Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Parents - tell your story to your kids (like Moses does with Deuteronomy)

In Latin the name of this book means "second - Deutero" and "study/law - onomy". In Hebrew the book actually has two names "D'varim" meaning "these are the words of", which is the opening line of the book; and "Mishnei Torah" meaning "repetition of the Torah", which is where we get the Latin name. The book as a whole has eleven sections to it in Hebrew. Too bad they don't clearly mark them in English - maybe the book would be easier to digest and make sense.

"Hear O Israel" is a common phrase Moses uses to begin a discourse on an important topic. It means to really really listen and really really consider the commands and really really seek to understand it and to really really reflect on how to obey it and really really devote yourself to abiding by it everyday.

Did you catch in 4:6-8 God's argument for why they should keep the commandments of Yahweh?
Here it is in case you missed it (JPS):

Observe them faithfully,
for that will be proof of your wisdom
and discernment to other peoples
who on hearing of all these laws
will say, "Surely, that great nation
is a wise and discerning people."
For what great nation is there
that has a god so close at hand
as is the LORD our God whenever we call upon Him?
Or what great nation has laws and rules
as perfect as all this Teaching that I set before you this day?

(Upon reading this text I thought of Jesus and his words/works in the gospel.)

Here is another key text, it has huge implications for parents who want to pass their faith onto their children and grandchildren - 4:9 (JPS)

But take utmost care and watch yourselves scrupulously,
so that you do not forget the things
that you saw with your own eyes
and so that they do not fade from your mind
as long as you live.
And make them known to your children
and to your children's children.

Moses goes on to outline what it is to be made known in the rest of chapter four.

One of the greatest failures of Christian parents is in storytelling. Christian parents fail to capture the imagination of their children (pick an age - 4, 8, 12, 16, 18, etc) with their own faith. According to Moses, parents are to vividly remember key moments in their relationship to God, and then to pass those memories onto their children and grandchildren in story form. Most children of Christian parents drop out of the church after high school graduation (80%!!!!!!!!!!!!! according to Barna)...and alot of that is due to the sterile, unimaginative, dull faith of their parents. If parents would spend some time reflecting on their own journey, and then pass on those stories - around the dinner table, traveling in the car, walking down the street, while shopping (etc) - children would get a window into a real, honest, developing faith in a person with obvious flaws and a committed faith.

Hear O Parents - tell your story. Whatever it is, don't describe it as dull...just because you weren't a chain smoking biker with a criminal record who was saved when you miraculously survived a wreck and saw angels who restored your deafness...doesn't mean you don't have something meaningful to share about your walk with God.

Hear O Parents - If you think you have a dull story, then you believe in a dull God. Which is what you have been passing onto your children for as long as they have been alive.

Hear O Parents and Grandparents - There is still time - start reflecting, and start telling snippets of your story. And don't make it dull!!!!!!!!!!!

No comments: