(This week’s guest blogger is David Roper, the author of the Zoey series.)
As I recently worked my way through the book of Exodus, I was impressed with the emphasis on telling children and grandchildren about the Exodus from Egypt—how God had saved their parents and grandparents.
Even before they left Egypt, God told Moses that one reason for the plagues was so “that you may tellin the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them” (Exodus 10:2).
Before the tenth plague, God gave instructions for the observance of the Passover, and then added, “when your children say to you, ‘What does this rite mean to you?’ you shall say, ‘It is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes’” (Exodus 12:26, 27).
As they prepared to leave Egypt, further instructions for the Passover were given, including the need to share its significance: “You shall tell your sonon that day, saying, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt’. . . And it shall be when your son asks youin time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ then you shall say to him, ‘With a powerful hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of [b]slavery’ (Exodus 13:8, 14).
A cross reference took me to the book of Deuteronomy, just before the children of Israel entered the Promised Land. Moses urged the people, “Give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons” (Deuteronomy 4:9).
That brought up the question: Did the Israelites carry out God’s command? As we look at the book of Psalms, it is evident that the Exodus was never far from their thoughts. The Psalms are full of references to that event, from short versions like Psalm 77:20 (“You led Your people like a flock / By the hand of Moses and Aaron”) to longer versions like Psalm 78:43–53 (it’s worth a read). Again and again, the writers made reference to the Exodus (Psalms 105:26-38; 106:7-12; 114:1-3; 135:8, 9; 136:10-15).
But what about telling their children? We are told that, even today, as Jews celebrate the Passover, their observance includes a child in the home (usually the youngest) asking questions regarding the meaning of the feast, answered by an adult (usually the oldest).
So why take the time to note all this? Most of us are not Jews. The commands of Exodus and Deuteronomy were not directed to us. That’s true—but as I was reading the above passages, the thought came to me, if it was important for the Israelites to tell their children and grandchildren about a PHYSICAL deliverance, how much more important is it that we tell our children and grandchildren about our SPIRITUAL deliverance!
Someone may object, “But it is easier for the Jews because they have an annual feast where it is natural to tell the children what it is all about.” My response: As Christians, don’t we have a weekly “feast”—the Lord’s Supper—as we gather together as God’s family? How natural to explain to our children why we are gathered together and what the unleavened bread represents and what the fruit of the vine represents.
There are so many “teachable moments” in our children’s lives. Let us never neglect any of them. Let us tell our children and grandchildren how God delivered us from darkness into light—through the cross of Christ!