These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons 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 up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Deuteronomy 6:6-12)
We live in a land of forgetful fathers. Turn on a nearby television and the picture of a father–one taken from the reality portrayed in our world–is one of haphazard, dopey, forgetfulness. He is late for dinner; he misses commitments; he undermines Mom; he is forever the jester. The biblical seriousness of fatherhood is often as absent as the very fathers themselves.
But just because something has been tainted does not make it forever lost. There are many dads out there striving to do right by their spouse and children. There are those who have committed to being better than the examples set before them. There are fathers out there striving to change the future by raising it, yet to do that with any measure of hope, one must look to the past.
This passage in Deuteronomy is a call to parents. It is an old text–just as truth itself is an aged thing–and it is full of relevance.
There is always a secret to everything growing up. “Wanna know the secret?” I recall adults telling me, as a child, after performing a magic trick or hitting a baseball or making, well, just about anything. There was always a secret and once known–whether it was how one “pulled” a quarter from an ear or how to keep an eye on the ball–success at said thing was a possibility unforgettable: once I knew the secret to a trick or some skill, I couldn’t unlearn it. I knew the secret.
And here, in Deuteronomy, God gives the secret. “Psst,” He says, “This is the secret!” And–the big reveal–the secret is, in fact, Himself. He’s, all at once, the magic and the magician! And the power of truth and of knowledge originates in Him and comes to us through His words.
How we raise our kids matters greatly. Andy Stanley says, “The most important thing about you likely is not something you do. It is someone you raise.”
So are you following the secret? Are you making much of the words God has given? Are you continually pouring truth into the cups of your children’s lives, so that even when they are alone or away or all grown up, the saturating lessons remain? Do they have the unforgettable secret written upon their heart?
This weekend we will dedicate the message in our three services to raising up the next generation. We will focus on the way we forget and the incessant reminder of Scripture to remember. We need fathers more than ever, on Father’s Day and each day thereafter.