The Litmus Test of Being a Good Parent: Deuteronomy 6


I know when you first read this you’re going to think this is a tirade on bad parents. Actually it is not. It is a praise for the many parents who love their children with all of their hearts. It is about parents who sacrifice for, pray for and tirelessly expose their children to all of the good things they never got to experience when growing up. This can be a very wonderful thing. Or it could backfire on us.

I see parents who love their children with all their hearts and are yet leading them in a wrong direction. They have fallen for the deception of the god of this world and that is to allow their children to become so busy with ‘life’ that they have no time for the most important thing. I read once that “busyness is not of the devil, it is the devil.” I see children who are busier than most adults who work a 40 hour job. It is one activity after another after another after another…..

We want our children to be well balanced and enjoy all that life has to offer. Or do we? I grieve over a big mistake I’ve seen the church and parents make. That mistake is that we’ve taught our children how to do everything but the most important thing…to encounter God and know His voice. We’ve taught our children how to attend church, be a part of youth group, sing in the choir, but have we taught them how to know God? We spend hundreds of dollars on the best programs (which is not a bad thing), but does it get the job done? I’ve watched children grow up in the church, attend every service and every youth group and walk away from God when they leave home. Their values begin to mimic the values of the world rather than the instruction of God’s Word. Where have we failed? We make excuses and often misquote verses, like “train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it.” And we say, “well the Bible says they will return”, and prayerfully they do.

What does the Scripture say about how we should raise our children? I’ve taken a little liberty and inserted other words that are relevant to this conversation and today, so legalist, don’t get into an uproar and please just understand what I am saying. These words are in parentheses.

Deuteronomy 6:1–9, 14, 15, 17, 18 (NLT) — 1 “These are the commands, decrees, and regulations that the Lord your God commanded me to teach (parents). You must obey them in (your responsibility as parents), 2 and you and your children and grandchildren must fear the Lord your God as long as you live. If you obey all his decrees and commands, you will enjoy a long life. 3 Listen closely, (parents) and be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land (of God’s Promises), just as the Lord, the God of your (parents and grandparents), promised you. 4 “Listen, (parents) The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are {traveling}, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 (Keep them always in front of you, everywhere you go). 9 (fill your home with the Words of God)….14 “You must not worship any of the gods of (this world) 15 for the Lord your God, who lives among you, is a jealous God. His anger will flare up against you, and he will (hold you accountable)
17 You must diligently obey the commands of the Lord your God—all the (Words and commands) he has given you. 18 Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so all will go well with you. Then you will enter and occupy the (promises) that the Lord swore to give (you) .

So can our children be involved in the activities of life? Of course, but not at the expense of knowing God and hearing His voice. We cannot allow our children to be so busy that they do not have time to know and experience the most wonderful of life’s blessings, GOD. It begins with parents who must know Him and know how to hear His voice before they can teach their children. This is more important than clubs, sports, the latest movies and the hottest new group on the concert tour. We must show God in everything we do. God has blessed us with wonderful opportunities for our children, but we cannot eliminate Him and His blessing from these opportunities. Nor can we allow these opportunities to steal His place in our lives.

I heard a youth pastor say recently that one of his youth (teens) did not know who Abraham was. Yet this child could give you the name of every hit song, box office movie and TV program. This was not a bad youth, just one who had been subtly indoctrinated into the world and not into God. In Nehemiah 13, Nehemiah had returned to Jerusalem from vising King Artaxerxes of Babylon and was dismayed at the many things he found. One of the things is in Nehemiah 13:24 (NLT}: Furthermore, half their children spoke the language of Ashdod or of some other people and could not speak the language of Judah at all. We are raising children who know how to speak the language of the world, but not the language of God. Parents, it is our responsibility to not only teach our children how to know and “do” church, but how to know and “experience” God.

It is not the church’s responsibility to raise our children spiritually. The church should supplement what Deuteronomy 6 Parents are putting into place in the home. Youth Pastors and Children’s Ministers are not replacements for parents, but provide a support system for the parents. As parents and grandparents, we are first models and secondarily teachers. Most people will repeat what was modeled to them in their early years. This is what Deuteronomy 6 is telling us. Model our passion for God in everything we not only say, but do. Teach our children through word and deed and let’s see God’s promise come true. What is that promise…”That it might go well with you and you will enter and occupy the promises that the Lord sword to give you”









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