In Genesis 18:19 we find God saying with respect to Abraham, “For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of Jehovah to the end that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken of him.” In these words we are informed respecting the reason why God decided to give Abraham an insight into his counsel concerning the coming destruction of the cities of the plain. Abraham was chosen by God to be the father of a mighty nation and a blessing for all the nations of the world. But in order that the promises to Abraham might be fulfilled and the Lord might really bring upon him the promised blessings, Abraham would have to teach his descendants “to keep the way of Jehovah, to do righteousness and justice.” And in order that he might be a truly effective teacher of the great lesson that the blessings of Jehovah are enjoyed only in the way of obedience, and that the way of obedience spells death, it had to be revealed to him that the cities of the plain were about to be destroyed for want of justice and righteousness. The book of Deuteronomy is shot through with exhortations to the Israelites to be diligent in reminding their children of the wonderful way in which God had led the nation in the past in order that these children might serve Jehovah with willing hearts. And we hear what may be regarded as the jubilant answer of the pious Israelite to all these exhortations in the words of the poet:
I will open my mouth in a parable:
I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
Telling to the generation to come the praises of Jehovah,
And His strength, and His wondrous works that He hath done.
For He established a testimony in Jacob,
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers,
That they should make them known to their children;
That the generation to come might know them, even the children that should be born.
Who should arise and tell them to their children,
That they might set their hope in God,
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments (Ps. 78:2-7).
It is that type of education that is pregnant with the promise of real blessings. If Abraham diligently teaches his children the way of the Lord, then the Lord will bring upon Abraham and his descendants the things which he has promised them. Listen to the words of divine wisdom: “Train up a child in the way he should go”—mark well, not “in the way he would go,” but “in the way he should go,” and this, according to the teachings of Scripture, is the way of the covenant—“and even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). It is no wonder, therefore, that the New speaks in the same vein as the Old, exhorting the parents to educate their children religiously: “Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4).