Week of Monday, April 4 – Sunday, April 10
On your Heart – Man as Instructor
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” – Deut. 6:4-9 ESV
Ever encountered someone who was the embodiment of “Do as I say, not as I do”? Maybe this person was a parent or maybe a supervisor on a job. We all know people like that. And it is difficult to follow a person whose “talk” doesn’t match his “walk.” That’s why it is so important that in our role as Instructors we try to live out what we teach.
Moses makes that point in Deuteronomy 6, which is one of the key texts for Jews. In v. 4, he gives us the “Shema,” the basic confession of faith in Judaism even today. This is the Great Commandment quoted by Jesus, essentially to love God with all you’ve got. And Jesus said: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). So loving God is closely tied to keeping his commandments. And that is what we find here in v. 6: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.”
Most of the commentary on these verses following the Shema (v. 4-5) is on the plan to pass on God’s word to the next generation, to teach the commandments to our children, to impress his law on their hearts (v. 7-9). Yet after the command to love God with every fiber of our being, the very next thing Moses talks about is the fact that God’s word is to be “on our hearts” (v. 6). Before we make an attempt to teach someone else the word, we need to devote ourselves to living the word ourselves. Obviously, we will never live it out perfectly, so don’t use perfection as an excuse not to try. But make an honest effort and then take the next step to instruct your kids and grandkids.
Then Moses begins with a command and ends with a process (v. 7-9) as to how to do it. The word translated “teach them diligently” literally means “to whet” or “to sharpen.” The picture is of a sharp object that makes a mark on or penetrates something else, like an arrowhead into a target, a router into wood, or a chisel in stone. Your training is to penetrate the hearts of your sons and daughters and to leave a lasting mark, a lasting impression. Imprint and inscribe these commandments on their hearts. That’s the idea here. Then Moses gives us the process (v. 7b-9). How do we do it? We are to talk about God’s word in every conceivable context of everyday life. 
Notice, it is not a lecture but a conversation. I have found that what is important to me becomes important to my kids and grandkids, and what is important to me comes out in conversation. This also tells me that we can’t pass on this responsibility to others. I am so grateful for Children’s Ministry and Youth Ministry and Sunday School and Christian Schools, but those leaders are not there when our children are at home, they are not there when we’re together in the family car on the way to practice, they are not there when the kids lay down at night, they are not there when they get up in the morning, they are not there when we sit at the table. The responsibility is squarely on parents and primarily on us as men.
Back to the point: Simply dropping kids off at church isn’t enough. Handing our children a Bible with their name engraved on it isn’t enough. Why? Because if we don’t talk about it, if we don’t live it, if we don’t practice it, chances are neither will our kids and grandkids. Paul said: “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things…” (Phil. 4:9). So it is out of our own personal walk with God and his word being on our hearts that we are to fulfill our calling as Instructors. 
  • Are you actively asking the Holy Spirit to put God’s word on your heart? Maybe he will use a pastor, a teacher, a mentor to do it, but before we can offer instruction, we need to receive instruction from the Lord.
  • Are you making the most of the teachable moments that happen when you are “doing life” with your kids or grandkids? How can you become more intentional about it? 
  • Ask God to help you not only live out God’s word but also become more intentional about inserting biblical truth into your conversations.