"That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged" (Deuteronomy 6:2).
The Lord often has emphasized in His Word the vital importance of not only obeying His commands but also of diligently instructing our children therein-and so on from generation to generation. "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up" (v.7).
These instructions were given originally to the children of Israel, but can surely be applied also in our day. To carry them out requires real dedication and discipline in their own lives on the part of fathers. "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget . . . but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons" (4:9).
The Israelites did forget all too often, but so do many Christian fathers today. Our specific command today is: "And, ye fathers . . . bring [your children] up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). Our whole American culture once was structured on Biblical principles, but no more. We can blame the schools and activist courts, but a more basic cause is parental (especially paternal) failure. We again need to remember and apply in our own homes God's testimony to ancient Israel.
"For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them . . . and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments" (Psalm 78:5-7). HMM