It was early in my Bible school training, maybe my second or third year. I was assigned a verse to use as the focus of an in-class bible study.
The verse was Deuteronomy 6:4-5, the Shema.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
It was eye opening to actually dig into what this verse meant, how it is considered the pillar, the centrepiece of Judaism. I knew it was the Greatest Commandment (or part of) according to Jesus, but never understood how much power and authority was packed into this verse.
I had a great in-class bible study, but then someone asked about the verse immediately following it.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-9, emphasis added
Over the years I have wondered and pondered what God meant when He commanded this to Israel. And while I cannot speak to all that I have learned here, I will say this: It is of the upmost importance that we take seriously the educating and displaying of Good News of Jesus Christ.
Directly following the Great Commandment (Jesus’ words, not mine), God tells them to “MAKE SURE YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WHAT I JUST TOLD YOU!” It is of the greatest importance that our kids learn, and learn correctly who this God is, who Jesus is, what He did in His life, death, and resurrection.
I could make claim and appeals to our children being the next generation and we need to make sure they ‘get saved’ or the Church will fall apart, but it isn’t up to me to keep the Church from falling apart. What God creates, God will sustain.
What God has asked me to do, as a parent, is to train my children in the way they should go, so when they are old, they will not turn away.
So, I review kids’ books.
My daughter loves books. She loves looking at the pictures. She loves pointing out Disney princesses that she recognizes. She gets the most lovely little smile that makes me glow when I see it. And my heart leaps for joy when she will open a book, and recognize Jesus.
I want her to know who Jesus is, even from a young age. I want her to be excited about Him, happy to hear His name when we pray (which she is). I want her knowledge and experience of Christ to be as right and wholesome as can be.
If that means some books aren’t in our household, that’s what will happen. If that means some Christian books don’t show up on our shelves, it will be because as a parent, I want her to have a right understanding of Jesus. Even at this young age. Even if her exposure is limited to kids’ books.
I take this seriously as a Christian parent. And for the benefit of those that can’t preview books before their kids get them, I review books so that you can do the best that you can in raising your children in the ways of Christ.
If you get annoyed that sometimes I have a kids’ book posted, don’t worry. I’m not neglecting the more theological or adult books. They are on their way to be reviewed. But I think it would be a major disservice to neglect the education of our children, to neglect what God has commanded us to do as Christian parents.
That is why I review kids’ books.