Deuteronomy 6:6-7 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 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.
These verses are a part of the Shema that orthodox Jews repeat four to five times a day. The oneness of God and the great truths which God commanded us to absorb should be passed also to our children. The truth that we should be sharing is not only the commands of God but the gospel of God and why it is “the way” to everlasting life.
In the chapter preceding these verses, Moses reminded Israel of the Ten Commandments, the need to love God, and acknowledge that God is one. God delivered them from bondage in Egypt and is ready to let them enter the Promised Land. Christ too has delivered us from our bondage to sin into the Promised Everlasting life.
“These words” (v. 6) refer narrowly to the commandment “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength,” and then, in verse 4, “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.” More broadly it includes the Ten Commandments. The people of Israel (God’s chosen) are to meditate on these commandments and teach them to their children by talking about them in their homes, on the road, when lying down and when they rise in the morning.
“Shall be on your heart” (v. 6) is linked with the idea of remembering, and you can remember what you have memorized. Memorizing the commands means you have them available to you so that you can live them out.
We too should be teaching these commandments to our children as Jesus instructed. In Matthew 28:20, Jesus refers to our responsibility to be “teaching them”—that is, those whom we disciple—“teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” In Ephesians 6:4, instructs us to “…bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” We live in a time where morality is not from God but from the individualism of the culture. Some have called this time we live in the “Post Christian Era”. We must teach our children that their moral compass comes from God. And that indeed there are universal truths that are given to use by our God of Grace and Truth.
Moses said that the method used to make this message unforgettable by constant repetition. Thus whether while sitting at home or walking in the pathway, whether lying down to sleep or rising for the tasks of a new day, teacher and pupil must be preoccupied with covenant concerns and their faithful transmission (v. 7). Sitting suggests inactivity; and walking, of course, activity. Together they encompass all of human effort. Likewise, to retire at night and rise up in the morning speaks of the totality of time.
By Mike Roe