“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
When Moses spoke these words to the people of Israel, he was in the process of delivering the law of God to them. And in these statements, he summarizes some of the most important things for Israel to understand with regard to the law: 1) they were to love God with the entirety of their being; 2) they were to have God’s words on their hearts; and 3) they were to teach those words diligently to their children.
I think that most of us understand, or at least acknowledge, the importance of the first two principles. But what about the third? Do we give it the place of priority that God assigns to it here?
For most of us – especially most of us fathers – it’s hard to teach these things diligently to our kids. It feels awkward. It’s hard enough to clunk through family devotions, much less to talk of these things naturally throughout the course of a normal day.
A significant part of the solution to this problem lies in the second principle – they “shall be on your heart”. Are the words of God on your heart? Or to put this in 21st century terms, are they programmed into the control panel of your life? Your heart is the control panel for your emotions, your desires and your will. Are you governed by the word of God at this fundamental level?
The good news is that in the economy of God, all these principles fit together. A great way to get these things on our hearts, so that we can teach them to our kids, is to prepare to teach them to our kids. We will often find that in order to do this, we have to think more carefully, more thoroughly and more practically about what Scripture has to say. And as we do this, it will have the effect of writing the truth of God more clearly on our own hearts.
Parents, our default setting is to not teach our kids the things of God. And their default setting is not to love the things of God. In order to override these default settings, we’ve got to take action. Let’s do this together, in the strength that God will supply by His grace.