You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 11:19, NKJV)
Moses had been with the Israelites for 40 years. He had been their leader, teacher, miracle worker, and mediator. Some of the most dramatic and memorable miracles that God has performed were done through Moses for the benefit of this very people in their very sight. Now he is departing. The book of Deuteronomy is his farewell address before he is about to go to be with God. In the midst of that, is this verse instructing them to remember everything that Moses had written, that God had told them, and what God had done for them and to “teach them to your children” every day and all the time.
This is remarkable because they are on the cusp of the conquest to take the land and receive all the promises of God and God sees fit to pause and to instruct the people on how they are to raise their children. In verse 2 of this chapter, God says he is not speaking these things to their children, but rather to the Israelites themselves. They are the ones who have heard from God and have seen his miracles and it is their job to pass this on to their children. It is not to be assumed that their kids will just pick it up. They are to teach these things when in their homes, when they are traveling, when they wake up and when they go to bed. In other words, every day, all the time.
I hear that and I immediately have two thoughts. First, I think – of course. Next I think- exhausting! How can anyone in 21st Century USA live up to this standard? I mean it can’t really mean every day, all the time. Can it?
Well, of course it does. But it isn’t supposed to be exhausting or forced at all.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble. (Psalm 107:1-2)
What else can a sinner saved by the merciful grace of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ do? We tell of his mighty work in our lives and what he instructs. We want to do this.
Integrating the truths, commandments, and promises of God into daily life can come naturally. Of course we are to pray before meals and in the morning and at bedtime. But it’s so much more than that. When in the car on the way to and from school, we turn off the radio and ask our kids to recite some Scripture they are learning. When viewing a sunset or a beautiful landscape we point out how they scream the glory of God. When it rains, we talk about God’s providence in watering the plants. When our kids face disappointment we tell that about their Father in heaven who loves them despite their successes and failures and who will one day make all things new again.
And here is the beauty of this text. It points forward to our savior, Jesus Christ.
In this same book of Deuteronomy we read this prophecy
17 And the Lord said to me…18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. (Deuteronomy 18:15-22)
In the New Testament we read that:
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)
Just as Moses was the bearer of the Word of God, Jesus Christ is the very Word of God (John 1:1). He is our leader, our teacher, our miracle worker, and our mediator. He has done dramatic and memorable miracles in our lives, for those of us who receive Him by Faith (Ephesians 2:8-10). For this is our “work,” that is to “believe” (John 6:28-29). We are to tell (teach) these to our children, when in our homes, when traveling, when going to bed, and when waking up. We are to constantly remind them of who Christ is, what Christ instructs, what he has done in our lives, and what he promises.
We are to do this every day, all the time.