“My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother.” (Proverbs 1:8)
One of the most difficult, yes, challenging principles to put into practice … at any age … is that of obedience! But it is especially difficult for the young. Even the word ‘obedience’ comes across to so many as being offensive. There is within each of us a real tendency to resist authority and to disregard rules.
Part of the legacy each of us should be leaving is that of living a life of respect for authority (at any level) before the eyes of others including our young … but most importantly this should be our way of life before the all-seeing and all-knowing eyes of God! The words of Moses recorded in Deuteronomy 6:4-7 truly express and establish the basis for parenting. What is that basis? It is knowing and loving the Lord with all of one’s heart, soul, strength and mind. You see, our young must learn even as we must continue to learn … our God has the right as our Creator to rule over us!
The teaching we give is to be done with diligence … on a continuing basis … and with a view to prepare our young for life (including our kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, etc.)! The fact is we’re expected by the Lord to help our young to prepare for life, for the real world and for what the world will confront them with. Ultimately, we should be preparing our young for Heaven and that will not happen without good and upright living here on earth!
When Moses spoke the words of Deuteronomy to the nation of Israel, he was by inspiration providing truths from God that would enable them to successfully enter into Canaan. The older generation was to be ‘hands on’ in equipping the next generation. What the coming generation would need is the very same thing every generation needs … God’s Word! They would need then even as we need today to know what God’s will is for each one of us. They would need then even as we need to know today how to keep our eyes on the Lord and how to store His word up in the heart.
A great deal of how well our young will live in the real world depends on how well they understand obedience. The fact is: we cannot give away what we do not have ourselves! A sound legacy is one of ‘”do as I say, even as I do!” Deuteronomy 6:7 reads “… and you shall teach them diligently to your sons.” “Teaching them diligently” means to sharpen. Maybe we should write this in the margins of our Bible. Our teaching of the young is to be purposed in order to provide our young with a sharp edge for living. We understand this principle when teaching our young how to hunt, fish, play golf, drive a car, etc. This kind of teaching, the Bible says will enable them to become more perceptive and discerning. This kind of teaching will help our young to face decisions, choices, challenges and the circumstances of life thoughtfully and deliberately rather than haphazardly. Who among us from older generations hasn’t looked back over our time with the young and wished to have done or said things differently?
Very simply, teaching our young the value of obedience is intended by our God to make sure that the edge of their heart, conscience and mind does not become dull … and this is why that teaching is to be continual. It should be the first and foremost objective in dealing with our young to help them acquire the taste for respect and obedience … and that must begin at the beginning place for everyone … the heart!
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).
Next Week: Reaching a better understanding of obedience with some specifics in mind.
Bill Fairchild, Jr.