And when your son asks you in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments…
In the Mosaic economy, the parental office is made prominent, and parental influence is pressed into service. All God's arrangements for training mankind dovetail into one another.
I. THE DUTY OF A PARENT TO PROVOKE RELIGIOUS INQUIRY. No greater folly can be perpetrated than the attempt to repress inquiry. Inquiry is the king's highway to wisdom, and who dare block it up? God loves to hear honest inquiry. To afford instruction is the delight of the Divine Spirit, but what instruction will be valued if no spirit of inquiry is awake? Some questions which we ask can never be solved; they are beyond the range of the human mind. Some questions God will not answer, because they are vain and useless. But honest questions, with a view to practical obedience, God delights to hear. You can do the young no better service than encourage their minds to inquire after religious facts. "What mean these things?"
II. THE DUTY OF A PARENT TO ANSWER FULLY CHILDREN'S QUESTIONS. It is childish folly to attempt to conceal our lowly origin. There is no real disgrace in an obscure parentage. To have been formerly enslaved, or imprisoned, or oppressed, through man's injustice, is an honor, not a stigma of reproach. There is no real shame, except such as proceeds from wrong-doing. It will do us good, it will do our children good, to see the "rock whence we were hewn, the hole of the pit from which we were digged." It will foster humility, gratitude, contentment, trust. It will lead us afresh to adore the Divine goodness, and to count ourselves and our children the servants of this mighty God. Never let true Israelites forget that all they have they owe to God! Unto this state of happy privilege a Divine hand has brought us.
III. THE DUTY OF A PARENT TO OPEN UP GOD'S BENEFICENT INTENTION. If any man is too indolent to investigate truth for his own sake, he may be provoked to do it for his children's sake. We should have such a firm conviction that every arrangement and command of God was "for our good always," that we can demonstrate it to our children. Our knowledge of God and of his practical dealings should be so broad and clear that we might see and feel that his care for our good was paramount. This is the first and loftiest end he seeks - not our enjoyment, but our good. Not to demonstrate his power, or his consistency, or his determination to conquer, - these are not his foremost aims, but "our good always." His costliest deed of condescension was the yielding of his Son to death. And where shall we seek the moving principle? In his own future glory merely? No! In his love for the world! Yet his glory, and man's real good, are but the separate threads that make one cord.
IV. THE DUTY OF A PARENT TO PROMOTE HIS CHILDREN'S RIGHTEOUSNESS. "It shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments." No more conclusive argument can parents use; no loftier end can they contemplate. To become righteous - this is to be the lofty ideal we set before our children. But commensurate with the grand acquisition must be the care that we promote it by proper and practicable methods. It is impossible for guilty men to regain righteousness by their own efforts or merits. But real righteousness is provided for us by the bounty of God, and is offered to us in Christ as a free gift. "He hath brought in everlasting righteousness, which is for all and upon all that believe." Our ambition for our children must be the highest - not that they be richly dowered, or learned, or placed in earthly rank, but that they may be internally and thoroughly righteous. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded you?