We have many teachers in life. We have teachers at school, in church, in music, in sports, at work, in martial arts. We are constantly learning. Teachers have a tremendous influence in the lives of children. Most teachers teach because they love and care about children, but parents should be involved in knowing their children’s teachers and what drives them to teach. Unfortunately, some teachers are involved in the lives of children for the wrong reasons. We should be aware and careful for our children’s sake.
Parents choose most of a young child’s teachers, but children will eventually make some of their own choices. Plus, they need to know the difference between good and poor teachers in order to help their parents know what’s happening in the classroom. We look to God’s Word for guidance on how to choose the best teachers for our children and how to guide them to make those choices as they grow up.
The first Teacher of the human race was God. He taught Adam how to care for the Garden of Eden. He taught Eve how to be a wife to Adam and a mother to their children. God taught Cain and Abel how to obey their parents and be good to each other and how to farm the land and care for animals. He taught the boys how to love and worship Him in ways that would please God. He taught Cain about the dangers and consequences of sin.
God taught every “great” person of the Bible what to do, how to live and what to say. One of the best examples from the Old Testament is the man God chose to “instruct” Israel about His Law. These are excellent insights into how God teaches His teachers to teach. Look at this through God’s eyes. Watch how He taught Moses to teach the nation of Israel. What does He want parents to learn about choosing the right teachers for their children? What does God want children to understand about choosing good teachers? What does He want Christian martial arts instructors to learn from these examples about being the kind of teacher God wants us to be?
- God told Moses to “teach” His people. Moses didn’t think he could do it, so God told him how it would work. “Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” (Exodus 4:12) Moses did as God said and taught the people of Israel the commandments of God. “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.” (Deuteronomy 4:5)
God used Moses to prepare them to enter into the “promised land.” Israel had spent generations in slavery. The people didn’t know how to do anything for themselves. They were used to being told what to do and being provided for by the Egyptians. They had a lot to learn about taking care of themselves. God told Moses to “teach” and “show” His children what to believe and do. Another way to say that in more modern terms is “Show and Tell.” That’s the simplest, clearest way of teaching. What did Moses “tell” and what did he “show?”
“And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.” (Exodus 18:20) The lessons were clear: teach them the truth and show them how to live and what to do. That’s the sign of good teaching. Does a teacher know his or her material? Are they just reading from a book or do they “know” the truth? Is it part of the fabric of their lives? Can they explain it clearly so their students get it? Do they know how to help children understand how to use the information in their lives (the way to walk and the work they must do)? If they don’t, it might be wise to look for another teacher. Teachers have a powerful influence on children. It’s not an experience we can waste.
Look at what Moses told Israel about what God taught him to teach them. This is one of the most powerful lessons ever given any class in all of history. We can learn so much from this because it’s God’s message presented in a way that pleased God. Notice also how Moses reminds Israel that God expects them to take His Word seriously in every home and for parents to teach the truths diligently to their children. Parents were to talk the Word and walk the Word day and night in every aspect of family life.
“Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the LORD hath spoken.” Deuteronomy 6:1-19
Moses spent the rest of his life teaching the children of Israel. God buried Moses personally in a grave that only He knew. God loved Moses and left these words to remind us of the great legacy this “teacher of Israel” left for his people and for the world.
“And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, In all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land, And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.” Deuteronomy 34:10-12
More insights from the Bible in our next post about Teaching Wisdom to Children.