When God says something twice, we should probably pay attention. One of those things is:
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
God says it again in Colossians:
Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. (Colossians 3:21 [KJV])
It is easy to focus on the negative: provoking our children to anger. We shouldn’t hinder their growth, especially in the Lord. But, in following the cross references, God gives another pattern of repetitive instructions on the positive side to teach our children:
Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.
(Deuteronomy 11:18-21 [KJV])
God says it again:
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 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. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
(Deuteronomy 6:4-9 [KJV])
God not only says it twice, but 3 times:
Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; (Deuteronomy 4:9 [KJV])
Breaking it down, here are some of the principles that I see:
- Be creative in keeping God’s Word in their lives: we can paint it on walls and place it where we will see it every day
- Verbally talk about God throughout the day: “walkest by the way” would probably be in the car for us, “liest down” could be bedtime devotions, “risest up” could be the breakfast table
- Get the grand parents involved
I looked up the word “diligently”:
8150 shanan shaw-nan’ a primitive root; to point (transitive or intransitive); intensively, to pierce; figuratively, to inculcate:–prick, sharp(-en), teach diligently, whet.
We are not just to teach God’s Word intentionally, but there should be some intensity to it. Also, the definition includes some persistence. According to Google, inculcate means “instill (an attitude, idea, or habit) by persistent instruction.”
What are we supposed to teach? Linked with these verses is God’s greatest commandment:
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (Deuteronomy 6:5 [KJV])
For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him; (Deuteronomy 11:22 [KJV])
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
(Matthew 22:37-38 [KJV])