Thursday, May 19, 2011

"Teaching Kids: Isn't that the church's job?" Part the First

(Note: The intent of this short series is not to be exhaustive, but to give us somewhat of a "bird's eye view" as to whom is responsible to see to the Christian Education of your children. It is not meant to undermine parents or the Church. It is not meant to be condemning, but, for some, quite possibly could be. Remember, the Law, as much as it may be uncomfortable and hurt, must be preached in full sternness that we may receive the Gospel in its full sweetness.)

First Focus: Verses 4-9
(4)"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. (5)You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (6)And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. (7) You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (8) You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (9) You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

Here the nation of Israel is given the "shema" (meaning "hear" or "listen") which is an early creed of Israel's faith in God. This was not to be some mere rote action of conformity, but to be done so believingly, fervently and above all else. These words were to be in the hearts of the parents, living them out, so that they could not only teach their children from the scriptures, but from their lives as well. They were to take every opportunity, every teachable moment, and instruct their children.

Second Focus: Verses 20-25
(20) "When your son asks you in time to come, 'What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?' (21)then you shall say to your son, 'We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. (22)And the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. (23)And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. (24)And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. (25)And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.'"

Here we see a brief form of catechesis. Kiel and Delitzsch explain it like this:
"In Deu_6:20-25, the teaching to the children, which is only briefly hinted at in Deu_6:7, is more fully explained. The Israelites were to instruct their children and descendants as to the nature, meaning, and object of the commandments of the Lord; and in reply to the inquiries of their sons, to teach them what the Lord had done for the redemption of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt, and how He had brought them into the promised land, and thus to awaken in the younger generation love to the Lord and to His commandments."

In verse 25 "righteousness" does is not meant as in a merited legal status, but in context is mean "righteousness as the right response or obedience to God's covenant."

Summary and Conclusion for "Part the First": Through Moses the Israelites are given the "shema". It is to be "on your heart." The Isralites are then instructed to in turn teach their children the shema that they might fear and love God. Here, in this case, it is the instructed responsibility of the parents to see to their children's Christian Education.
ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL : Crossway Bibles, 2008
Deuteronomy 6
Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament
TLSB. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2009

Jesus Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

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