Deuteronomy 6

As the people of Israel prepared to finish their wandering and enter the land of Canaan, Moses gathered them to give the Law again and give promises and warnings for what would happen based on their decision to obey or disobey the Law. He starts in Deuteronomy 6:1-3 by telling them that He is giving them the Law not just so that they would keep it, but also that their sons and grandsons would keep it, for that’s what would determine if they would prosper in the land.

The fact is, we aren’t charged with keeping the Law of Moses, so that direct application may not fit us. But, the chapter outlines God’s plan for establishing multigenerational faithfulness. That faithfulness that is passed from father to son to grandson and so on should be the goal of every single Christian family. As the Israelites were to lay the foundation for their generations to serve God in the land, so Christian families should take steps to help their great-great-grandchildren, who they’ll never meet in this life, to have a heritage of people who love God. So how do we do it?

First, you have to love God. You can’t give your children something you don’t have. Unless you love God with all your being (6:5), you can’t show your children how to do that either. That’s the parent’s job, though – to pass on the love of God by putting His words on their hearts and talking about them day in and day out, everywhere you go (6:6-9). The Bible has to be a key part of your life, and once it is you can help it be a key part of your children’s lives.

How do we put that love into practice? You must reflect on what God has done for you. Why do we love Jesus? Because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). In Deuteronomy 6:10-13, Moses warns the people that when they move into the land and become prosperous and secure, they will become prone to forget God but they must fight against that by remembering what He did to bring them out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land (6:10-12). As a very prosperous, safe people, sometimes we forget that we rely on God for every breath we take. Daily reflection on His blessings is key.

Then, you must prioritize. Deuteronomy 6:13-15 calls back to the Ten Commandments, telling the people that they must put God above all else and remove the other gods of the land from His presence should they wish to stay in that land. We can’t love God in the way Deuteronomy 6:5 describes if we don’t root out every god that takes His place. Offering Him our leftover time and attention here and there isn’t enough. He must be first in our lives.

Fourth, you must practice your devotion to Him. In 6:17-25, Moses told them they were to obey God and carry out His testimonies and statutes. Once they did so, their children would ask them why they do what they do, which would give them the chance to explain God’s love and care for them. Families who don’t put God first and don’t strive to follow Him in the home will never have those opportunities to explain to their children why God matters. In Focus Press’s survey of those who have left the church, only 13% said they rarely or never attended Bible class. Most were there, but it still wasn’t enough. The most telling stat was that 74% said that the Bible was only open one to two times per week or less in their homes. All the church attendance in the world matters little if Christianity isn’t practiced at home.

Deuteronomy 6 is a powerful chapter. It shows us the importance of passing on God’s Word, but it also shows us how. We have to commit to loving God in our own lives, and once we do that we can reflect on His love for us, prioritize Him in our lives, and practice His commands in our homes. Commit to the kind of multigenerational vision Moses wanted the people in Israel to have. It’s time we put these principles into practice and start reversing the stats of youth leaving the church, one home at a time, then one generation at a time.