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When God gave the Law to the nation of Israel, He was concerned about the passing down of the various commandments from one generation to the next. Several times in the Books of the Law (Torah), we see God commanding parents to teach their children what His Word says. God knew that Israel would remain faithful to Him as long as each generation did its part in communicating the Torah successfully to the next generation.
Unfortunately, though, if you know your Old Testament history, generation after generation failed to pass God's story on to their children. Each succeeding generation moved farther and farther away from God because the previous generations failed to do their part in transmitting God's Word to their children.
I fear that we believers in the universal American Church have not done much better in this area either, especially in recent years. Those of us who are Christian parents or grandparents have a spiritual obligation to our kids and grandkids to instruct them in the Word of the Lord.
A 3-Step Plan To Pass It On
In Deuteronomy 11:18-21, God gave His people a three-step plan in transmitting His Word on to the next generation:
- "Imprint these words of mine on your hearts and minds…" (Deut. 11:18). In order to be a successful teacher of God's Word, you must first know it yourself, intimately. You have to be a devoted follower of the Lord and a knowledgeable Bible student. Kids can sniff out a faker pretty fast. They will most likely follow your leadership in either direction. If you're living for the Lord or living a lifestyle of sin and rebellion, then they have the tendency to live out what is being modeled before them each and every day. Just a side note to dads: it is vitally important for you to model a Godly life in front of your children since you are directed by God to be the spiritual leader of the home.
- "Teach them to your children…" (Deut. 11:19). After we know what God's Word says, then God wants us to teach it to our children. This doesn't have to be anything formal and complicated, either. God tells us to have spiritual conversations with our kids "when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." God wants us to teach our children as we live life with them. So the next time you're driving down the road with your son or daughter, why not take some time to initiate a discussion about everyday life stuff and what the Bible says about it? Ask them questions about what they're learning in their Bible Study classes. Dig deep with them on what they're learning in school, and compare what their teachers are teaching them to what God's Word teaches us. Take time to pray with your kids at the dinner table, before they go to bed, and before they go to school in the morning. Use everyday life experiences to teach your children what God says.
- "Write them on the doorposts of your house and your gates…" (Deut. 11:20). God told Israelite parents to put up physical reminders of His commands in their homes. Various Scripture passages posted in the home will will not only be constant reminders to the parents to teach their children, but they could also possibly serve as spiritual conversation starters with your kids. View everything in your home, or even outside of your home as possible launch points into conversations with your children about God and His Word. Make God a part of your everyday life and conversations.
God promised Israel that if they would simply teach His commandments to the next generation, then they and their children would live a long time in the Promised Land. God would bless His people for their obedience and devotion to Him.
There are lasting rewards for us as well for teaching God's Word to the generations that follow after us. I can think of nothing more rewarding as a parent than seeing my own daughters growing in their spiritual walk with Christ. Prayerfully, God through the power of His Holy Spirit will bring our children and grandchildren into spiritual maturity, but we must do our part in teaching them each and every day through words and example.
Also, check out these related posts:
- Kids are messy
- Parents from the Bible who screwed up
- The Power of Words
- The Uniqueness of Family
- How to relate to fellow believers