Families are the perfect environment for discipleship. But I think, like the people of Israel, there are dangers we may encounter along the way that can cause us to overlook our most important job as parents. Here are 5 things I think we can learn from Deuteronomy 6.
1 // Pass on your identity as delivered people
God didn’t want the people of Israel to stop passing down the story of how He delivered them from Egypt. In the same way, I think he wants us to build into our children a profound sense of a gospel identity.
2 // Teach them to chase the right thing
God wanted the Israelites to be aware that they would naturally teach their kids to chase after something – and to make sure it was the right thing. We all find ourselves in a constant struggle with how much emphasis to put on education, athletics, skills, approval, money, and comfort. These things can potentially be held up as gods to chase. But they can be regarded as gifts to steward too.
3 // Guard against the dangers of affluence
God was leading the people of Israel into a land where they would have more than enough. But He knew that could eventually lead them to forget that He provided all of it. Affluence is a hazardous housemate – as it can suppress our belief that God is the source of our provision.
4 // Spend time together
God designed families to be together. He wanted them to see opportunities for teaching in things as simple as resting or walking down the street. He wanted His commandments to be in front of their eyes always. Since hearts and lives are shaped over the course of time, I think we should make it a priority to be present with our kids for as much time as possible.
5 // Make multi-generational faithfulness a goal
God wanted the Israelites to be concerned with whether their great grandchildren would be faithful. While all of us would probably say we want that, I think we should be thinking about what we can do now to establish or continue to pass on a family line of faithfulness to God.