Guest Post: Why we need graffiti

Writing on the doorposts. I love the name of this blog. It’s a phrase that has fascinated me since sometime in my mid-teens when I realized that an apt paraphrase of it might be, “graffiti your homes with my word” or “put my tag all over your house”. We live in a society with so many words around us that we don’t always appreciate their power. Especially in the ancient world, words were seen as powerful. They were how you communicated with your gods or how your gods communicated with you. While archaeologists find plenty of random lists and receipts for used chariots and the like, many of the inscriptions that we have are religious in nature. People wrote blessings and curses and pleas to their gods all the time, because to write them was to give them permanence. So for Israel to write God’s words on their homes was to lay claim to God as their god. His words were written on their homes. His words were tied on their hands. His – and no other god’s.

Writing on the doorposts!

“Graffiti your homes with My Word”

The actual phrase “write them on your doorposts” occurs only in Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is a series of lessons that Moses gave right before his death and Israel’s entrance into the Promised Land. In these lessons, he recaps Israel’s history, he gives them more laws, and he tells them why the Law is important – that the Law teaches them how to rightly love and obey God (Deut 30:16). The phrase “write them on your doorposts” occurs twice: in Deuteronomy 6:9 and 11:20. The first use is in a very positive context. Moses tells the people that remembering and obeying all the laws that God has given them will let them enjoy all the blessings that God will give them in the Promised Land. Keeping God’s word ever before them in their homes will help them to do that. Deuteronomy 11:20 comes from the other direction: if they don’t remember and disobey God’s commands, God will curse them. They will suffer for forgetting God’s word. Thus the instruction to write on the doorposts is also a preventative measure, so that they will have less opportunity to forget what God has said.

So what does this mean for parents? Well, I’m not a parent so it may be that most of you reading this will be able to answer this question better than I, but let me take a stab at it. Parenting is discipleship. The most important thing you can do as a parent is to raise up the next generation of God’s people. Jesus’ command to his disciples was to “make disciples…baptizing them…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt 28:19). Paul says to the Ephesians elders that he spoke to them “the whole will of God” (Acts 20:27). The totality of God’s revelation to us is important, and it is vital that we pass it along to our children. The work that parents do day in and day out – and by this I mean not only work, but loving and serving and playing and snuggling – has eternal consequences.

Therefore the best thing you can do for your child as a parent is to be firmly entrenched in God’s word. No parenting guide or book or class can prepare you for parenthood like God’s word. It will teach you the nature of God, and his indescribable father love for you. It will teach you godliness. It will transform you into the likeness of God’s Son. And as you are transformed more and more into the likeness of Jesus, you will be transformed more and more into the parent that God wants you to be.

Keep his words always before you.


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