The Third Part of an Eight Part Series on The Seven Rules of Life Which Began on March 21, 2016
Solomon gives us Seven Rules of Life in the first nine chapters of the book of Proverbs. The First Rule is the most important: Never Forget God. The Second Rule highlights the value of parents.
Listen And Learn
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Proverbs 1:8
Life operates through some fairly simple principles: Say please and thank you, show some respect, don’t cut in line, take responsibility, work hard – and other things our parents and grand parents taught us. When practiced over time, they become a part of our nature; and if held tightly, our character.
In the Proverbs there is a close connection between God and parents. And this makes sense, since every child looks to a mother and father. First, for complete protection, and then as each year passes, a progression toward complete independence.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 was at the heart and center of Israel’s relationship with God. There is only One God, and they must love and obey Him alone. This passage contains some clear directives for strong, godly families:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (v.5).
“In some respects it can be argued that the whole book of Deuteronomy is simply a commentary on this one verse.”
(Christensen, 1991, p. 143. Word Biblical Commentary, volume 6A, Deuteronomy 1-11. Dallas: Word Books).
Moses spoke to the families of Israel and reminded them to love the Lord supremely. He was to be the object of their love. Today God intends for our homes to radiate our love for Him, and for our relationship with Him to be more important than work, hobbies, money, or anything else. Healthy families need a solid foundation built on the love of God.
Set God’s Word on your heart (v.6).
Merrill states that, to be upon the heart is to be in one’s constant, conscious reflection.
(Merrill, 1994, p. 167. Deuteronomy (Vol. 4) In The New American Commentary. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group).
The commitment the Israelites had to God and His Word was to be more than just a mindless ritual. The Word of God was to be within the hearts of parents. When we were children, God desired that our parents model to us a deep personal closeness with the Savior and adherence to His Word. He intended for us to consistently see, hear, and experience our parents’ love for God.
Teach your children to love God and His Word (vv. 7-9).
Israel would “ensure continuity of this allegiance and this covenant faith by diligently teaching her children.”
(Thompson, 1974, p. 121. Deuteronomy: Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press).
Parenting must be intentional. Parents must make a concerted effort to communicate to children their relationship to God and love for His Word. Healthy parents seek to instill a love for God in their children. Deuteronomy 6:7-9 explains how and when God’s Word should be taught: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Deuteronomy is actually a sermon preached to Israel by Moses as they prepared to enter the promised land. These principles are timeless, and God wanted the people to remember them forever.
Jesus said: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25
The Second Rule of Life: Listen And Learn.
Dr James P Porowski Licensed Psychologist Professor Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Raleigh NC March 24, 2016