Hear, O Israel!
Scripture Reading for February 23rd: 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” and was to be quoted twice daily. This Hebrew word simply means “listen”. Jesus used this passage to define the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37-38) This ancient word from a sermon of Moses around 1500 years before Christ was foundational in the devotional life of Israel and has meaning for us today.
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. (Exodus 20:19) 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 to those who will listen.
Second, the Lord is One! He is the Creator of heaven and earth. He is holy and complete in Himself. 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 Love. If we love Him, we will 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 daily life. This will impact the next generation! Are you listening?