"You must love the Lord your God and obey every one of God’s commandments. Listen! I am not talking now to your children who have never experienced the Lord’s punishments or seen the Lord’s greatness and awesome power. . . . They didn't see how the Lord cared for you time and again through all the years you were wandering in the wilderness until your arrival here. . . . But you have seen these mighty miracles!" - Deuteronomy 11:1-8 (Living Bible)
As a young boy, I would often watch my mother conversing with friends and relatives. Every now and then, she would turn to me and say: "This is a grown folks’ conversation." That was my directive to leave the room. Usually, I couldn’t care less what was being discussed, but whenever my mother said that the conversation was for grown folks only, it always made me wonder what secrets the adults were hiding from us kids. Were they talking about doing something that they had told us was wrong? Was there something good that only grown folks could enjoy and talk about?
The eleventh chapter of Deuteronomy is a grown folks’ conversation. It is addressed to those who had lived through Israel’s forty-year exodus out of Egypt and entrance into the Promised Land, when the children of Israel had seen the Lord do many great things. They had witnessed the super power of Egypt thwarted and the emergence of their own people as a great nation. They had worshipped on Mount Sinai, witnessed miracles in the desert and been sustained and satisfied in dry, barren places. Deuteronomy 11 is a conversation directed to the grown folks who had seen God’s power to save and deliver firsthand.
Yet, it was a conversation that could not be limited to grown folks only. For if Israel was going to remember God’s deliverance and keep God’s commandments as directed, the grown folks of Israel would certainly have to open up and share with the young folks of Israel. All of the agony and ecstasy, all of the joys and pains, all of the misery and miracles of their sojourn would have to be recalled and recounted over and over again if those who were not there and had not seen were going to honor and perpetuate the faith of their ancestors.
What conversations about life, love and freedom are we keeping from young people today? What firsthand testimonies are we reluctant or afraid to share? The life of our faith and the life of our nation are dependent upon "grown folks’ conversations" that must not be limited to grown folks.
Gracious God, we thank you for all that we know, by our own experience, of your love and power. Now enable us to share with those who may not understand, simply because they have never been told. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.