Our homeschool curriculum has us memorizing the ten commandments these next couple of weeks. As I looked over our lessons and prepared to work with my children on memorizing them, I considered what I wanted them to know about the ten commandments. The lessons didn’t provide any discussion about them. It didn’t even explain why they were to be memorized.
So I wondered, what was the purpose? Was it to teach them something from Biblical history? Was it to give them a moral bar to aspire to? Was it just because it’s one of those basic facts every kid should memorize at some time in their childhood, like Psalm 23 and John 3:16?
I decided that I didn’t want my kids to merely memorize the ten commandments, I wanted them to understand their context in redemptive history. I found a craft online to aid in their learning and while they cut and pasted, I talked with them these truths:
1. We reviewed when and where the 10 commandments were written.
2. We discussed the purpose they served for the Israelites.
3. We talked about the ultimate purpose for them (Galatians 2, Romans 7)
4. We discussed why the Israelites could not keep the law (Romans 3:23)
5. We talked about how Jesus came to keep the law because we could not. In fact, when God looks at us, he sees Jesus’ perfect life and not our sinfulness.
6. We also talked about how Jesus came to show us the deeper intention of the law (Sermon on the Mount)
7. We talked about how Jesus’ death in our place has freed us from slavery to the law. (Romans 6)
8. And we talked about why we obey the law today, after Jesus’ death. We obey out of faith and love, not because our obedience saves us or helps God to love us more.
I believe it is important that we know why we teach our children something. When it comes to the ten commandments, many in society don’t look at them and see Jesus. Instead, they see a list of good rules and standards. Our children need to learn to see all of scripture in light of the greater story of redemption because it helps them not view the bible as segmented stories but one grand story with a common thread woven throughout.
In fact, I want my children to see God’s holiness in the law and understand why he cannot tolerate sin. I want them to see why they need a Savior. I want them to grow to read the Old Testament and find Jesus on every page. I want them to read the detailed laws in Leviticus and see God’s amazing grace in sending Jesus to die for our sins. And each time they fail to obey, I want them to look to the cross and take hold of what Jesus accomplished in their place.
What do you think? Do you have any crafts or activities you’ve used in teaching your children about God’s law?