“Hear, O Israel”
Scripture Reading for February 23: Deuteronomy 5-7
“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. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9
This passage from our reading today is known by faithful Jews as the “Shema”. This Hebrew word simply means “listen”. The Shema is quoted twice daily by devout Jews around the world reminding them of the importance of a relationship with the one true God. This passage was quoted by Jesus in part when he was asked which was the greatest commandment. He answered with “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38) This ancient word from a sermon of Moses around 1500 years before Christ was foundational in the devotional life of God’s people. Let’s examine it closer today and seek to apply it to our lives as twenty-first century AD Christians.
First, hearing is important! God wants us to have ears to hear His voice! Remember that the nation of Israel did not want to hear God’s voice speaking His commandments. They had asked Moses to hear for them so they would not die. Moses was repeating what God had told him. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God! (Romans 10:17) God sends His people out to speak His Word to bring faith and obedience and the resulting blessing on His own.
Second, the Lord is one! There is no other God but God! He is the creator of heaven and earth. He is holy and complete in Himself. He desires the love of His children and loves them infinitely, desiring the best for them. His love is expressed in his Word and commandments. When we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we are actively responding to His Word in obedience. If we love Him, we obey His commands. (John 15:9-11) His joy will be in us and our life will be full!
The last point to look at in this devotion is the need to impress these commands of the Lord on our children. If these commands are on our hearts, we will pass them on. The most effective way to pass them on is to live them out and speak about them in the normal flow of life. Live them out from morning to night. Make them the focus of all you do because they are on your own heart! It’s pretty simple really! What an impact on the next generation! Are you listening?