“Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, 2 that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.”
What and incredible charge by Moses to the people of Israel. Standing before them he is reminding them of that moment God descended on the mountain, in fire and smoke, with a voice so overwhelming powerful the people cried out to never have to hear it again!
The words God spoke – the Ten Commandments, in which we find a wealth of important guidance for us as Christians today. But this is not the topic of my blog today. I want to look at chapter 6, that part that comes right after it. Moses is charging the people of Israel to fear the Lord by keeping his statutes and commands. The next phrase is so powerful, he specifically mentions three generations, “you and your son’s and your son’s son.” Why three? God is often known as a God of three generations, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. It took three generations to establish the promise for God’s people. He gave the same promise to each of the three Patriarchs (Genesis 12:1-4 – Abraham; 26:1-5 – Isaac; 28:13-15 – Jacob).
Here Moses speaks again of three generations, because three generations are what it takes to establish God’s promise as with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Family succession of faith is important to God. Many parents, especially fathers, leave their kids to their own devices, to make up their mind for themselves. Of course no one should ever be forced to believe something. However, if we want to see the full blessings of God, we must work to establish His kingdom first in our families and our subsequent generations.
I am a second generation Christian, and so is my wife. We both come from Christian families and have found God for ourselves. Now I am looking to my children, the third generation and thinking to myself, “How can I facilitate my kid’s relationship with God, so that they can meet him for themselves as Jacob did at Peniel.” (Genesis 32:22-32).
The key I have found is in the following verses of Deuteronomy 6:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord 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. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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.”
The answer is three fold:
- “Love the Lord” – first love the Lord with everything you have! Children look at the example of their parents, if we are worried and distressed, or they are never worshipping God, thanking Him or praying and doing their devotional, our children will be the first to notice. So many kids find hypocrites in their parents, who proclaim a great God on Sunday, but don’t truly love him through the week. Thankfully I have found in both my parents and my parents in laws, perfect examples of men and woman who love the Lord with all their hearts, souls, bodies and minds. They have been a great example for myself and my wife. Now it’s my turn!
- “Teach them diligently to your children” – how diligent are you at teaching your kids the Word of God? I’m gonna be honest here, most mum’s are better at this than the dad’s but this wasn’t how it was supposed to be. For the Israelites it was the Father of the house who was given the main responsibility of teaching the children the Word of God, and I believe it should be the same today. This is definitely something I’m working at and learning to do every day (check out some of our blogs and resources for some great ideas on how to teach your kids the Bible in fun and interactive ways).
- “[You] 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.” Notice how God’s Word doesn’t say, “and you shall watch Netflix as you sit down.” What a great challenge! How often do we sit down to talk about God’s word as a family. And when we “walk by the way”, what do we talk about when we go about our lives, the latest TV show or viral video? Or do we actually discuss God’s Word. Some of my favourite conversations with my dad growing up were discussing the Bible together, it’s meaning, the things we found when looking into the original language. I remember my heart racing inside of me as we came to powerful and life changing conclusions about who God is and what He does. I know these conversations helped guard my heart, and strengthened my faith in Him.
As parents it’s easy to focus on the physical needs of our children, but God has called us to pass on our faith, first and foremost to our children. We don’t have to force our kids to go to church, to pray or to love God (in fact I implore you, PLEASE DON’T). Do these three things, Love, Teach, Talk and you will start to see your children follow your steps as you follow Jesus.
How many reading this are raising up third or even fourth generation Christians? God bless you, you are the true heroes of the faith!!