Deut. 6:1-9 (ESV)

“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. [3] Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

[4] “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. [5] You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. [6] And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. [7] 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. [8] You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. [9] You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

God continues in the theme of keeping the covenant to Abraham through the faithful transmission of God’s Word from fathers to children. Having said that Abraham will “command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness …”, Moses now says basically the same thing when he rehearses the law with the people of Israel as he prepares to leave them and die. “You shall teach them diligently to your children…” is the command to the people of Israel. And he tells them how. They shall talk of the things of God constantly with their children. This means that they shall relate everything to God and his ways. A flower by the side of the road, a nutritious meal at the table, a starry night, a horrifying crime in the neighbourhood. These and everything else that we encounter in our daily lives are opportunity for a father to teach a child about God, salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, the world as his creation, the horrors of a world gone away from the will of its Creator, the providence of God. And the Gospel. We need to open our eyes and see the need for, the results of, the opportunity for the Gospel in our everyday lives. And we need to be diligent in passing all that and more onto our children.

We will do this when we have, as the text says, these words “on our hearts”. When the Word of God is on our hearts then we will not neglect to pass it on to our children. And we shall not be satisfied with a passing note of thanks at a meal or a quick prayer before the children go to bed. We shall be diligent in presenting the Scriptures to our children. We will live Bible based, Gospel centered lives. Fathers will not leave this God given task to be the sole responsibility of their wives.

The law of Moses cannot save. And there is much in it that simply has been abolished by the Gospel. We do not need to teach that different types of fabric must never be blended or that children should be executed for cursing their parents. But we can tell our children why God made such rules in the first place. We should teach our children how the Law of Moses fits in with the overall plan of Scripture and if we do not know we better find out.

Fathers – study the Bible so that you can pass it on to your children. Show your children, through your behaviour, that you value the Scriptures more than T.V., more than the latest episode of whatever, more even than the next game. Make sure your children see you reading the Bible and good books. Make sure you pray with your door open so that they can see you at it. Invite them to your devotional times in the morning. Ask them questions out of the text. Pray aloud for the salvation of your children in their hearing. Diligently teach these things to your children. Have the Scriptures on your heart. Permeate your home and your life with the Word of God. Make the daily worship of God the default position of your life together as a family so that they will be amazed when they hear that not all families live like that, when they begin to interact in the world that you begin sending them into so very young. Fulfill the Great Commission, first and foremost in your home.