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Saturday, December 3, 2011
Let’s go back to Deuteronomy 6:6 – 7 for a moment and look at our assignment again. We have already noted that as dads we are commanded to teach the Word to our children. Note though the adverb that modifies teach – “diligently.” The Hebrew word here is shanan (pronounced shaw – nan) the word appears about 10 times in the OT, primarily in the Psalms. It means, sharp, to whet a knife, to sharpen, and in one form to pierce. The form of the word here in is to sharpen or teach.
In English the word diligently is defined as constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything: a diligent student. Or done or pursued with persevering attention; painstaking: a diligent search of the files.
In neither the Hebrew nor English utilized to translate, is there a notion of this being a casual engagement. For instance think about sharpening a knife. I remember watching my dad sharpen knives as a young child. He had an old whetstone with two sides, one was coarser than the other. He would oil the course side of the stone and whet the knife to get the rougher edges smooth, then he would turn the stone over and use the oiled smooth side to put a fine edge on the blade. It took time. He had to concentrate. He had to hold the knife at a consistent angle. It was not a casual undertaking. Once I remember he got distracted and sliced his thumb open while he was working on the smooth side. That underscored to me that one had to pay attention to the deed.
You do not sharpen a knife once and be done with it. If you are going to have good edges it requires continual trips back to the whetstone.
That is the picture we are painted here. We are to approach teaching our kids this way.