In our introduction I began by laying out four things we risk when we do not remember who God is and all that He has done. These were:
- Falling into idolatry/trusting ourselves or our possessions (Deut. 8:13-14)
- Never growing in trust of/faith in God (Isa. 40:20-21)
- Stumbling into sin and suffering the Father’s discipline (Deut. 8:19)
- Forfeiting a generation to the enemy (Judges 2:10-11)
In our exploration of remembering God, we’ll begin with his written revelation. God’s Word is our primary means of remembering who He is and all that He has done throughout history. As parents our most important duty in the kingdom is to take the words of God and, “Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home. Talk about them when you walk along the road. Speak about them when you go to bed. And speak about them when you get up” (Deuteronomy 11:19).
God’s Word is our primary means of remembering who He is and all that He has done throughout history.
When Josiah, the child-king who reigned in Jerusalem for thirty-one years, was twenty-six years old, an amazing discovery was made during repairs to the temple. You can find the account in 2 Kings 22-23. Hilkiah, the high priest, found the Book of the Law in the Temple. There are a couple of interesting things to note here. First, the Book was “found” which means it had come into disuse, it was “lost,” it was not being read and proclaimed to the people. When the Book is given to Josiah he had apparently been unaware of its existence or what was written in it. At this time in Jerusalem the very Temple was filled with statues dedicated to other gods. On every high hill in the country there were altars to foreign gods where the people of Israel would sacrifice even their own children. This was a culture that had forgotten God’s Word, forgotten his covenant promises, forgotten who He was and what He had done to make them his people, and as a result, had fallen into the deepest, darkest pits of demonic idolatry. The second point of interest is Josiah’s reaction upon being exposed to the Holy Scriptures for the first time.
When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, … “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”
Josiah’s response is one of repentance and a newfound zeal for the Lord. His heart was turned from idolatry and he was spared the discipline that the Lord would eventually bring on Judah.
There is a lesson to be learned here. God’s Word must hold an active and prominent place in our family life and in our homes. We cannot let it lapse into disuse because, if we do, inevitably something else will come in to fill that vacuum as it did in Jerusalem. It must be ever before us as a reminder. We are the spiritual descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, of Peter, Paul, and John. Children need to know where they came from if they are to understand where they fit into the bigger picture and where they are going. They need to have a sense of history and their place in it. They must understand where they fit in to God’s redemptive plan.
So how can we be a family of the Book? Every family is different but here are two ways straight out of the good Book itself that any of us can employ right away and to great affect (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).
- Place the written word of God in strategic places throughout your home. These can be anything from a plaque over the door to the artwork on the wall to a white board by the breakfast table with a verse of the day. Select a verse that speaks to you about each of your children and place that prominently in their bedroom. Use notecards or sticky notes on the bathroom mirror or in their lunchbox. Whatever form it takes, fill your home with His Word.
- Make reading of the Word aloud part of your family routine. This could be as simple as having a new verse or passage to read at the dinner table each evening. If you have readers, allow them a chance to do the reading. Then give the family some time as you break bread together to discuss it. Even with pre-readers this can be a precious time and generate some great questions.
The most important thing we can do is lead by example. Show them how to approach God’s Word with respect, in prayer, and with the expectation that God will speak to you through it. Even if you think you are weak in this area you’d be surprised what your children are picking up on and how far a little faithfulness on your part will go.
Tune in next time when we talk about “Remembering God in Song.”