I hope your family enjoyed singing and reading imaginatively this summer. Now that you have settled into another school year, I’d like to suggest a teaching technique that has proven itself over and over in my family. I saw it used on me by my grandmother, my mother, and her sisters. Later, I realized it came from Deuteronomy 1-6.
Talking about God in our homes and amidst daily life should be intentional, spontaneous, and relational. Simply taking out children to church or teaching them Bible during home school or at Christian school is not enough.
Moses wrote out the exhortation and warning he gave to the generation who had grown up during the forty years in the desert. Read Deuteronomy 1-6, especially 6:4-10;20-25. The essence of this passage is a warning of the severe consequences of turning their hearts away from God, forgetting His awesome deliverance from slavery and his provision for them during their years growing up in the desert, and then, disregarding His commandments and living like those around them. What a speech this is! It touches the mind and the heart. He is personal about the sorrow he has himself because God has forbidden him to go with them into the Promised Land and he appeals to their own experiences as well as to histor
LESSONS FOR US TODAY
First, we are to love God wholeheartedly ourselves before we try to teach our children and grandchildren. Then we are to diligently and intentionally teach the children the Ten Commandments, not adding to them or taking away from them (4:2;5:6-22). We are to be seeking to obey them ourselves before talking about them with the children in the morning and at night, in our homes, and when we are running about town. This conversation is to be intentional. The commandments are to be before us daily, thinking about them, posting them around the house. Intend to teach them, and make it happen. But, spontaneity is also a part of this teaching technique. Grab the moment when the opportunity arises as you go about life
Moses made sure that everyone knew there were consequences for disobedience. Blessings upon obedience; curses on disobedience. He told of the consequence he was to suffer for his own disregard of God’s command; he cannot go with them into the Promised Land. We should also make it personal, telling stories of our own or family histories of how God blessed obedience and examples of His mercy and grace. Talk easily about your own slavery to sin and how you came to trust in the Lord Jesus. Tell of His continuing mercy to you in spite of your daily missing of the mark set in the Ten Commandments.
Moses also told of the importance of showing reverence for God’s majesty and power. To actually fear Him because He both blesses and condemns. Children should show fear and reverence because God is like a consuming fire. A fire destroys everything in its path (4:24;6:15). This in an image to stir the imagination! Even a child can visualize it and be afraid. This is something we have veered away from teaching children in the last generation. Include it as you talk about God’s creation, His holiness, His majesty, His authority, His position as King.
Then, when the children ask what all these commandments mean, tell them stories from your family history when God blessed you, kept His promises, delivered you from slavery to sin. Include stories from the Bible and church history too. And how Jesus kept these commandments perfectly for us. We are covered in His righteousness if we have faith. He taught us to obey these same commandments, “And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
“In and Out, In and Out,
That’s what dump trucks are about
With a knickknack, pollywack,
Give the dog a bone,
This ole truck goes rolling on.”
My granddaughter has a pink dump truck that sings this to a catchy tune. Perhaps it will help you remember to teach the children at home, and along the way, as you go in and out during your daily life. Seek to be intentional, spontaneous, and relational.