Message summary: Fundamentally, for the believer, teaching our children well and seeing that they are successful in what matters most is of utmost importance. What matters most is that we love the Lord your God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our might.
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“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7). “He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget His deeds but would keep His commands” (Psalm 78:5-7).
This last weekend we toured the Touro Synagoguein Newport, Rhode Island. Built in 1763 it is the oldest synagogue building still standing in the United States, the only surviving synagogue building in the U.S. dating to the colonial era, and the oldest surviving Jewish synagogue building in North America. In 1946, it was declared a National Historic Site. It has been beautifully restored. We had the tour all to ourselves so we had plenty of time for back and forth discussion. The command to teach our children was and is a common practice of the Jewish people going all the way back to the law of Moses expressed so well in our daily text. The Jewish people have practiced this even before the law was given to Moses as they passed down their faith from generation to generation. This element of Jewish practice became Christian practice as well. During baby dedications parents make a pledge to raise their children for the Lord.
Baby dedications are a special time when parents make a commitment to the Lord to bring their children to church, to teach them about Jesus in their home, and also to provide for them a godly example. These are tender moments in a church service when parents publicly declare their intent to raise their children in the ways of the Lord.
Of course, you can’t script babies or small children so there’s always a possibility of something unpredictable happening, often rather humorous even for a solemn occasion. Consider the preacher who was holding a rather agitated little fella, arms flailing about, who knocked the preacher’s eye glasses off while he was praying over him.
Children can also have a potential for misunderstanding such as a little four-year-old who, after witnessing his baby brother’s dedication, sobbed all the way home in the back seat of the car. His mom and dad asked him three times what was wrong but got no reply, only more sobbing. Finally, the boy cried out, “The pastor said he wanted us to be brought up in a Christian home, but I want to stay with you guys!”
In the wonderful hymn titled “A Christian Home” we have these words of guidance and conviction:
Where Christ is Head and Counselor and Guide;
Where every child is taught His love and favor
And gives his heart to Christ, the crucified:
How sweet to know that tho’ his footsteps waver
His faithful Lord is walking by his side!
Perhaps Moses was holding a massive baby dedication when he issued the daily challenge to parents recorded in Deuteronomy 6. It presents a timeless responsibility for all godly parents: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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.” This speaks of a home permeated with God’s truth day in and day out.
We belong to a remnant staying faithful to the Lord. But my heart is grieved as I consider the increasingly hostile world these little ones are growing up in. This week we spoke to a young father who is attempting to teach his children truth as taught in Scripture and shield them as long as possible from the prevailing evil of our day. He shared how his daughter had been so confused when she was inadvertently exposed to moral depravity.
May the Lord richly bless and encourage all young families today and some not so young as many grandparents are now raising their grandchildren. May God grant prevailing grace upon each home committed to faithfully serving the Lord and building a Christian home. Fundamentally, for the believer, teaching our children well and seeing that they are successful in what matters most is of utmost importance. What matters most is that we love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our might.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we pray for our children, that they may grow in faith as they grow in years. May they walk in the ways of Christ, and not in the ways of the world. Keep their steps safe, but should they stumble, we know You will uphold them with Your right hand. When tempted or confused by the devil we pray that You will deliver them and remind them of the biblical principles they learned from their earliest memories, even though they may run counter to the principles and behaviors common to the world in which they are raised. We commit them to Your loving care and watchful eye. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
A baby dedication is…
- an opportunity to thank God for the precious gift of a child.
- an opportunity to publicly declare, as parents, your commitment to abide by Biblical principles and to raise your children according to God’s standards.
- a benchmark you can return to time and time again.
- a public expression of the cooperative role the church will have in raising your child in the ways of the Lord.
Touro Synagogue, Newport, RI
Today we share our final set of photos from our visit to Newport, RI and the surrounding area this last weekend.