Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | April 18, 2009

Deuteronomy 6:16-25

• A Call to Obey God’s Commands | Deuteronomy 6:16-19

6:16 | Moses knew that the people would face many difficult situations in the Promised Land in which they would be tempted to doubt God’s sovereignty and care. He reminded them of the experience of their fathers at Rephidim (Exodus 17:1-7) where there was no water for them to drink. Rather than trusting in God, who had parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:13-31) and miraculously made bitter waters sweet at Marah (Exodus 15:22-26), the people grumbled against Moses. The attitude of the people is recorded in Psalm 78:17-20 and Psalm 95:8. When they came to a place with no water they quickly forgot the God who had delivered them by parting an entire sea of water. Instead of trusting God, they put the Lord to the test by making their obedience to Him contingent on His meeting their demands. Moses warned the people to not put the Lord to the test as they did at Rephidim. The place near Rephidim where Moses struck the rock was named Massah [test] and Meribah [quarrel] in commemoration of the people’s lack of faith in God.

6:17-19 | Moses again exhorted the people to observe God’s commandments. Their success in the Promised Land was dependant on their obedience to God. They were to “do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord” (6:18) rather than what is expedient in the sight of men. God’s will was to be their standard of conduct.

• Instructions Concerning Children | Deuteronomy 6:20-25

father-and-son16:20-25 | Verse 20 reaffirms the importance of passing the faith on to the next generation. The covenant and commands were not intended for one generation only. They were to be passed on from generation to generation. Moses understood the inquisitive nature of children. He told the parents that the day would come when their children would ask them why they lived as they did (6:20). On that day, parents were to thoroughly explain the story of God’s redemptive activity to their children (6:21-23). Moses offered an outline of the answer parents should give to their children. It is simple enough for a child to understand: First, slavery in Egypt (6:21a). Second, miraculous deliverance out of Egypt “with a mighty hand” (6:21b-22). Third, the journey to the Promised Land (6:23). In addition, parents were to emphasize the practical benefits of obeying God’s commands, “for our good always and for our survival” (6:24), and that obeying God’s commands will result in righteousness (6:25).

We should encourage our children to ask questions about God. | A Persian philosopher gave the following answer when asked concerning how he had acquired so much knowledge: “By not being prevented by shame from asking questions when I am ignorant.” Children are inquisitive by nature. Parents should encourage their children to ask questions about God and be prepared to answer those questions.

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