42 (The Ultimate Answer)

For those who may not know this, the title of my blog comes from the book, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. When I was young, my dad read the seven books of the "ever-increasingly misnamed 'trilogy'" to us at bedtime. In the story, a super-computer named "Deep Thought" spends seven and a half million years calculating the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything. Finally, Deep Thought announces that the answer is 42. He explains, "I checked it very thoroughly, and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you is that you've never actually known what the question was."

This type of misfortune has been a motif in my studies of God. I want to know Him and the power of His resurrection (Php 3.10) but more often than not, I don't know what the question is.

It's fascinating, looking back, how much impact all those old stories had on the way I see the world. Novels at bedtime, conversations around the dinner table, Bible stories throughout the day, movies on Friday night, sermons on Sunday: they all shaped who I am today. It makes sense then, how adamant God is that HE be the central focus in our homes as we raise our children.

In the famous passage which Israel shorthanded "The Shama," God declares His identity and relationship to His people. "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one." (Deut 6.4) This is the ultimate announcement of His exclusive kingship over His chosen people. This statement demands the utmost reverence; the highest awe. He is not one of many gods; He is the only God, and He is their God. He is for them. Truly, any encounter with a king demands a response, and the King of Kings demands complete devotion: The verse continues, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." (Deut 6.5)

This is, from my point of view, the ultimate answer to life the universe and everything. "Our God is one, and He demands our complete surrender." I still don't know what the question is, so I will continue to read the scriptures and the great theologians of old, I will continue to pray and sing and write as I pursue more of Him, as I try to learn the right questions to better understand.

But as I do, I want to rightly steward the answers I do know about God. The Shama continues with a beautiful mandate telling us how to handle the truths we've been given:
"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (Deut 6.6-9)
Thinking about all those nights of Hitchhiker's, I realize what a powerful role we have on the lives of our kids. After our family would read together, we always prayed together. I remember it all so well. Parents, the way you pray with your kids now will shape their view of God for the rest of their lives. Do you tell them who our God is? That He is one (Deut 6.4)? That He reigns over the earth and everyone in it (Dan 4.25b; Ps 135.6)? That even demons (*1) were created through and for Christ (Col 1.16)? Do you teach them that God is bigger than our troubles and He works them for our good (Gen 50.20; Ro 8.28)? That they don't need to fear because He is on our side (Jos 1.9; Ro 8.31)? That he hears our prayers (Jer 29.12,13) and loves us beyond our wildest imagination (Zeph 3.17)?

"Teach these things diligently to your children..."

*1 - "Rulers and authorities" as in Eph 3.10 and Eph 6.12

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