~by Randy Bushey
These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 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 (Deuteronomy 6:6,7).
The Hebrew Torah – the first 5 books of Moses – concludes with the book of Deuteronomy. The book is a series of speeches by Moses summarizing Israel’s inconsistent history contrasted against Yahweh’s unwavering covenant faithfulness, together with a recap of key principles and laws.
The book bears this strange name because it is the recapitulation – or review – of the Law of Moses and many of the incidents recorded in the Torah, or Pentateuch. It is the deuteros for second, and nomos for law (both Greek terms): the Second Law.
In it, Moses is the first Bible expositor in history: Moses began to expound this law…(1:5).
Deuteronomy is sometimes called the favourite book of Jesus because the Gospels record Him quoting from it more than any other Old Testament book.
Chapter 6 contains this instruction for parents – and fathers in particular: These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 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 (v.6,7).
And the verse just previous, is identified by the Lord Jesus as being the greatest commandment of the Mosaic Law: Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (v.5).
Don’t miss this connection: love for God as our life’s priority results only when we are immersed in His Word.
But how do I know – what are the signs – that I’m experiencing Bible-immersion?
The ancient Israelites would know that they had reached the point of Bible saturation when His law and statutes would be normal conversation in their daily family activities – impress them on your children – during the routine tasks of family life.
In contemporary terms, they were living out – and naturally talking about – the Gospel.
Earlier in this passage, the Lord explains His far-reaching purpose: this commitment was to be spiritually protective not only for the next generation, but for the one after that.
[S]o that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you (v.2).
And then this unique emphasis: Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads (v.8).
Some conservative Jews continue the literal practice of phylacteries: little packets containing scriptural fragments strapped to the wrist or head. However, commentators observe that this appears to be intended as analogy – that the Word of God was to influence the work of the hands (tie them as symbols on your hands) and the processing of the mind (bind them on your foreheads).
And the next sentence, Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates (v.9) suggests that the family home was to be a Bible-immersion sanctuary under the provision and protection of Almighty God.
In other words, God’s Law was to be constantly impacting the mundane things in life at a micro-level; regulating the lives, marriages, families and total worldview at the macro-level.
Takeaway: Parents in general – and fathers in particular – cannot fulfill their God-given spiritual role in lives of their children, unless they are first committed to a disciplined, healthy, wisdom-enriching diet of God’s Word in their own lives.
That is the only way to fulfill the directive: These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts (v.6).
- this post first appeared in June 2019
- graphic by Jason Nelson, freeimages.com