just our heads. God wants us to hear His voice calling us to love Him and teaching us how to do that.

This week our Chronological reading took us through the first 21 chapters of Deuteronomy. How many of you have made it this far in your Bible reading, and are up to date? What a great opportunity to go through God’s word together, as a church and in our homes, focusing on God’s Saving mission and His call to join Him in that Saving mission!

Last Sunday, we spent some time looking at Matthew 22 where Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:5 and made it very clear: this is THE MOST IMPORTANT and THE greatest commandment. This week let’s look at God’s instruction to Israel on how to love Him.

Notice how many times God tells us to make sure we teach this to our children.

Follow along with me in your Bibles if you will. In verses 1-3 the focus is fearing the Lord. (Read together) In verses 4-9 the focus is on loving the Lord. (Read together) In verses 10-12 the focus is on remembering the Lord. (Read together) Verses 13-19 are on serving the Lord and avoiding idols. (Read together) Verses 20-25 the focus is on answering your children’s questions about the Lord. (Read together).

Look again at 1-3. Moses has just reminded them of the 10 commandments in chapter 5. Now he tells them how to keep these and how to pass them on to their children. Who does God give the responsibility of teaching the next generation? How important is it that we take this seriously and make sure our children know God’s will and do it? Verse 2 is key here: the fear of the Lord is the first lesson we must learn ourselves and must teach to our kids. We must fear God and we must teach our children to fear God. This is the beginning of knowledge. If we don’t teach our children to fear the Lord and obey Him, the world will teach them not to.

Look at 4-9. Notice again how important it is that we pass this on to our children. And he makes it clear how we can do that, does he not? My translation of verse 7 starts with the word “impress.” Impress them on your children. What are you impressed with? What’s made the biggest impression on you, on your life, on your heart? Is it love for God?

What do we talk about at home, when we walk, when we lie down and when we get up? What do we decorate our homes with? I know one thing for sure: whatever you talk about most and whatever you decorate your home with tells what you love. Guaranteed. It shows what you have been impressed with. Does it not? What if in your home, all your conversations were all about God’s love and His will and ways. How might that impress your children?

This world is filled with children whose lives do not have that. They are impressed all right, but not with God’s love and not with the fear of the Lord. What does a person look like who is unimpressed with the fear and love of God? How does that shape a person’s life?

What about a child that grows up according to these words in Deuteronomy 6? They may rebel and choose not to follow God, but they will still have been impressed by it.
Why? Why is it so important to speak constantly about God’s word and decorate our homes and lives with His word? Why?

Because of what we read next. Verses 10-12.

We have a very short memory when it comes to spiritual things. I dare say, many of you won’t remember this sermon for long. Our capacity to forget God is phenomenal! Why? Why are we so quick to let go of God? What is it about Him that makes us so dangerously ready to ignore Him and His word?

I would remind us, that it’s not HIM that’s the problem, it is US! God is faithful! God knows us, sees us, searches our hearts and minds, keeps His eyes on us, is aware of us ALL THE TIME! God loves us. He takes delight in us. He wants to spend forever with us. He really, fully, completely, watches over us without slumber or sleep.

If you’ve read Deuteronomy you surely have seen how often, over and over, the scripture keeps saying the same message coming at it from every possible angle, repeating the point again and again. This is intentional. Repetition is a key to remembering. It’s also a key to impressing.

Husbands, how may times have you told your wife that you love her? How many times? Is she impressed yet? Maybe next time, huh? As long as you both shall live, you need to keep saying it and showing that you really mean it.

Sing this with me. I love you, Lord…

What do you love most? What is your greatest fear? These control you. These are what you are most impressed with. To fear God, to love God, these give God control of your life. They also impress your children.

Did you know that your kids know what you love most? Just ask them. They see it and they know it. You can say you love God and not really love Him. But if you really love God, you will show it and others will see it and your children will be impressed by it. Because what you love comes out of your conversations. What you love is what you look for and spend your time and money on.

The reason God wants us to fear and love Him is not just so we will obey Him. God wants us to love and fear Him so that it may go well with us. Don’t you want things to go well with you and your children? Of course you do! Then follow what God says in Deuteronomy 6. If you prefer a New Testament passage that says essentially the same thing look at Colossians 3. God hasn’t changed His mind a bit.

May He bless you and impress you with His fear and love so that you impress these on the next generation under your care.