“But watch out! Be very careful never to forget what you have seen the LORD do for you. Do not let these things escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren. Tell them especially about the day when you stood before the LORD your God at Mount Sinai, where he told me, ‘Summon the people before me, and I will instruct them. That way, they will learn to fear me as long as they live, and they will be able to teach my laws to their children.’ ” - Deuteronomy 4:9-10
Obeying laws does not come naturally—or easily! Sometimes we feel that the laws are bad laws or that they are unfair, or we don’t like the government that passed them! So we find ways around them rather than submitting to them. But what about God’s laws? Why would we have a problem with them? Perhaps it’s because we don’t recognize that they are for our benefit.
When Moses reminded the children of Israel of the importance of obeying God’s laws, he said, “Obey them so that you may live, so you may enter and occupy the land the Lord . . . is giving you” (4:1). The pathway for God’s people to enjoy all that the Lord had provided for them was, and is, to obey God’s laws.
Take God’s laws for the physical universe. If we “obey” the laws of thermodynamics, we stay warm. If we “disobey” them, we get burned or frozen. If we “submit” to the law of gravity, we stay stable and secure, but if we attempt to defy this law, we may put ourselves or others in danger.
It is the same with the moral and social laws that God has created for human well-being. Try to imagine a neighborhood in which neighbors actually treat each other with love and respect! Think of the difference it would make if nobody stole or killed or lied! Our relationships would be transformed. Yet this is what would happen if people obeyed God’s laws!
Left to themselves, people fall into ignorance of God’s laws and reap the awful results of living out of step with the Creator. Constant referral to God’s laws is necessary. Even a casual glance at the Old Testament shows that God repeatedly sent his servants to help his people remember the value of his laws.
If an entire generation raises its children without God’s laws, a society will live in ignorance of the truth, leading to societal collapse and individual disaster. This is exactly what we see today. So the call to teach our children to obey God needs to be heard very urgently. Teaching God’s laws to children may not be fashionable, but it is smart! Moses himself said those who teach their children God’s laws display “wisdom and intelligence.”
For Further Study: Deuteronomy 4:1-14
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