The Law of Moses consisted of much more than the Ten Commandments. Commentators have identified in excess of six hundred specific commands within it. The enormity of this law staggers our minds, and we wonder how the Jews could have managed to keep up with all its many demands. The Law of Moses was intended to bring mankind to the Savior, Jesus Christ, and to the new covenant that He would implement. However, God made it clear that He intended the Jews to keep the Law until the Savior came.
One of the ways that He did so was to command Jewish parents to teach the Law to their children. In Deut. 6:6-9 Moses said, “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.”
The point of this command was to show that each generation must be taught to obey God. If this responsibility was not met, a generation would arise that did not know God or know His law. This is exactly what happened after Joshua died (Jdg. 2:10). The result was a chaotic period that lasted more than three hundred years. During that time Israel repeatedly disobeyed God and suffered oppression from their enemies because of it. So the importance of parents diligently teaching God’s word to their children cannot be overstated.
Today we live under the law of Christ, not the Law of Moses. His law is written in our hearts and is much simpler in comparison to the Law of Moses. However, we are no less responsible for obeying it than the Jews were for obeying the Law of Moses. Near the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount the Lord said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Mt. 7:21).
The importance of knowing and obeying God’s law is further emphasized by Paul in 2 Th. 1:7-8. There he said that when the Lord returns He will do so with His angels, “in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” Can there be any doubt that there are serious consequences if we do not obey God’s will?
This being true, we certainly have just as great a responsibility to diligently teach God’s law to our children and grandchildren as the Jews did in the time of Moses. In that time, under a law which was only a shadow of the good things to come (Heb. 10:1), the Jews suffered physical consequences for failing to teach their children to obey God’s law. In our time, under the law of Christ, if we fail to teach our children to obey God’s will they are going to pay spiritual and eternal consequences for our failure.
It is not coincidental that the command to diligently teach children was given to parents. They are the ones to whom the precious souls of their children are entrusted by God. Lest there by any question about it, this command applies just as surely to Christians as it did to the Jews. In Eph. 6:4 Paul told fathers to bring up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Therefore we must be diligent to prepare their souls for eternity. In order to do this, we today must do what God required of the Jews. We must have His word in our hearts (Deut. 6:6). If we truly have God’s word in our hearts we will not fail to diligently teach it to our children.