April 25, 2017


Deuteronomy 6:24 The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today.

Once again we are back to God’s gracious, benevolent motives in giving His Law to the Israelites. Here it is in the context of people explaining it all to their children. It is important that we communicate not only what God has said, but why He has said it. In the time of Moses, few people were literate, so direct oral transmission of knowledge was essential. We have very little grasp of what that was like. Even the oldest people alive today are the product of hundreds of years of printed information, and young people today have always had instant communication via the Internet. Many people are thinking, or at least feeling, that there’s not much point in traditional education when all the information in the world is literally in the palm of your hand through an electronic device. The problem with that is, there is a world of difference between having information available and having it be part of who you are, ingrained into your thoughts, emotions, and decision-making. With something as important as who God is and what He has said to us, direct transmission from parents to children is the best scenario. God wants us to be prosperous (the Japanese translates that as “happy”) and successful, so He has given us His rules to that end. If parents want that for their children, and they should, then teaching them about God is of the utmost importance.

I had the huge blessing of being raised by parents who were fully committed to God, but even they fell into the trap of presuming on current traditions in education. They did present an excellent example of personal devotions and moral uprightness, but there wasn’t much talk that I can remember of why they did these things. We had group worship, including a Japanese family that was very close to us, and that was excellent, but for the most part I think they assumed that if the information was presented to me, I would absorb it. I read the Bible through at an early age, but it would have been even better had my parents discussed with me what I had read and how to apply it in all the situations of my life. Frankly, rather than learning from my parents’ mistakes I copied them, doing no better with my children than was done with me. That is actually the most common situation in every family, and entropy tends to degrade quality over time. As a pastor, I need to help parents understand that they need to be active and intentional in teaching their children about God, not just Bible stories but really who God is. None of us is really up to the task, but God will strengthen and enable us if our hearts are right before Him.

Father, my children are long grown and, because of distance, I have very little input into my grandchildren. Help me be faithful in transmitting knowledge of You to my spiritual children, particularly those who are right here. May I not only speak and write but model what You have shown me, putting Your truth into practice not only for my own benefit but for the sake of all those I influence, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

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About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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