As we start this new book, here is a head’s up that we’ll be going back to our normal six chapters per week rhythm as we read through Deuteronomy. Sundays will go back to being a rest (or catch-up) day. For an overview (or refresher) on Deuteronomy, click here.
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Read Deuteronomy 6
Love the Lord Your God
6 These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fearthe Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
10 When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
13 Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name.14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. 16 Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah. 17 Be sure to keep the commands of the Lord your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. 18 Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the Lordpromised on oath to your ancestors, 19 thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the Lord said.
20 In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?”21 tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Before our eyes the Lord sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. 23 But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors. 24 The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. 25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”
We have read so far in Deuteronomy a review of the history of the Israelities, a renewal of the covenant between God and His people, and the coming fulfillment of the land promise to Abraham’s descendants back in Genesis 12. Moses is now recapping the Law and going over the relational stipulations for possessing the Promised Land. In chapter 5, Moses reviews the 10 commandments and calls them to walk in obedience (5:33). The Mosaic Covenant was conditional, meaning that they could obey and prosper or disobey and perish. Their future depended on their faithfulness, and faithfulness looked like following God’s commands. In this passage, the Israelities are commanded to love God above all else. This is summarized in what is called the Shema, which in Hebrew means “hear” or “listen”. The Shema is one of the most significant passages of Scripture for the Israelities. It was cited at the beginning of worship for hundreds of years and is still used in the Jewish faith in synagogues today.
The Shema is one of the most famous prayers in the Bible (v. 4-9). The prayer begins, “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Moses is telling the Israelites to listen and to obey what they hear. He is reminding them that the Lord is one. The concept of God being one is significant because it was in complete contrast to the polytheistic cultures surrounding the Israelites for many generations. In the Canaanite territory, people were worshiping numerous pagan gods and goddesses. Monotheism set Israel apart in the ancient world. God is one yet also triune: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Israel needed to follow the one true God as they entered into the Promised Land and not fall into worship of the false gods of the day.
The prayer continues, “You shall love the Lord God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” God wants us to love Him with our whole self. He wants us to love Him with every fiber of our being and that love to be evident in everything we do. For the nation of Israel, loving God meant obeying His Word. Jesus repeats this in Mark 12:28-30 when He is asked what the greatest commandment is. Jesus tells them that it is loving God with all of our heart, soul, and might, and loving our neighbor as ourself. The Shema also states, “You shall teach [these words] diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise.” In order to teach God’s Word to our children, we must first treasure it in our own hearts.
The prayer ends saying, “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 doorpost of your house and on your gates.” It is a Jewish tradition to place a mezuzah (a small piece of parchment) on the doorpost with Scripture on it. Some Jewish traditions also apply this verse by using phylacteries, which are small leather boxes that literally contain the Law of Moses in it. It is strapped around the wrist and over a person’s head. For us today, binding God’s Word on us looks like remembering it and meditating on it day and night. God’s Word should fill our hearts and minds as we go throughout our day. We love the Lord by remembering and holding fast to His Word.
- Is the love of God your greatest motivation for everything you do?
- What does it look like for you to write God’s Word on your heart? Is there a verse or passage you could memorize today?
- Take some time today to reflect on the Shema. Think and pray about how the Lord has led you and how He has been faithful to you.
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2 thoughts on “Deuteronomy 6”
2 Peter 1:3-4 explains that “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them we may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” Human nature is not divine but full of sin. God has always pursued the hearts of his people; in his great love he has clearly defined and communicated how we are to follow him. Fear-hear-obey-love! Intrinsically and intentionally the habits and patterns of our lives will reflect who and what we love. In the words of the Shema this is an active process where we hear, love, commit, repeat, talk, tie/bind & write his commands. Doing this well makes a bold statement of our faith to our families, friends and foes and honors our Lord. I echo the lyrics of the “Goodness of God”—all my life you have been faithful, all my life you have been so, so good. With every breath that I am able, I will sing if the goodness of God.
My desire is to be a spiritually minded person, who devotes myself to God in all I am, say and do. I believe God’s word is a treasure, a source of great joy, and desire to be obedient to God and His Word. Just like Dale said Sunday what comes out of my mouth should reflect the God in Christ in me at all times. Does it? No, sadly. BUT GOD is continually doing a work in me. I want to be the “living epistle” 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 verse 3 says And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
How we live backs up what we say. (sounds like a sermon I heard recently). I think I really like how the Israelites were so intentional with having the literal Word of God on their homes, on themselves (in little boxes), and even who they allowed to enter their gates at their homes to come into their homes. Maybe not over do it but your very speech and actions should be the indicators. To have gratitude for what we do have is also a part of the “Shema” to hear Him, love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbors as ourselves.
Thank You God for Your Word. Thank You for Your guidance every single day. Thank You for wisdom and understanding for the moments that I need for this day. Thank You for love and Your love goggles in Jesus name amen