Summary: Using the interests of our kids as teaching opportunities, we repeat Bible stories so they become recognizable, while modeling a godly life before them. The fear of God in the heart will be the most powerful principle of obedience. It is highly desirable
Opening illustration: My nephew in Delhi Aashan began to recognize cars by make and year very early for his age. This all started when he and his grandpa began spending time together playing with his old collection of toy cars. His grandpa would say, “Aashan, get the 1957 Chevy,” and he would pick it out of the hundreds of tiny cars. Whenever they would go out for a drive, he would be able to name the model of the cars he saw on the streets or in the parking lots. And once, while his grandpa was reading a book on ‘Cars’ to him, he climbed down from his lap and ran to get a miniature Rolls Royce—an exact replica of the car pictured in the book. If a 2-year-old child can make such connections, doesn’t that show the importance of teaching children the right things early on?
Let us turn to Deuteronomy 6 and meditate on the firm instructive foundations Moses gave to the Israelites.
Introduction: Moses was the leader of an inexperienced nation which had no homeland but were promised one. A previous generation was dead and gone. Forty years prior, his current audience was 20 years old and younger. Looking into the eyes of Generation Next, the 120 year old Moses challenges them to love and live for God. He must speak into their young hearts about God’s expectations for Promised Land living. I heard a preacher once saying that the book of Deuteronomy actually means, “Dude, you better honor me.” That’s not accurate etymology, but it is good theology.
This follows Moses’ pattern in Deuteronomy 6 of taking every opportunity to teach biblical truths so that children become familiar with them and make them a part of their lives. Using their interests as teaching opportunities, we repeat Bible stories so they become recognizable, while modeling a godly life before them. The fear of God in the heart will be the most powerful principle of obedience. It is highly desirable that not we only, but our children, and our children’s children, may fear the Lord. Religion and righteousness advance and secure the prosperity of any people.
Let’s give the children in our lives a firm foundation by teaching them about God’s love, Christ’s salvation, and the importance of godly living.
How to have and pass on a firm foundation?
1. Obey (vs. 1-4)
Moses proceeds to set forth more particularly and to encourage the cardinal and essential doctrines of the Decalogue, the nature and attributes of God, and the fitting mode of honoring and worshipping Him. Two objects are indicated Deuteronomy 6: 2-3, the glory of God and the welfare of man, as the grand aims that he has in view.
• God is to be heard (shema); no obligation without law to found it on, and no law in religion but from God.
• The commandment must be understood in order to be obeyed.
• It must be observed - attentively considered, in order to be understood.
• It must be performed, that the end for which it was given may be accomplished, viz., that God may be glorified, and that it may be well with the people.
What is here spoken applies powerfully to every part of the moral law; God has given it as a rule of life, therefore obedience to it is indispensably necessary, not to the purchase of salvation, for no human merit can ever extend to that, but it is the way by which both the justice and mercy of God choose to conduct men to heaven. But let it be fully understood that no man can walk in the way of obedience but by and under the influence of the grace of God.
The maintenance of the fear of God would bring prosperity, and the increase of the nation promised to the fathers.
Illustration: Do we expect obedience from our children? Do we exemplify that through our obedience to God our Father?
2. Love (vs. 5-6)
This is the first and chief commandment in the law, the sum and substance of the first table of it; and includes in it, or at least has connected with it, knowledge of God, esteem of him, delight in him, faith and trust in him, fear and worship of him, and obedience to him, which when right springs from it. God is to be loved because of the perfections of his nature, and the works of his hand, of nature, providence, and grace; and because of the relations he stands in to men, and especially to his own people; and because of his peculiar love to them; and, indeed, he is to be loved by all men for his care of them, and blessings of goodness bestowed on them; the manner in which this is to be done follows: with a superlative love, above all creatures whatever; with the whole of the affections of the heart, with great fervency and ardor of spirit, in the sincerity of the soul, and with all the strength of grace a man has, with such love that is as strong as death. Jarchi interprets loving God with all the heart, that is, with thy heart not divided about God, a heart not divided between God and the creature; "all thy might" he interprets of mammon or substance; and, indeed, that is one way in which men may show their love to God, by laying out their substance in his service, and for the support of his cause and interest in the world. Aben Ezra by "the heart" understands knowledge, and by the "soul" the spirit of man that is in his body, and by might perfect love in the heart.