Week of May 11, 2008
Bible Verses: Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 2 Samuel 14:23-24,28-33; Proverbs 4:3-6.
Biblical Truth: Intentionally communicating with another person about God and His ways builds a relationship and helps avoid wrongdoing.
Communicate – Divine Example and Exhortation: Deut. 6:4-9.
 “Hear, O
[4-5] The Ten Commandments of Deut. 5:6-21 embodies
the great principles of covenant relationship that outline the nature and
character of God and spell out Israel’s responsibilities to Him. The present
passage is a further refinement of that great relational truth. It is the
expression of the essence of all of God’s person and purposes in sixteen words
of Hebrew text. Known to Jewish tradition as the Shema (after the first Hebrew
word of verse 4, the imperative of the verb “to hear”), this statement, like
the Ten Commandments, is prefaced by its description as the commandment, the statutes and the judgments and by injunctions
to obey them [6:1-3]. Verse 4 begins with the imperative Hear which is tantamount to “obey”, especially in covenant contexts
such as this. That is, to hear God without putting into effect the command is
not to hear Him at all. The singular form of the verb emphasizes the corporate
or collective nature of the addressee, that is,
The confession of the Lord’s unique oneness leads to the
[6-9] An important demand of the covenant relationship was that it be perpetuated beyond the immediate generation of those with whom the Lord made it, for its promises and provisions were for generations yet unborn. In practical terms this necessitated a regular routine of instruction. On your heart means that these commands are to be committed to memory; they are to be in one’s constant, conscious reflection. The covenant recipient must impress the words of covenant faith into the thinking of his children by inscribing them there with indelible sharpness and precision. Thus whether while sitting at home or walking in the pathway, whether lying down to sleep or rising for the tasks of a new day, teacher and pupil must be preoccupied with covenant concerns and their faithful transmission. So important is covenant truth that it must be at the very center of all one’s labor and life. After ordering that the covenant commandments be worn on the person of the faithful Israelite, Moses expanded the sphere of covenant claim to the house and then to the village. In this manner the person and his entire family and community become identified as the people of the Lord.
Communicate – Live and Protection: Prov. 4:3-6.
 When I was a son to my father, tender and the only son in the sight of my mother,  then he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments and live;  acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.  Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; love her, and she will watch over you.” [NASU]
 The Hebrew construction of I was a son to my father carries with it the emphasis that Solomon was under David’s authority. Here, a loving father and mother see Solomon in the vulnerability of young age. While youthfulness does not always appreciate such a view by parents, the passing of time often brings the appropriate appreciation, as it did for Solomon. It also demonstrates that parental instruction can never begin too early. Solomon’s words here demonstrate that authority and affection need not be polar opposites. In a healthy parent/child relationship the two coexist as a helpful, but fallible, model of the perfect fatherhood of God.
 Verses 4b-9 quote David’s instruction to his son. Solomon was passing this instruction on to his sons via this quotation. Solomon was stressing that he was once in the very position his sons now found themselves in: that of a learner. David and Solomon are both illustrating the fulfillment of the covenant obligation of parents to pass on the truth to the next generation. Teaching travels along lines of relationship and affection, making the home life the primary and most ideal place for instruction. The father is to take the initiative in this instruction, though certainly the mother is highly involved. Sometimes, under special circumstances, the weight of this responsibility must come upon the mother’s shoulders only. In such cases, God will give grace [2 Tim. 1:5; 3:14-15], but this is no excuse for laziness and ineptitude by fathers. David called Solomon to Let your heart hold fast my words, a similar call to that already found in Proverbs 3:1,5, where the call was to trust in God with all of one’s heart. The phrase Keep my commandments and live is repeated in Proverbs 7:2. This emphasis has already been met in Proverbs 3:1ff, giving ample evidence that Solomon had truly internalized his father’s words. It is the duty of every father to so set before his children the wisdom of God, emphasizing the life-giving ways of God’s wisdom. Proverbs will have much to say about how a father is to carry out this responsibility.
 The words of David still reverberate in Solomon’s ears. Perhaps these very pleadings of David created within Solomon the desire to ask God for wisdom [1 Kings 3:5-14]. His father pleaded with him to get wisdom and understanding at any cost. Here, the desired wisdom and understanding are clearly synonymous, as they are in other places throughout Proverbs. There is no charge too high to pay for these priceless treasures. Forget all else, but be certain to gain wisdom. As strongly as David urged Solomon to gain the wisdom that he did not already possess, he also pressed him not to lose what wisdom he had already attained. To drive home this second point, he first exhorted him to not forget his father’s wisdom. The word warns against more than an absent-minded misfiling of information. It calls us to take personal action to recall what is important. What parent does not worry that the distractions and enticements of this world will lure his child to forget what has been poured into his heart through many years of instruction in the home? David stressed this exhortation by adding that Solomon was not to turn away from the words of my mouth. The first exhortation (forget) might be chalked up to distraction and enticement. This second command (turn away), however, implies willful turning away from his upbringing.
 This verse reinforces the last command given in verse 5; the first line does so negatively, the second positively. Wisdom, spoken of here in the third person, is again personified as a woman [1:20-35; 8:1-36]. Forsake and love describe the same action from two different sides. These two verbs represent an oft-repeated call in Proverbs: to hold fast to wisdom and to passionately commit to her. The word guard carries the idea of exercising great care over something. While watch over means to guard by sitting over something, and is used to describe both another watching over us and our responsibility to watch over certain things.
Communicate – A Case Study: 2 Samuel 14:23-24,28-33.
 So Joab arose and went to Geshur and brought
[23-24] In accordance with the royal decree, Joab
went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to
[28-30] In effect Absalom was living in internal
exile. He was restored to his former abode in the most important city in
[31-33] Absalom’s plan to force a meeting with Joab
worked. In the confrontation that followed, Absalom expressed his frustrations
regarding the present limiting circumstances. He noted that life would be less
oppressive for him in his grandfather’s household in Geshur than it was in his
father’s royal city as things now stood. But Absalom was in something of a
dilemma: he did not want to depart from
Questions for Discussion:
1. In the covenant relationship between God and His people, what is the relationship between love and obedience? What do we learn about teaching our children God’s truth in Deut. 6:4-9?
2. Solomon uses intimate terms to encourage the reader to pursue a relationship with Lady Wisdom. Practically speaking, how do you think one would go about loving, prizing, and embracing wisdom? How do we train our children to do this?
3. Our first two passages [Deut. 6:4-9 and Prov. 4:3-6] emphasized the importance of communicating God’s truth to our children. In the story about David and Absalom, we see the consequences of the failure to properly communicate God’s truth and to hold our children accountable for their sin. What lessons can we learn about how David handled Absalom and his sin? What should David have done differently?
Deuteronomy, Eugene Merrill, NAC, Broadman.
1, 2 Samuels, Robert Bergen, NAC, Broadman.
Proverbs, John Kitchen, Mentor.