I was reading the first few chapters of Judges last night and came across a verse that was rather curious to me. Judges 2:10: "After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel." The generation that passed away was the generation of Israelites who had marched across the Jordan and conquered the Promised Land. They saw many miracles from God as God gave them the ability to conquer the land against overwhelming odds. God dwelt in their midst and spoke to them often. In Deuteronomy 6:6-12, God says "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. When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you.... be careful that you do not forget the Lord..."
God tells them to read, talk about, meditate on, and teach the commandments He gave them but it's obvious from the verse in Judges that they didn't do it. He specifically commanded them to teach their children and they didn't do it and a whole generation grew up who didn't know God. This is just amazing to me (in a bad way). All it took was one generation of people not doing what the Lord had commanded them to do and the next generation completely turned away from a God who they didn't know. As a parent, this is pretty scary. We have an awesome responsibility to introduce our children to the God who we serve. And this can't just be a once a day devotional (although that's better than nothing). God makes it clear in Deuteronomy that everything we do can and should be used to refocus ourselves on God and teach our children about Him. It's true that the salvation of our children doesn't depend on us... we can't make them be saved. But I truly believe that God uses parents to help get the Good News of His salvation to our children.