Teach Them Diligently

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD
your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 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.”

Deuteronomy 6:4-7

This prayer comes from the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy. It has become a well-loved Jewish prayer and declaration of the basis of their entire faith. In fact, this is often the first bit of Scripture that many Jewish children memorize.

However, for Christians, these verse are still a powerful reminder of the importance of passing our faith onto our children. And, for homeschooling moms, this passage reminds us that Bible study and sharing the tenets of Scripture are not just a Sunday morning or family devotional time. God’s Word is to be woven into the very tapestry of our lives.

I get it.

It is very hard to do this. My life is chaotic. My home is disorganized, and my to-do list frequently overwhelms me. Sometimes, sharing the truth of God in my life with my kids feels like just one more thing to add to the list. One more thing that didn’t get done that day. One more thing to beat myself up about at the end of the day because I didn’t do it.

I think, though, that one reason that it doesn’t get done is because I don’t have an accurate view of what “teaching them diligently” really looks like.

I have this picture in my mind of this amazing mom who always knows that perfect scripture for her teen daughter’s problems; one who never gets angry, but gently prays over her children when she is feeling stressed. I have this mental image of my kids gathering around me on the sofa while I read Bible verses, and we sing songs together.

Because I am such a Hot Mess, my reality is often different. My teen shares stuff with me and my reaction is “Whoa! Where did that come from?” I’m usually either speechless or starting a spiel about how our family doesn’t work that way, and I don’t care what your friends do… blah, blah, blah.

I am the one sighing loudly and rolling my eyes at the kitchen table when my son adds 8+8 and gets 61 for the fifteenth time today.

I gather my children together on the couch to read and one is burping loudly, the others are giggling about it, and they are all trying to push each other out of the coveted, ‘sitting beside mom’ spots.

However, reading on the couch together and having nice little sermons for your teens isn’t really what this scripture says we are to do, as important as those pre-planned moments are.

We are to weave God throughout our life. When we are sitting down (Whoa. That TV show is not something Jesus would want us to watch. It makes sin seem funny. Let’s play a game instead.) When we walk (or drive) by the way. (I hate that billboard. It makes women seem like sex objects instead of ladies made in God’s image) When we lie down, (Am I the only one who sang Jesus Loves Me 5,000 times in an effort to get my babies and toddlers to sleep at night?) and When we get up in the morning. (What a beautiful sunset God painted for us this morning!)

I love the image of teaching our kids God’s word when lying down and getting up. See, in Biblical times, the whole family likely slept in the same room. Can’t you hear those ‘going to bed questions’ as mom mended a tear in a tunic by the light of an oil lantern?

“Momma, tell us the story of David one more time.”

“No, I liked the one about Elijah going to heaven in the fiery chariot. Tell us that story.”

Imagine the little boys watching their daddies say their morning prayers as the sun rose and the prayer shawls billowed in the wind. When you live in tiny spaces, you can’t fool your children about the depth of your spiritual life. There’s no hiding it.

As modern families, we don’t have the closeness that living in one or two rooms will bring. (And as an introvert, I am grateful for my space.) So that means that we must be much more intentional about bringing God into our lives and in that of our children.

Wake up each morning and pray that God will open your heart to opportunities to share Him with your kids. I promise, that is one prayer that he will answer.



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rebeca Jones
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 14:30:03

    That picture in your mind of the amazing mom sounds suspiciously similar to that dreadful Proverbs 31 woman. Shudder. She gives me hives. Your reality made me laugh as it is so like my own. 🙂

    I think you summed it up well. “Wake up each morning and pray that God will open your heart to opportunities to share Him with your kids. I promise, that is one prayer that he will answer.” I find this thought-provoking. I don’t think I have been this intentional about looking for the opportunities. I just take them as they strike me. I believe I’ll be praying this prayer. Thank you.

    Blessings to you today. This is a great post!


  2. fairfarmhand79
    Aug 13, 2014 @ 16:09:10

    Blessings back at you! Have a wonderful day. And surely, you and I are not the only women who have children like these. Of course, it’s the kids’ fault right? Couldn’t be that mama’s a hot mess too?


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