Teach and Train the Children

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

Deuteronomy 6:20-24 (NIV)
In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the Lord sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors. The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today.

Deuteronomy 6:20-24 (MSG)
The next time your child asks you, “What do these requirements and regulations and rules that God, our God, has commanded mean?” tell your child, “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and God powerfully intervened and got us out of that country. We stood there and watched as God delivered miracle-signs, great wonders, and evil-visitations on Egypt, on Pharaoh and his household. He pulled us out of there so he could bring us here and give us the land he so solemnly promised to our ancestors. That’s why God commanded us to follow all these rules, so that we would live reverently before God, our God, as he gives us this good life, keeping us alive for a long time to come.
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“When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and statutes and judgments (precepts) which the Lord our God has commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Moreover, the Lord showed great and terrible signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household; He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to [give] our fathers.’ So the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear [and worship] the Lord our God [with awe-filled reverence and profound respect] for our good always and so that He might preserve us alive, as it is today.

The responsibility of the parents to train and teach their children in the ways of the Lord is driven home here in the closing verses of Deuteronomy 6. In fact, way back in Exodus 10 God gives Moses these instructions; “GOD said to Moses: “Go to Pharaoh. I’ve made him stubborn, him and his servants, so that I can force him to look at these signs and so you’ll be able to tell your children and grandchildren how I toyed with the Egyptians, like a cat with a mouse; you’ll tell them the stories of the signs that I brought down on them, so that you’ll all know that I am GOD.” This responsibility of teaching and training their children is brought across three separate times: here, in Exodus 13:14, and in Joshua 4:21.

Exodus 13:14 says; “There will come a time when your children ask you, “What is this thing we are doing?” You will say, “With a strong hand the Eternal led us out of Egypt and freed us from lives of slavery.” (VOICE)

Joshua 4:19-22: “The people came up out of the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month. They set up camp at The Gilgal (The Circle) to the east of Jericho. Joshua erected a monument at The Gilgal, using the twelve stones that they had taken from the Jordan. And then he told the People of Israel, “In the days to come, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What are these stones doing here?’ tell your children this: ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry ground.” -(MSG)

The people were to instill into their children these three basic truths:
1.) We have seen the mighty power of God.
2.) We have experienced His great grace.
3.) We are aware and are familiar with His faithfulness.

Solomon reminds us of the need to train our children in the way they should live. He says, “Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], even when he is old he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6 (AMP)

God desires for us to take the time to teach our children about Him. In Jewish culture this started at the knee of the parents and it continued on throughout their formative years. Children are naturally inquisitive; asking questions about anything and everything. God wants us to be sure that we are especially addressing those question concerning spiritual matters.

If we look back to the beginning of Deuteronomy 6 we will find this admonition from the Lord concerning His commands. “Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.” -Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (MSG)
Throughout Scripture we find the need to teach, train and discipline our children in the ways of the Lord. We cannot expect them to KNOW what to do; we must teach them what to do. Tell them the stories, not only from God’s Word, but the ones that have affected you personally.

My Prayer:
Lord, I will teach my children and grandchildren of you and your ways. You have personally touched my life and I know that my offspring need to know this. I want my children to see your mighty power in their lives too. I want them to experience your great grace and become familiar with your everlasting faithfulness. Help me to teach my children to seek your wisdom in their lives and to live for you. Be glorified in my family, Lord, I pray.

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