Artists rendition of Deuteronomy 4:9
7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
I set the Bible translation to NIV during the message. I usually follow along in the KJV, but there was something that prompted me to look up different versions. The NIV sort of jumped out at me, though. “Impress” the Law upon your children!
An impression is not made passively. It requires action and usually requires intention.
However, the NIV is also not always the most reliable, so I bookmarked it for later.
It comes from Strong’s H8150, shanan, which can mean “sharpen”, and that definition is in every word position except one. One says “teach”, but one says “to be pierced”!
I sometimes find anti-COG critics’ remarks ironic. One criticism is about how the children are taught. Odd, given that is exactly what God commanded!
However, we must be careful as well. We must teach them wisely. Children, after all, are human beings, and they might look like one parent or the other, but they are their own unique individual.
6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
~ Pr 22:6
There actually are two ways this can be interpreted. However, I don’t find them particularly contradictory:
1. Train a child in the way he or she should go, which is of course God’s way. Teach them what is right, and not what the world teaches.
2. Train a in the “bent”, “manner” or “habit” they are going (H1870). This demands individualized teaching that is appropriate to the age, demeanor and intelligence of the child in question.
Can either of these be truly denied?
It comes down to free will again, doesn’t it? Children have it. God works with them similar to the way He deals with us.
God initiates our relationship by our calling. However, He also responds to what we do, say or think. How many stories in the Bible show God waiting for someone to make a move or a choice?
Relationships are two-way streets. It isn’t much of a relationship if everything is all one way. That doesn’t mean God tolerates sin, but there is so much that is left even after you cut out all the sinful aspects of life! God is generous. He sends rain upon the just and the unjust.
Back to children, though, what should be impressed or pierced with the Law? The heart! Moses was inspired to write that ancient Israel needed to circumcise their hearts. They should have learned from Pharaoh’s example due to the number of times he hardened his heart.
We tend to think of learning as involving the mind only. While the mind is required, it is the heart that truly needs to be pierced.