Teach them diligently

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.
Deuteronomy 6:6,7

Children play a prominent role in the covenant God has made with His people. Eve was promised redemption through her offspring, who would crush the head of the serpent. Abraham was promised a son in his old age. David was promised a son to sit on his throne after him, whose kingdom would have no end. The promises of God are given to His people and their children after them. Because God desires godly offspring (Malachi 2:15), it is the parents’ amazing duty and privilege to teach them diligently.

In Proverbs 3, Solomon exhorts his son not to forget his teaching. He teaches his son to trust the Lord, to fear the Lord, and to honor the Lord. He urges his son to pursue wisdom above all else. It is a tree of life for those who lay hold of it and by it God established the earth and heavens. It is life for the soul and adornment for the neck. This wisdom is not the wisdom of the world that says in order to be great, you must be great, but it is Christ, who says that to be great is to be the least.

In Matthew 18, Jesus set a child forward as the model for the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. It’s not the child’s behavior or level of understanding, but his position, his lack of status. Children are a constant pointer to the fact that Jesus humbled Himself and took on the form of a servant. Parents are called to be like this, to put themselves low – even lower than their children. Think of what you do as a parent: serving meals, changing clothes and diapers, working to provide them with everything they need. It’s the job of a slave, and you are not going to be successful parents without humbling yourselves and becoming servants to these little ones.

This comes with a stern warning not to offend one of these little ones. It would be better to have a great millstone tied around your neck and be thrown into the sea, or to have your hand or foot or eye cut off than to lead one of these little ones into sin. You will be judged by how you treat these little ones in your own home.

God’s covenant says that your children are not just lowly children, but are representatives of the humble child, Jesus; the child of God who took the form of a servant, made Himself of no reputation, and humbled Himself to death on a cross. That is the model child that you are to conform to, the Servant of Yahweh who is also Servant to Yahweh’s little ones. If you receive your child, you are receiving Christ. (Leithart)




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5 responses to “Teach them diligently”

  1. Robert Murphy Avatar

    Very nice. It’s appropriate for me today too as I lead my daughter to be examined before she can take her first communion next Lord’s Day. Thanks.

    1. Joshua Avatar

      Congratulations. That’s exciting! How old is she?
      I gathered quite a bit from Leithart’s post that I linked at the end. I’d recommend reading that as well.

      1. Robert Murphy Avatar

        Yeah, I subscribe to Peter’s blog. He’s in my presbytery. My daughter is 5 1/2.

  2. Marty Hadding Avatar

    I just wanted to let you know how much I really enjoyed this particular exhortation. It was humbling and strengthening at the same time.

  3. Joshua Marchlewski Avatar

    Thank you, Marty.