WE HAVE COME ACROSS other passages dealing with the importance of passing on the heritage of biblical truth to the next generation. That theme lies at the heart of Deuteronomy 6. Fresh points that are especially underlined include:
(1) The ancient Israelites were to teach the next generation to fear the God of the covenant. Moses teaches the people "so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live" (Deut. 6:2). When in the future a son asks his father what the laws mean, the father is to explain the background, the Exodus, and the covenant: "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" (Deut. 6:24). We might well ask ourselves what steps we take to teach our children to fear the Lord our God, not with the cringing terror that is frightened of whimsical malice but with the profound conviction that this God is perfectly just and does not play around with sin.
(2) Moses underscores the constancy with which the next generation is to be taught. The commandments Moses passes on are to remain on the "hearts"of the people (Deut. 6:6; we would probably say minds). Out of this abundance, the next words follow: "Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up" (Deut. 6:7). Even what they wore and how they decorated their houses should serve as reminders of the law of God (Deut. 6:8-9 ). We might well ask ourselves how constantly we teach our children the content of Scripture. In ancient Israel children usually learned their vocational skills from their parents, spending countless hours with them, which provided many opportunities to pass on the blessings of the covenant. Our more fragmented culture means we must make opportunities.
(3) Above all, the older generation was to model utter loyalty to God (Deut. 6:13-19). This consistent modeling was to include an utter repudiation of idolatry, obedience to the demands of the covenant, revering the name of the Lord God, doing "what is right and good in the LORD's sight" (Deut. 6:18). How faithfully have we, by our own living, commended serious God-centeredness to our children?
(4) There must be a sensitive awareness of the opportunities to answer questions our children raise (Deut. 6:20-25). Never bluff. If you do not know the answer, find out, or find someone who does. We must ask ourselves if we make maximum use of the questions our children raise.