Summary: Parents are instructed first in what they need to do before they can instruct their children in the home.
GOD’S MANUAL FOR FAMILY LIVING
Last Week Wesley gave you a glimpse of how God’s manual for family living from Deuteronomy 4 was relied on in his home. He told you how his family prayed together regularly both in the morning and before going to bed at night and how God’s Word was the guiding principle for all they did.
My family wasn’t all that different. We too had family worship every morning but not in the evenings. My parents were conscientious, hard-working farmers who practiced their faith and put effort in teaching their four children how to live. I never remember missing Sunday school or church services. My dad made a strong impression on me by the way he lived and by what he said. My parents supported what was preached on Sunday mornings and I often remember them affirming the words of the preacher on our way home after church.
Modesty in dress and the way his three daughters presented themselves was important to my dad. He didn’t want us to be like the world nor to be objects of temptation. My parents were strict but loving and their financial sacrifice for a Christian high school education and their prayers on my behalf helped me receive a strong faith foundation.
God’s Word is true, I’ve discovered. The outcome of obedience is worth all the effort it takes. Deuteronomy 6 ends with these words, “Then the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God for our lasting good, so as to keep us alive as is now the case. “If we diligently observe this entire commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, we will be in the right.”
Chapter 6, our text for today, is about how to use God’s manual so that His instructions get passed on to the children and to the grandchildren for their good.
Two weeks ago most of you know I had the opportunity to be with two of our grandchildren in CA. God provided that wonderful opportunity as he has provided for us again and again. One of the thoughts that came from studying Deuteronomy, as I made the trip was here’s an opportunity for me to be as Grandmother Eunice was to Timothy in the Bible and to practice what I preach. So I prayed for ways to creatively exert a godly influence on our grandchildren during the seven days I would be with them as Deuteronomy 6 instructs. Well, it was a delight to see the way they responded. We sang Bible songs from 2 CDs. The song “Rise and Shine” would spontaneously come out of our four year old granddaughter’s mouth while we were riding in the car or playing at the playground. We watched Mother Goose Christian nursery songs on video and again I’d hear her start singing on her own one of the songs from the video, “God gave us a Special book the Bible is its Name.” We took time for morning and evening prayer and I read to them from a Children’s Picture Bible for story time in the evening.
Now when I think about their expressions of delight, and their questions and responses when we sang and they danced and when we read and prayed together I give thanks for the special opportunity I had to visit them.
Then in the same week Wesley and I had another opportunity to practice what we preach when our other two grandchildren from Cleveland came to be with us for two days. Deuteronomy has helped us to see that we, as grandparents need to do what we can to encourage our children to put Christ first in their homes and then supplement their efforts to train their children as God instructs in Scripture. It’s our earnest desire that the faith we received from our parents and grandparents will be passed on to our children and to their children so that the life-sustaining faith will be kept alive.
So first, to the grandparents here today, I want to encourage you to look for ways to help your grandchildren establish a faith foundation on which they can build their lives for Christ. Some of you bring your grandchildren to church; you are to be commended. Take time to share your story of how you came to faith and what it means to be obedient to Christ. Above all find occasions when you can pray with your grandchildren to help them learn how important prayer is and pray for your extended family daily. Lift up their specific struggles and joys as they relate them to you. Let none of us as grandparents sit back idly and hope our children and grandchildren will turn out ok or that they will somehow survive on their own. They need our godly input and prayerful support.