Friday, July 6, 2012

Parents, Draw From the Deep Well

“My son, observe the commandment [מצוה] of your father and do not forsake the teaching [תורה, the “Law of covenant-love,” see 31:26b] of your mother; bind them continually on your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk about, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk to you. For the commandment [מצוה] is a lamp and the teaching [תורה] is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:20-23).

Father and mother don’t have to teach from their own wisdom, experience, or creativity; in God’s covenant community of faith they draw it from something much deeper:
  • “Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham. I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments [מצוה], My statutes and My laws [תורה] (Genesis 26:3-5).
  • “Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!’ So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.’ Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself. Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel; and they saw God, and they ate and drank. Now the LORD said to Moses, ‘Come up to Me on the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the law [תורה] and the commandment [מצוה] which I have written for their instruction’” (Exodus 24:7-12).
  • “And you shall again obey the LORD, and observe all His commandments [מצוה] which I command you today. Then the LORD your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the LORD will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; if you obey the LORD your God to keep His commandments [מצוה] and His statutes which are written in this book of the law [תורה], if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul. For this commandment [מצוה] which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach...but the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it” (Deuteronomy 30:8-11,14).
  • Joshua “said to them, ‘You have kept all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, and have listened to my voice in all that I commanded you. You have not forsaken your brothers these many days to this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the LORD your God. And now the LORD your God has given rest to your brothers, as He spoke to them; therefore turn now and go to your tents, to the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you beyond the Jordan. Only be very careful to observe the commandment [מצוה] and the law [תורה] which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments [מצוה] and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.’ So Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their tents” (Joshua 22:2-6).
  • “As David’s time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying, ‘I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man. Keep the charge of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments [מצוה], His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law [תורה] of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn, so that the LORD may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, “If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel”’” (2 Kings 2:1-4).
  • “Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, ‘Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments [מצוה], My statutes according to all the law [תורה] which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the shall not fear other gods, nor bow down yourselves to them nor serve them nor sacrifice to them. But the LORD, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm, Him you shall fear, and to Him you shall bow yourselves down, and to Him you shall sacrifice. The statutes and the ordinances and the law [תורה] and the commandment [מצוה] which He wrote for you, you shall observe to do forever; and you shall not fear other gods. The covenant that I have made with you, you shall not forget, nor shall you fear other gods. But the LORD your God you shall fear; and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies’” (2 Kings 17:13,35-39).
  • “So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David, and his son Asa became king in his place. The land was undisturbed for ten years during his days. Asa did good and right in the sight of the LORD his God, for he removed the foreign altars and high places, tore down the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherim, and commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers and to observe the law [תורה] and the commandment [מצוה](2 Chronicles 14:1-4).
  • “Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah; and he did what was good, right and true before the LORD his God. Every work which he began in the service of the house of God in law [תורה] and in commandment [מצוה], seeking his God, he did with all his heart and prospered” (2 Chronicles 31:20,21).
  • “Now the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants and all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the law of God, their wives, their sons and their daughters, all those who had knowledge and understanding, are joining with their kinsmen, their nobles, and are taking on themselves a curse and an oath to walk in God’s law [תורה], which was given through Moses, God’s servant, and to keep and to observe all the commandments [מצוה] of GOD our Lord, and His ordinances and His statutes; and that we will not give our daughters to the peoples of the land or take their daughters for our sons” (Nehemiah 10:28-30).

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