A study of the 6th chapter of Deuteronomy is a wonderful text for fathers. The statements of “You shall” or “You shall not” comprise a list of 10 directives to Dads. I have them marked in my Bible.
- You shall love
It has been said the best gift a man can give his children is to love their mother. A child reared in a loving home with mom and dad both present is blessed indeed. This passage refers to loving GOD. That is our first love. The greatest blessing of all would be for mom and dad to both love GOD and pass that love on to the children. That is precisely what is being taught in Deuteronomy 6.
- You shall teach
Talk of them – when, when, when, when. The commandments were to be the subject of conversation inside and outside the home, from beginning of the day to its end. GOD’S revelation should be so central to a godly family that they should naturally talk about Him while they perform daily activities. GOD cannot be compartmentalized in our lives.
- You shall bind
You shall bind them on your hands and as frontlets between your eyes. This referred to the practice in that culture but has application to us. GOD’S words must be personal to each. The Psalmist said to hide them in our hearts (Psa 119:11).
- You shall write
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house. We should have visual reminders of the LORD and His word in our homes. I recall Teresa having posters of Scriptures to learn in our son’s bedrooms when they were young.
- You shall fear
You shall fear the LORD your GOD and serve Him. Your actions speak louder than words. All of the teaching and talking will be for naught if YOU do not fear and serve the LORD. If you follow the LORD there is no guarantee the child will follow but if you don’t serve Him the odds are great your child will not as well.
- You shall not go after other gods
We live in a society filled with other gods. You might say you would never bow down to a wooden idol. That is not the gods to which I am referring. How about the god of materialism, or the god of pleasure and recreation, the god of power, etc. You get the idea. Matthew 6:24 makes clear that we cannot serve GOD and mammon.
- You shall not tempt the LORD
Reference is made to the people tempting the LORD in the wilderness and asking “Is the LORD among us or not?” (Exo 17:7) Let us be very careful of a disrespectful attitude or any disrespect shown toward our GOD.
- You shall diligently keep the commandments
The word diligently is a very interesting word. It means to be on guard. One translation says to carefully observe.
- You shall do what is right
Paul in speaking to the Thessalonians noted that “we preached and we behaved” (1 Thes 2: 9, 10). Our talk and our walk must be consistent. Our say and our do must match. No one can see that inconsistency better that a child in your home.
- You shall say to your son
Verse 20 of the text says “When your son asks ‘what is the meaning’…?” When, not if. When he asks! The doors of opportunity will open at various times. Fathers, be ready to give the answers.
After observing these 10 very powerful points, let us close by noting the 1st 2 verses of the chapter make 2 very powerful points. The first is that “GOD has commanded to teach you.” The first recipient of the lessons are the fathers themselves. The point is that we as fathers must have these things in our hearts before we can pass them on to our children.
The 2nd point is found in verse 2. Here a reference is made to “you and your son and your grandson.” My sons have long since grown up and have families of their own. But these 10 directives apply to grandfathers as well. So maybe we should say it is 10 directives to dads and granddads! Dear GOD help me to be the father and grandfather I should be.