Author: Lissa Smith
“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
One of the greatest strengths in my life has been the Scriptures I learned as a child. God’s Word guides and comforts me throughout my journey with the Lord.
I attended a believing school like Makor HaTikvah, where the teachers were good role models and the bible verses we learned each week lived in my heart. I am so thankful for those who invested time to teach me the scriptures, even if at the time I was often reluctant to learn them.
When my oldest children, Rachel and Jordan, were three and four, I began teaching them simple Bible verses. I remember teaching 4-year-old Jordan, “Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other, just as God forgave you in Messiah.” When a minor squabble broke out between him and his sister, I reminded them to be kind, and Jordan turned with a grin and recited the whole verse. I was amazed how easily they memorized, but after a year, some verses had faded from memory. So, I put them to nursery rhyme tunes: Proverbs 3:5 to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” 1 Peter 5:7 to “Row Your Boat,” and 1 John 1:9 to “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush.” They still remember these 10 years later!
Two of our younger children, Ya’akov and Daniel, are in first and second grade. They love learning the Scriptures as their older siblings did. Ya’akov beamed at me one day and said, “Mom, thanks for teaching me the verses.” We practice them around the breakfast table on Shabbat, and I write them on notes in their lunches. We try to make it fun and natural, not a chore.
In Rachel and Jordan’s teen years, they learned Messianic prophecies in English and Hebrew: Isaiah 7:14, 9:6 and 53, Micah 5:2 and others. I once asked them to learn some verses from Psalm 2 by putting it to music, and an hour later, they sang it in harmony, Calypso style! Not long after, they learned Micah 5:2, they were sharing it with an older friend who asked them about their faith.
Makor HaTikvah has been a greenhouse for my children, nurturing their faith and giving them good examples to follow. I am amazed at the clarity and enthusiasm with which Daniel shares Bible stories that he has learned at school. It is heartening to see our family values upheld and his understanding furthered in school. Our older children, once students at Makor HaTikvah, are now in secular high schools, standing on their own for what they believe. Teachers and students often ask about their faith, and the Scriptures give them confidence and clarity as they explain.
At a time when biblical values are questioned, it is reassuring to know that our children have a solid biblical perspective. They have walked away when peers are engaging in alcohol, pornography and unhealthy relationships. His Word is in their hearts and helps them to stand firm in their faith. When they hear views contrary to scripture, they recognize the error.
Last summer, I walked through a brief time when I felt that my life wasn’t very fruitful for the Lord. I was sharing my heart with Him as I walked my four youngest children to the park. When we arrived, Ya’akov asked me interesting questions about the bible and listened intently to my answers. He then returned to his happy swinging, singing John 3:16 as he soared higher. I realized that my life is very fruitful for the Lord, even though I am usually behind the scenes training the children in His Word and His ways.
May all of our children be firmly grounded in the truth of God’s Word and stand strong in the Lord.
“Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” (Psalm 119:11)
This post is also available in: Hebrew