Attached to God: Key Components of Relational Attachment in Anticipated Parent-Child Conversations among the Israelites -- By: Andy Stirrup
Journal: Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry
Volume: JDFM 02:1 (Fall 2011)
Article: Attached to God: Key Components of Relational Attachment in Anticipated Parent-Child Conversations among the Israelites
Author: Andy Stirrup
JFM 2:1 (Fall/Winter 2011) p. 36
Attached to God: Key Components of Relational Attachment in Anticipated Parent-Child Conversations among the Israelites
Andy Stirrup (M.A., Australian College of Theology) teaches Old Testament, children’s ministry, and family ministry courses at Youthworks College in Sydney Australia. He is married to Kathy and is the proud father of Alexandra, Chris, and James. Andy likes the outdoors, as long as it doesn’t involve gardening, and would love to be walking at altitude in the mountains.
“All of us, from cradle to grave, are happiest when life is organized as a series of excursions, long or short, from the secure base provided by our attachment figures.”1
As a teacher of the Old Testament, I cannot help reflecting on the provision that God made for Israel’s children to be securely attached to him—attached in such a way that the Israelites would begin to venture out on his behalf, increasingly busying themselves with the mission of God, then regularly returning to find rest and energy for the next excursion (see John 4:32).
Although we read in Deuteronomy 6:7 and elsewhere that the sons of Israel were to teach the Lord’s commandments to the next generation, Old Testament history demonstrates that not every generation was obedient to this task. We are left, then, wondering to what degree the Israelites fulfilled this task, and more to the point, what did the various generations know about their God? We might expect the first generations to know the Ten Commandments and the stories of the patriarchs. Later generations could consider certain details from the period of the judges as well as episodes from the earliest days of the monarchy. Later still, certain psalms and proverbial sayings could have been included in a child’s or adult’s repertoire. Yet the reality is that we are limited in our capacity to know exactly what each generation of Israelites taught the next generation. A brief survey of commentaries reveals that there are those who do not believe the fifth commandment was directed towards children at all, leading one to wonder at what point did an Israelite begin his or her schooling in the Lord.2
JFM 2:1 (Fall/Winter 2011) p. 37
Context for question