Deut. 11:18-21 – Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds … Teach them to your children … So that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the Lord swore to give your forefathers …
Heritage…that is what Moses is talking about here. God instructed him to tell the Israelites that they were to teach His Words…God’s Words…to their children…to fix His Words in their minds and hearts. We are the spiritual seed of Abraham and, as such, these words apply to us just as they did to the Israelites. We are to be intentional, to make a lifestyle…of teaching our children…to give them a heritage of faith.
In Ephesians, found in the New TestAmen.t, the same mandate is given when we are instructed to put on the armor of God. This piece of His armor is The Word, our shield. There is no way we can learn who Jesus is except by studying His Word. The Bible gives us our instruction manual for life here on earth, and it was important enough that God directed many to contribute under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Israelites had only word of mouth to pass on to their children until Moses wrote down what God told him. We have the written Word. We have no excuse.
Hank drove over the rough country roads toward his farm. He’d picked up several sacks of corn seed at the grain elevator. Spring was coming. He needed to be ready. He looked out the window toward the fields that stretched as far as his eye could see. This was his land, passed on to him from his father, and his father’s father. His family had farmed this trek of land for many generations. His roots went deep.
When he was younger, Hank had been reluctant to follow his father around day after day. He wanted to go out to play…to do the things his friends could do…go to the same places his friends could go. But his father had insisted that he learn from him everything he’d need to take over. In those days, Hank wasn’t sure he even wanted to be a farmer. He wanted to explore other avenues of possibilities.
Now he was grateful. His father had implanted in him everything he needed to keep this heritage growing for his children and their children. It was a legacy far more valuable than just planting and harvesting. It was a way of life that was lost to many children. He drove down the lane into his farmyard. His son was waiting…kicking his toe into the dirt…reluctant…just as he’d been at that age. One day, my boy, you’ll thank me. I know.
Hank planned…just as his father had…to leave a legacy, a heritage of farming a land that held memories of generations before him. He planned to let his son enjoy the deep roots that went with this farm. That’s a key word…planned. The Bible tells us to be intentional when we build a heritage of faith into our children…to plan.
Building our faith heritage into generations to come begins with purpose in our hearts. That purpose was placed there by our forefather…Abraham…and has been passed on from generation to generation…as they walked, worked, and played together. We are to do the same. Hank understood his son’s reluctance but he also understood the value of what he plans to do, as he has experienced it.
Our children may not be terribly excited about memorizing scripture, or listening as the word is read every day, but we know, or should know, that this is the most important heritage we can instill in them. The inheritance of money will only last until they spend it. Their heritage of faith will last a lifetime and beyond.
Father, help us instill Your Words into the hearts and minds of our children. Remind us, often, of the value that Your Words have for life. Place teachers and pastors in front of us who will teach Your Word, and encourage us to teach Your Word to our children. Amen.