The Best "Selfie"
The passage was Deuteronomy 4 and the theme of the first few verses will be picked up in Deuteronomy 6. The Hebrews are about to enter the land of Canaan, promised to them by God from the time of Abraham. Moses is reviewing their past history as preparation for their successful entry into the Promised Land. In chapter 4 he reminds them of the importance of obeying God’s commands. But there is an added feature to that reminder. He says: “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” (4:9). In Deuteronomy 6, Moses will give specific suggestions as to how the Hebrews are to teach their children the story of God’s faithfulness and His instructions on how His people are to live.
The logic behind this instruction was simple: If people don’t continually rehearse their stories, especially when it comes to what God has done and is doing in their lives, they forget. When they forget the stories of grace in their own lives, they begin to move away from God. If they don’t pass on their experiences with God to their children they miss a golden opportunity to demonstrate their own faith and to provide a foundation for the faith that their children need to personally appropriate one day. Eventually a generation will arise that doesn’t know anything about the Lord. And we know what that looks like.
It was interesting that what I read in my meditation this morning corresponded to an advertisement in our local newspaper from the public health department. The article was about the importance of encouraging children to read by using books created for the child about the child. With the photos and words, mom and dad can help their children to learn to talk and to read. The goal is to help the child succeed in life by improving their ability to communicate from a young age.
Moses’ instructions take that idea forward by leaps and bounds. The Hebrews didn’t have the technological benefits that we have today, but the idea is the same. Why not sit down and prepare a simple book that tells the story of your spiritual journey with words and pictures and then tell that story to your children? Why not prepare a simple book that begins to chronicle their spiritual journey? I still have the certificate that was given to my mother when I was born and enrolled in the Cradle Roll Department of my local church’s Sunday School—it’s part of my journey and I value it. Why not write your story so that your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren will have a record of your faith and how God worked in your life, and what you have come to believe about God? Pass the story on. You may never know just how significant it might be to someone long after you are gone. When parents and grandparents are faithful in passing on the story of God’s working in their lives, they help to build into the next generation a knowledge of God that will produce spiritual fruit at some point.
I am writing my story. I have no children to pass that story on to, but perhaps someday someone will read it and be blessed anyway. But this morning I really did wish I had a little kid to talk to about my Jesus.