As Father’s Day approaches, our thoughts turn toward those of our earthly father. Whether the relationship with our own father has been one filled with great memories or it has been disastrous, there is no doubt that the impact of a father; good or bad, has lasting influence. We need to look no further than to see the very real effects of a father or rather, the lack of a father, than to witness the moral decay that is attributed to widespread fatherlessness in modern American society.
The statistics do not lie. According to a 2010 US Census Bureau study, “An estimated 24.7 million children (33%) live absent their biological father.” Multiple US government studies show conclusive evidence that a large number of societal ills are due in part to the consequence of fatherlessness. Such consequences range from poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, poor physical & emotional health, to educational failure, crime, & sexual promiscuity. There is tremendous need in our society for men to step-up and fulfill their calling as committed fathers to their children or society risks further declination into this moral bankruptcy.
What about those of us who desire to remain as a devoted father in the lives our children? What do we do amidst this trend of fatherlessness?
As fathers we are commanded in God’s Word to teach our children the about the statutes and judgements of the Lord. One of my favorite passages concerning this subject is found in Deuteronomy 6 verses 6-9.
6 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 And you shall teach them diligently to your sons and speak of them when you sit in your house, when you walk on the road, when you lie down, and when you get up. 8 You shall also tie them as a sign to your hand, and they shall be as frontlets on your forehead. 9 You shall also write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deut. 6:6-9 NASB
Of particular importance is this application of diligently teaching our children. The word picture here literally means to “whet” or “sharpen” as one would use a whetstone to sharpen a bladed tool: to sharpen our children with the word of the Lord. It is foundational that we are to train our children with these statues, judgements, and commandments. I like how Benson’s Commentary refers to this diligent teaching, “…that they (teachings) may pierce deeply into their hearts. This metaphor signifies the manner of instructing them, that it is to be done diligently, earnestly, frequently, discreetly.”
We are to talk about the words of God when we are hanging out with our children, when we awake in the morning and lie down at night, and when we are going about our daily business.
Nevertheless, merely talking platitudes and clichés are not enough on which to build a solid, Biblical foundation for our children.
Read Deuteronomy 6:20-24:
20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 And the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. 23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. 24 And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day.” Deut. 6:20-24 NASB (emphasis mine)
We can then conclude that we are to dialogue and discuss with our children about the great things that God has done in our own personal lives. Children are naturally inquisitive and should have questions about our testimonies and the statues of the Lord our God. It is in those moments of dialogue that God provides us with the opportunity to teach our children about His Mighty works. This should be reason enough why we are to live our lives as the observable evidence to our children of God’s divine providence. We are to be ready to give an answer when asked by our children about our testimony and how we’ve seen the Lord move in our lives.
While the special blessings mentioned in Deuteronomy were specific to the Israelites, we can clearly see throughout Scripture that this principle of parental responsibility with blessings is still applicable today. Our due diligence, therefore, is to constantly and consistently teach our children these Biblical precepts. We must remain prudent in that responsibility to our posterity lest they forget the great things the Lord has done.
Luke C. Jones
Guest Discerning Dad
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