Richard Agee

Deuteronomy 6: Teaching children to respect, follow the LORD

We are told to follow the LORD’s commandments (מִצְוֹת mitzvot, Strong’s lexicon No. H4687), the statutes (חֹקים chuqqim, H2706) and judgements (מִשְׁפָּטים mishpatim, H4941). The commandments, statutes and judgements are written down so that we will “fear” (יָרֵא yareʾ, H3372a) the Lord and that we will teach that fear to our children and grandchildren.

Some people think we should not teach fear of God, because that will make children and adults recoil from God rather than grow closer to Him. Yet throughout the Bible, the words translated as fear (yare’ and פַּחַד pachad H6343 “dread” in Hebrew and in Greek φόβος phobos, G5401, “fear, respect, reverence” and ἔντρομος entromos, G1790, “trembling”) communicate trembling before someone or something more powerful than oneself, thus acting with respect and reverence. God teaches that respect for Him for Who He is as the One with the power to create, sustain and destroy all things is the starting point to learning more about the LORD’s mercy, or lovingkindness (חֶסֶד chesed, H2617a).

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov. 1:7)

“The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness.” (Psa. 147:11)

Another way to explain these different categories of Torah is to call them teachings, directions and laws. You can’t do one without the other. You have to be taught and instructed in these matters and then practice them and perform then. 

We are told later that we are to love the Lord but in our modern culture, we don’t know how to love God properly. The Hebrew word here is אָהֵב ’ahav (Strong’s H157). ’Ahav isn’t limited to love in the way we consider love. It includes the emotion we call “like.” The idea of loving someone without liking them is not Torah compliant. When Yeshua calls us to love our enemies, it’s not just an esoteric warm love, He also calls us to learn to like them and want their well-being. 

Deut. 6:4 says:

שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָד

Shem’a, Yisra’el! YHVH Elohim, YHVH echad.

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!

The Hebrew word אֶחָד echad (Strong’s H259) is attached to God’s personal name as being “one.” He is to be the one and only God of the descendants of Ya’akov (Jacob). 

We are told to love God with three parts of ourselves: heart, soul and might. The word translate as might is מְאֹד me’od (H3966). One of the alternative meanings of this word is abundance, putting everything in one place. We gather everything together that is a part of us and give it to the Lord. 

We have a hard time with the idea that God can be jealous. This word in Hebrew (קַנָּא qann’a, H7067) only relates to God. It doesn’t relate to anyone else. It means to be zealous, devoted, passionate. 

When God warns the people not to follow after other gods, we often don’t understand what He means. Many of us who were raised in a Christian or Jewish household don’t consider the possibility of any other powers. God says here there are other elohim, other powerful spiritual beings, and there are people who worship these other powers.

We can’t compromise with the word of God. We can’t take a path contrary to Torah just because it seems easier. We are to “keep on keeping on” with the commandments of God. We are to learn one lesson and build upon each lesson. 

Deut. 6:6 says that we are to teach the commandments of God “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.” The best teachers for children are the parents, because it is the parents who are with the child when they wake up and when they go to bed. They are there to answer those random questions a child may have as they observe the physical world. Children watch their parents’ actions, which speak more loudly than their words. Even the most difficult and dysfunctional parent teaches their children something. That is why God tells us to respect them, yet parents also must act in accordance with that respect.

Speaker: Richard Agee. Reader: Jeff. Summary: Tammy.


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