Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NIV)
Read: Deuteronomy 11:1-32
Consider: Today’s reading in Deuteronomy contains a challenge to the people of Israel. In Deuteronomy 11 the Israelites were told to share their knowledge of God with their children. This might seem obvious to us, particularly if you have been sharing your faith on a consistent basis with your own children. However, the Israelites are reminded why they should do this. We read: Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm; the signs he performed and the things he did … But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done (Deuteronomy 11:2-3a, 7).
As direct witnesses of God’s hand at work, the Israelites themselves were in the best position to share this knowledge and experience with their children. They needed to keep in mind that their children would not have been aware (or would not have been present) when these things happened. This reinforces something that we all need to keep in mind – that the essentials of faith do not transfer to another person by osmosis, or by association. The Israelites were told to:
- Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds (11:18). The Israelites needed to keep God’s providence in the forefront of their minds, so that they might share it;
- Tell them to your children (11:19). No-one else in the community had the responsibility to tell these things to thier children.
Does this challenge apply to us today, or is it just history that is interesting reading and of no direct relevance to us. As we enter a new year are we prepared to spend time getting to know the Bible (God’s Word) better? Also do we recognise that it is not enough to rely on church, Sunday school or anyone else to carry the responsibility for sharing our experience of God with our closest relatives.
I leave these challenges with you as 2023 stands before us – Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds and Tell them to your children.
Pray: Father, help each of us to devote time and energy to studying your Word so that we might be good witnesses for you with our children and grandchildren. Amen
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