A little boy once asked his mom, “Can I go outside and help Daddy work on the car? I know all the words.”
Funny! And not far from true!
I remember the first time I heard one of my children repeat something I said. It really got my attention! In that moment I learned that I was teaching them without knowing it. Because children watch and model what they see in those around them.
In this series of looking at and learning from those who walked with God, I’ve worked our way up the timeline only to Abraham so far. So, let’s listen to what the Lord said to him.
After God handed down the covenant of circumcision (Gen 17), three visitors appeared to Abraham. The Lord restated the promise of God about Sarah having a son (Gen 18:10) and referred to God’s covenant with Abraham (Gen 18:18), then said:
“For I have chosen him,
so that he will direct his children and his household
after him to keep the way of the Lord
by doing what is right and just,
so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham
what he has promised him”
Let’s break that down . . .
What was the purpose for which he was chosen? So he would direct his children and his household.
What was he to teach them? To keep the way of the Lord.
How was he to teach them? By doing what was right and just.
The result? The Lord would bring about what He promised.
Teaching his children was part of how he was to walk with the Lord.
What was he to teach them? How to walk in the way of the Lord. As John Sailhamer writes, “The way of YHWH is also the way to YHWH.”
Later, Moses instructed the Israelites, “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” (Dt 4:9).
Everything the people of God learned, witnessed, and experienced in walking with God was to be remembered and taught to their children and their children’s children.
Teaching is one of the steps in the stride of our Christian walk.
This same teaching was passed down to King David . . . and King Solomon . . . and every generation that followed.
“Now Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father
the promises you made to him when you said,
‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me
on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful
in all they do to walk before me faithfully as you have done’”
(1 Kg 8:25).
Of course, parents are to teach their children to follow the ways of Jesus Christ by teaching them His teachings—in word and deed. In fact, all disciples are called to mentor. One such example is Paul’s exhortation to Titus to teach the older women to teach the younger women (Tit 2:4-5).
How we walk is the loudest lesson taught that gets the most notice.