4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Let’s face it Parenting is hard. It’s really hard, it is a full time job. We live in a day and age that is extremely busy and hectic and full of distractions. But, there is in my opinion no greater joy than being a parent. Our children are, first and foremost, an incredible blessing from the Lord. Psalm 127:3 refers to them as a heritage and reward. God instructs us to be good stewards of the blessing and heritage He has given us. He shows us in the above scripture just how we are called to raise our children.
The family is under attack in this country. I don’t believe there has been a time in my lifetime when there has been such an attack on the home as there is today. From broken homes, the TV shows and movies of the entertainment industry, there is a concerted effort to destroy the home as God has ordained it.
There should be no question in our minds that Satan wants to destroy the family. It has been the core of our society all these many years. There should also be no doubt that he has been successful in many areas of our country and the world.
I believe that the key to life and how to preserve our families is: to love God. This is the key to Christianity, the whole story of God’s redemptive love. The cross, the resurrection, the coming of the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s will, the preaching of the gospel throughout the whole world, believing and obeying the gospel. All of this is summed up in the love of God. All of this is simply a way by which God has made it possible for us to love Him.
This is why it is vitally important for parents to teach our children thru instruction and by our example to Love God. Since it is true that the most important thing in life is to love God, and that everything else flows from that, if you had one wish above any other, would that wish not be that your children would learn to love God? Of course, it would be. In the verses that follow, beginning with verse six, we have four steps clearly outlined that must occur in a home if children are to learn this greatest of all secrets: How to love God.
“You shall teach them diligently to your children….” Here is personal instruction — imparting knowledge about God to your children. This means teaching them scripture, because it is the Bible that teaches us and informs us about God. Here it is declared the responsibility of parents to instruct their children in the revelation that God has given to us about Himself. No one can truly love God without knowing Him. Thus, the first step in teaching our children how to love God is to teach them to know Him. That means teaching them what the Bible says about God.
Notice the pronouns that are used in this passage. “You shall teach them diligently to your children.” Not they, but you! This is not the job of the Bible class teacher or the church. It is your job! The church cannot substitute for the parents in this responsibility. At best the church and it’s Bible classes can only supplement what the parents teach. We hear a lot today about the church losing it’s young people. As a result, there are all kinds of youth programs started and “youth ministers” hired to conduct these programs. Could it be that the loss of young people to the church is not to be blamed on the church, but on the parents who are ignoring their responsibilities to teach their children to love God? I believe, there are way too many parents who are trying to give the responsibility of teaching and raising their children to the public school system and/or to the church. We know they will not learn about God thru our public schools, in fact the opposite will probably be true. Parents (praise the Lord not all) today can be so busy “making a living” and working to provide material things for their children and themselves, caught up in the busyness of life, that they find themselves failing in the most important aspect of life — to love God themselves and to teach their children to love Him. In this scripture God places the responsibility of teaching your children to love God directly upon your shoulders.
But let me encourage you, no matter where this great truth finds you, start just where you are. I know it’s hard not to look back and regret the past mistakes we may have made, but we need to begin right now to apply these great principles. Even if our children are grown, we must begin right now to perhaps influence our grandchildren. Such is the grace and mercy of God, such is the glory of His nature and character, that He will forgive us of past failures and help us to begin again (1 John 1:8-9). So begin right now to put these great principles into practice in your home.