Wednesday, May 31, 2023

2023.05.31 Hopewell @Home ▫ Deuteronomy 6:1–9

Deuteronomy 6:1–9

Questions from the Scripture text: What had Who commanded Moses to teach (Deuteronomy 6:1)? To whom? So that they may do what? Where? What would they do to Yahweh (Deuteronomy 6:2)? Who is He to them? What would they keep? Who would keep it? How long? With what result? And what other results (Deuteronomy 6:3)? How can they know this would happen? What is the command in Deuteronomy 6:4? To whom? What is the declaration in verse 4? What are they commanded to do in Deuteronomy 6:5? With how much of their heart? With how much of their soul? With how much of their strength? What shall be where (Deuteronomy 6:6)? What shall they do with the commandments in their heart (Deuteronomy 6:7)? In what manner? To whom? In what four situations shall they talk about them? What does that leave? What two other things are they to do with the Lord’s words (Deuteronomy 6:8)? And on what two places to write them (Deuteronomy 6:9)?

How are God’s people as a whole prospered? Deuteronomy 6:1–9 looks forward to the public reading in Scripture in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these nine verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Scripture-saturated religious habits in the heart and the home are the means by which God prospers His people as a whole. 

In this passage, the prospering of the entire nation of God’s people (Deuteronomy 6:1Deuteronomy 6:3), and of generations of God’s people (Deuteronomy 6:2), is connected directly to the day-by-day, moment-by-moment living of each particular household among that people (Deuteronomy 6:6).

Yahweh Himself is the point of all things’ existence (Deuteronomy 6:4). And this is true, in a special way, of those to whom He has given Himself as their very own covenant God in order that they would love Him with every part and aspect of who they are and what they have (Deuteronomy 6:5). 

Surely, you who have been redeemed by Christ and His blood, you whom God has taken to Himself as His very own covenant people, you to whom God has given Himself as your very own covenant God… surely You wish to make all of your living into a loving of Him with all that you are!

But what does it look like? Is it an emotional ecstasy that you experience as you go about doing whatever you otherwise would have done? Is it a volitional exercise, in which you do those things but offer your will in them unto the Lord? Is it merely measured by doing the right things with as much effort as possible? It is all of these things, but Deuteronomy 6:6-9  teach us that He Himself has made it all about His words: His words in the heart, His words in the hearing (and speaking), His words on the hand, His words in the head, and His words on the house.

Heart. “These words shall be in your heart” (Deuteronomy 6:6). The “heart” was used of the control center for the intellect, emotions, and will. God’s word must control the basic instruction set at the center of who we are, determining everything else about us. God’s word must be the non-negotiable, inalterable architecture of our “CPU.” However accurately we think about Him, mushily we feel about who we think He is, or diligently we obey His words, it isn’t love unto Him unless these things are in control of our identity, our being, our life. So when we read on our own, or consider His Word in family worship or public worship, we ourselves must be formed and shaped by His Word. It’s not enough to have that Word direct various other things about us. It must be in our hearts.

Hearing. The fundamental command in Deuteronomy 6:4 was to “hear” … “these words which I command you today” (Deuteronomy 6:6). How can the words get to the heart unless they are first received? God’s primary method for our receiving them is hearing. Yes, there is benefit to reading God’s Word, and we are commanded to do so in Scripture (cf. 1 Timothy 4:13, Revelation 1:3). But God especially uses the hearing (cf. Romans 10:14–15). So here, the command is “hear” in Deuteronomy 6:4 and then “you shall teach them diligently” (Deuteronomy 6:7a) and “you shall talk of them” (verse 7b). God’s plan for getting His words into our hearts is that we hear His words from a preacher. And God’s plan for getting His words into our children’s hearts is that they hear His words not only from a preacher but also from their parents.

Where should our children hear the Scriptures from us? Everywhere. “When you sit in your house” (Deuteronomy 6:7c), we should not “relax” from being “on” with God’s Word. That’s specifically where we should be verbalizing it. Where we make it auditorily available to our children. And when we go out—"when you walk by the way” (verse 7d)—we are not to “tone it down” because we’re “in public.” No, that also is a specific place that we should talk of God’s words. We mustn’t deprive our children based upon location (and who knows who else might get to hear those words as they eavesdrop upon us?).

When should our children hear the Scriptures from us? All the time. But especially “when you lie down” (Deuteronomy 6:7e). Speaking to them from Scripture isn’t just something that we are to do throughout the day, but we should have a special time of it at the end of the day. And especially “when you rise up” (verse 7f). We should have a special time of speaking God’s words to our children at the beginning of the day. This habit of stated times of discussing God’s Word with them is what facilitates saturating the rest of the day with that Word. The bookends of the day determine the manner in which we live through all the time in between.

Hand. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand” (Deuteronomy 6:8a). God’s words should determine what we are going to do and the way in which we are going to do it. But that needs to be evident to more than just ourselves. The words are to be “as a sign on your hand”—there should be a clearly evident connection that someone who hears those words and then sees what your hand does. Our children should be able to tell that the things that we are always talking about with them from the Scripture are the very things that determine what we do and how we do it. In this way, not only do you tell them the role that God’s words should have in their lives, but by observation of this “sign on your hand” they are also able to see what that looked like in your life, so that they can apply it to theirs.

Head. “They shall be as frontlets between your eyes” (Deuteronomy 6:8b). Put your finger upon the bridge of your nose. Because you have binocular vision, the way that you see anything else will be affected, shaped by the presence of your finger. God’s words should be like that to us: affecting how we see anything and everything. But again, for our children, that should be evident to them. It’s strange to see someone who has always worn glasses around you without them, or who has always had a beard with it shaved off. And our seeing things according to God’s words should be so normal to our children, that they would find us strange-looking indeed if this ever were not the case.

House. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:9). The Scripture-saturation of our lives should be evident to all who come onto the property or enter our home. These signposts in verse 9 are like fair warning that you won’t be toning anything down for outsiders. I had friends growing up whose parents liked to say, “my house, my rules.” But the believer should be someone who could consistently say, “my house, God’s rules.”

In some circles these days, someone who lives as described above may be accused of “bibliolatry.” But here in Deuteronomy 6:1–9, we can see that this is God’s own description of what it looks like to love Him with all that we are. A divorcing of God from His Word could certainly make someone what might rightly be called a “bibliolater.” But there is no level of intensity or frequency of discussing and following that word that is too much, any more than there is any level of loving the Lord that is too much. The Scripture-saturated life is simply how we love the Lord.

What is your thought life like? What are your days like? What might those who live with you conclude about the place of God’s words in your life? Based upon an honest answer to those questions, how might you better love the Lord?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for giving us Your own words by which to love You. Forgive us for when we let something else be at the center of our heart or life, and grant that Your Spirit would make us so full of Your words, that our children would hear and see that, as also would anyone else who enters our house. For we ask this in Him Whose Name is itself the Word, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP128 “How Blessed Are All Who Fear the Lord” or TPH548 “Oh, Blest the House”

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