July 6 - Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Saturday, July 6, 2013

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 on your hearts. 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.

A long time ago, I spoke with a mother about her boys’ attendance in Sunday School.  I wasn't harassing her, we were just having a conversation because she mentioned that one of them had missed out on something we were doing in class.  But, what struck me was that she had chosen to allow them to decide whether or not they wanted to go to church and Sunday School.  She was afraid of pushing them so hard that they would rebel. She was quite proud of her decision.

Well, spit fire.

I didn't say much to her at the time, I was so taken aback by this very bright woman’s (and an educator, for heaven’s sake) take on the whole thing. She had no problem getting her boys out of the door for school or their after school activities, but in the one area of life which had a lifetime of application, she took a laissez-faire attitude.  She didn't instill in them a desire to attend, she didn't create a habit for her family.  Somehow, they were supposed to come up with all of that on their own – and if they didn't, she wasn't taking responsibility.

One of the most important things that God asked of his people was that they live their lives with him as Sovereign. His commandments were to be on their hearts, they were to be talked about at home and when they were out in the world. They were to be talked about the last thing before going to sleep and the first thing when the family woke up.

Anything that would help the Israelites remember that simple commandment – to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength – was to be done.

Christmas mornings at our house took a little longer than the three of us kids would have liked.  Mom averted some of our anticipation by putting a stuffed stocking at the foot of our bed so we could have fun prior to being allowed out of our rooms.  But, it took a while then to open our gifts.  Dad had several rituals.  We always read the Christmas story aloud before anything else happened and then, because he was Dad, we also had to sing a few Christmas carols.

It drove us crazy – all we could focus on was the gifts under the tree. But we took those moments and we heard the story and those words became deeply ingrained in all of us.

These words should be on your hearts … impress them on your children. Talk about them at home and when you are out. Talk about them before you go to sleep and when you wake up.  Make them your life.