The Israelites are standing on the brink of the land they were promised 40 years ago. Before entering, Moses reminds them one last time all God has done for them and how best to live a happy and fulfilling life.
Knowing they are about to enter a land filled with people who worshiped all manner of created things (the sun, the moon, the trees, their own sexuality, etc.) Moses reminds his people “The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!” (Deut. 6:4). This was a very distinct reminder as monotheism, that is the worship of ONE god was unheard of in the ancient world outside of the Hebrew nation. The Israelites knew that their God was the God, the Lord of the entire earth, the Creator of all. Like the ancient Hebrews, we also encounter people today who would rather place their trust in different values, belief systems, superstitions, and so on; even inside the church. And like the Israelites, it is important for us to keep our focus on God because in the end He will be recognized as the ONLY God and He will be King of the entire world (Zech. 14:9).
Moses also gives some parenting advice to the Israelites (Deut. 6:5-9). We are to love God, keep His commandments in our heart and obey them, and teach our children to do the same. God put a big emphasis on the importance of the people teaching the scriptures (our Bible) to their children. God did not say to rely on the priests to do it, and He does not expect us to rely on the church or Christian schools to teach our children about Him. It has to start at home! We cannot shirk the responsibility to teach our children about the wonderful God we serve. There are so many wonderful object lessons in the Bible, and these eternal truths can’t be learned just an hour a week in children’s class! They are most effectively learned in the loving environment of a God-centered home.
The Jews continue to be very good at making their religion an integral part of their lives. One of the reasons they are so successful is that what they teach their children is life-oriented, not just a bunch of information, facts, and figures. They use daily life experiences to teach about God. If you want your children to follow God, you too must make God a part of your every day experiences. You must teach your children to see God in every part of their lives as you do, not just those moments you are sitting in church together (because God is not a once-a-week kind of God).
Another reason Moses encouraged the people to teach their children about God daily, in the home, is because he knew they were about to conquer a rich and wonderful land and become very prosperous (Deut. 6:10-19). This prosperity, more than any amount of poverty the people had encountered, could dull their spiritual lives and cause them to forget about God. The same is warning holds true for us today. As we become more successful, it is very easier to become increasingly self-sufficient and our focus shifts from wanting to know more about God to just wanting more. More HDTV’s, iPhones, sports cars, big houses, more everything…except God. We may start focusing on our own selfish interests and petty jealousies, which leaves no room to be thankful or give a second thought to God.
Moses suggests that as the people settle down and become prosperous in their land, that they continue to tell their children the stories of their ancestors. How God parted the Red Sea, lead them through the desert, spoke to them Himself (Deut. 6:21-23). Not only will this help our children to learn about God and living a God-centered life, but it will help us to keep our focus on God. And if we keep our focus on Him, He promises to bless us in all that we do (Deut. 6:24-25).
Where is your focus today?