Picking up The Bible Says What? in Deuteronomy 6, I’m struck by verses 6:4-9 but not for the reasons I normally am.
The Shema (“love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength”) is still one of my favorite verses in the Bible. [Loosely translated in Jacob-ese, that means, “Love God with all you got!”] But reading it again today, I found myself drawn to this, from verse 7:
“Impress them [these commandments] on your children.”
As the father of two young men, I’m trying hard to make sure that the life of the pastor and the life of the dad are synchronous. I don’t want there to be “Dad at work” and “Dad at home,” but I’m also constantly watching for times when my “inner preacher” takes over in a dad moment. How can I teach them? How can I show them God’s love? How can I explain what it means to be a Christian and follow this two-thousand-year-old book in the twenty-first century world?
And then the words from verse 7 glow: “Impress” them on your children.
Now, today, we’re bombarded with ways that we need to “impress” our kids, by buying them commercial items or letting them ‘figure things out for themselves.’ But verse 7 says that God via Moses makes it pretty clear that it’s our job to teach young folk, biological offspring or otherwise, what it means to follow God.
We have to talk about it – when we sit at home, when we walk around the road, when we lie down, and when we get up (rest of verse 7). But we also have to SHOW them how much they are loved and cared about by an almighty God. We have to model it…
Because they are impressionable. They are soaking it up like sponges, and forming patterns like hot metals pressed in the fire.
Somehow, today, that struck me powerfully – and renews my desire to make sure that my sons understand why I believe what I believe. And pray that God will give them the faith to believe, too.