For anyone in our Sunday morning Bible Class, we engaged in a beautiful discussion centering around Deuteronomy 6:4-9. So many people poured their hearts out in relation to passing on their faith to future generations. As a father, I reflect on this train of thought often, it is a natural goal as we want to create a legacy of our faith, and we also want to know that our offspring are destined for an eternal home.

Many people will ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, a doctor, firefighter, musician, artist, or engineer, and parents wish them some earthly success (i.e., fulfillment) for their child. Other parents want their children to grow up to be kind and compassionate, to be “good” people to themselves and those around them. But for me, my biggest desire is that my kids grow up to love God with their entire being. Because I know that if my children grow up to

“… seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33).

Part of them pursuing this end is for me to pass on a vibrant and lived-out faith. I do not want my kids to see me as a hypocrite, preaching one thing on Sunday mornings and living oppositely Monday through Saturday. This is precisely what Deuteronomy 6:4-9 points out.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 – “Hear, Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5 “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 “And you shall repeat them diligently to your sons and speak of them when you sit in your house, when you walk on the road, when you lie down, and when you get up. 8 “You shall also tie them as a sign to your hand, and they shall be as frontlets on your forehead. 9 “You shall also write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

There is a word used in this passage that is a Hebrew idiom or phrase that carries a more significant meaning than we might immediately grasp. This phrase translates as “you shall repeat them diligently,” but you could also render it as “repeat them again and again,” the gist is that it is a repetitive process. Yet the word coveys a more intensive meaning.
The Hebrew word is שָׁנַן shânan, [shaw-nan’]– to point (transitive or intransitive); intensively, to pierce; figuratively, to repeat:—pierce, sharp(-en), teach diligently, whet. On one level, by repetitiously using God’s word, we are piercing the heart of our children. And no wonder why the writer of Hebrews states,

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” (Hebrews 4:12).

God’s word has the unique ability to touch the deepest part of our existence.
There is still a more profound meaning; part of the word שָׁנַן shânan means to whet or sharpen- as in the process of using a whetstone to sharpen a knife blade. To hone a knife means to remove the imperfections of your edge and make it straighter and sharper; you are molding your knife to be its best version of itself (metaphorically speaking). We all know that a dull knife is dangerous, and if we want to bless the world, we need our children to be sharp and true, minimizing the damage done by a harsh and cruel world.

Because as the pressures of the world so easily wear us down, there is only one thing that will make them effective and resilient- that is by seeking God through His Word and Spirit. Therefore, through the repetitive and intentional use of God’s word in my life and home, I am shaping and sharpening my children for when they might need to draw deeply from the spring of Life. For those without children or past that point in life, how are you being molded or sharpened? How are you allowing God to hone you to where He wants you to be? Are you dulling, or are you becoming sharper? But I will do everything in my power to make those who come alongside me sharper.

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