Reasons to ‘hear and obey’
Devotional study from David Niednagel, pastor/teacher, Evansville, IN. David uses the S.O.A.P method for his morning devotional time. (study, observe, apply, pray)
6:1 “These are the commands, decrees, and regulations that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you. You must obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, 2 and you and your children and grandchildren must fear the Lord your God as long as you live. If you obey all his decrees and commands, you will enjoy a long life. … 4 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. NLT
First, our translations all refer to “the Lord your God”. But we should remember “the Lord” or “the LORD” as some translations print it, is actually Yahweh – God’s name. So the Jews heard Moses say “these are the commands, etc, that Yahweh your God commanded me to teach you”. Yahweh is not just a spirit or a force, He is a Person and He has a name. He did miracles to bring them out of Egypt and they have every reason to do anything He commands. Also, it helps us respond better when we remember that – when we remember HIM.
Second, there is a strong emphasis on obedience. These are not to go in one ear and out the other. They are not to be forgotten because there are too many to remember. Yahweh is not a God for the Sabbath only, but for all their thoughts, attitudes, decisions and actions all day every day. Heartfelt obedience will be necessary for God’s blessing on them. The future of their nation will be dependent on their obedience to these commandments and laws.
Third, this section shows the principle of what it means to live “under the Law” – “If you obey you will be blessed”. That makes sense. It is completely fair. Rewards/blessings come from performance. And that makes the principle of grace all the more amazing – “ I love you and have decided to bless you first, therefore reflect on that as your motivation to obey Me”. Under Grace, performance comes from gratitude for gifts already given.
Fourth, they were to fear God and love Him. To us those seem almost opposites, but they are not. Yahweh is powerful enough to fear, but loving enough to trust. Both are true.
Fifth, parents were responsible to teach these commands, AND teach the reasons to obey the commands to their children. That was to be done in every part of life – getting up in the morning, eating meals, walking. :8 says “tie them on your hands, wear them on your foreheads, write them on your doorposts”, and orthodox Jews have done that literally. I don’t think that is what God meant. I think He was referring to what our hands do, what we think about, and the actions and attitudes that are in our houses. I think most parents throughout history, have let the busyness and cares of the world choke this out more than they realize. And if children don’t see this as our genuine passion, they will most likely just see it as religion, and not a relationship with the Creator.
LORD God, Your Law is more precious than gold of jewels and sweeter than honey. The Jews had every reason to want to obey all You commanded. But I praise You that Grace is even better, and we have more reason to love and serve You than Israel did. Thank You that we already have all spiritual blessings in Christ! (Eph 1:3-4) Help me always respond to Your grace, and lead others to do the same. Use me to help families pass this on to their children and grandchildren. Amen.