In Deuteronomy 6 we read the great words of Moses that are central to the Jewish faith, as well as those of us who follow Christ:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.Deuteronomy 6:4
Jesus cites this verse for the Pharisees when asked to name the greatest commandments in Matthew 22:34-40 and Mark 12:29-31. Throughout the Bible we are reminded to love the Lord our God. We are provided examples of those who do and those who do not. We are shown there are times when our great ancestors fall short. Still we come back to this great passage, the first part of the Jewish Shema. I pray that I can adopt this custom, not out of ritual routine, but out of the greatest reminder and reverence.
I was actually drawn to the verses that follow this passage this morning. In particular, the phrases in Deuteronomy 6:10-11:
- “you did not build”
- “you did not provide”
- “you did not dig”
- “you did not plant”
Repetition, I’m told, is there for emphasis. Like ALL CAPS, but more important and more significant. This flies in the face of the self-made-man, the righteous American. All too often we want credit for building, providing, digging and planting, whether or not we actually did the work. Make no mistake, when we put forth a small amount of effort to do the same we are quick to claim the credit: “I built, I provided, I dug, I planted.”
Remember our time in the vessels of clay is temporary. Remember and do not forget to Love the Lord. Verse 12 wraps up this thought nicely,
be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.Deuteronomy 6:12
It is indeed my desire to remember, to not forget, and more importantly, to do something about that memory. I’m not content to be one who warms a seat on Sunday when there are so many who truly don’t love the Lord.
Deuteronomy 6 is preceded by the famous Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:6-21). It’s worth taking a moment to remember these simple commandments:
- You shall have no other gods before me
- You shall not make idols
- You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God
- Observe the Sabbath by keeping it holy
- Honor your father and your mother
- You shall not commit murder
- You shall not commit adultery
- You shall not steal
- You shall not give false testimony
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife…or anything that belongs to your neighbor
I wonder how many of us remember this, much less commit to following the spirit and intent behind them.
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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.Deuteronomy 6:7-9
Simple, yes? It is simple, but our society rejects the above as if it’s absurd. We have a lot of work to do. Lord, give us strength and courage and ENERGY to do your work.