4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 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. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
In the business world, it is common for companies to have employees sign a non-compete contract. The non-compete contract says that the employee can only work exclusively for the company. They are not allowed to perform the same services for anyone else. Michael Jordan played exclusively for the Chicago Bulls. Larry Bird played exclusively for the Boston Celtics. Likewise, God has a non-compete clause of exclusivity found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5.
In this sermon, there are three points. The first point is about the Lord, the second point is about our living, and the third point is application. The title of the sermon is “Committed to the Word of God.”
At the time of the passage, God is preparing Israel to walk into the fulfillment of the 40-year promise that he had made to them to possess the Promised Land. They had been 40 years wandering in the wilderness. Now they are on the verge of taking possession of the promise. However, in verse 1, God gives Israel final instructions before they cross into the Promised Land.
#1 Love the Lord. (4-5)
Deuteronomy 6:4 is known as the “Shama.” It is the most important verse in Judaism. As Israel is about to take possession of the Promised Land filled with Canaanites who are polytheistic and worship many Gods, Yahweh is one God. They worshipped Baal, Dagon, Chemosh, Molech, Ashtoreth, and others. Though other people worshipped those other gods, Yahweh is declaring definitively that there is only ONE God.
There is no place for the people of God to have a divided allegiance. God expects an exclusive relationship with him, the ONE True God. It does not matter what the people around us do, we must know that there is only One True God and serve him only. Because He is the only True God, He deserves our exclusive worship as our God.
Notice the text says, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” In Hebrew, the heart is the center of the mind and the will. The heart is the seat of the being. God said to Israel and He is saying to us to love Him with everything we have. With heart is with the conscience, the soul is the inner self, and strength is with force. God expects His people to have great affection for him. It is to be coupled with thinking, passion, and great effort.
A lackadaisical effort toward God is not what God is describing here in the “Shama.” No, God is describing a love for Him that manifests as an exclusive relationship. We must examine ourselves and ask, Do I love the LORD with all my heart, all my soul, and with all my strength? This is so important that Jesus said so when He was asked, “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” In Matthew 22:37, Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
Even today, “Loving the LORD, Our God” is the most important commandment. Now there are many people who say they love the LORD. But the question is does my profession line up with the text? Is what I say verifiable by Deuteronomy 6? This leads us to the second major point.
#2 Live by the Word of God. (6-9)
The way to demonstrate that you Love God is to live by the Word of God in a hostile world. Those who truly love God are not distracted by what others are doing. They are committed to doing what the Almighty God has commanded. Singing is good, but it doesn’t prove you love God. Ushering is good, but it doesn’t prove you love God. Serving in ministry is good, but it does not prove you love God. Anyone who wants to demonstrate true love for God must obey God’s commandments.
Memorizing the commandments as verse 6 says, is of utmost importance for those who love God. “These commandments that I give you are to be upon your hearts.” To memorize Scripture, one must first read Scripture regularly. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” The parents or heads of the household have the responsibility to know the Scriptures for themselves. Secondly, verse 7 says, “Impress them (the Scriptures) on your children.” It is saying to repeat the Scriptures to your children. You impress the Scriptures into your children by repeating the Scriptures with them over and over.
You are to intentionally teach your children the Scriptures and the commandments of God. This is more than a casual approach to the Word of God. No, this is intentional. You help your children to memorize Scripture by talking to them about the Scriptures. When does the text say to talk about them? It says to talk about the Scriptures, “when you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down, and when you get up.” In other words, all day every day talk about the Scriptures.
Now some may think this is fanatical, but God is talking about keeping your children holy in a contaminated world. You give your children a chance to survive in this sick world when we fill them up with the Word of God. Your home is where your children is supposed to learn how to love God, not the church. The Word of God is supposed to be such a priority in your lives that your family has no chance of doing anything but love the LORD your God.
Thirdly, intentionally living by the Word of God constituted physically keeping the Word of God in front of them. Verse 8 says, “Tie the Scriptures as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Tying the Scriptures to your person helps you to remember their importance. The Jews interpreted this to use phylacteries, tying them to their arms and foreheads. They also nailed a mezuzah to the doorframe and to the gate of their homes. The mezuzah reminded them on the way out of the house that they were going into the world as ambassadors of the LORD their God. It also served as a reminder that they were entering a house where they loved the LORD. Proverbs 3:3 says,
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.”
If you never walk around with a phylactery bound to your head or strapped to your wrist, you can write them on the tablet of your heart. The Word works when you hide it in your heart. Whenever temptation comes, the Word in your heart will stand up to defend you and keep you on the straight narrow path. The Word helps you to live like you love God.
You see, the person who exercises every one of these measures is thoroughly establishing that they love the LORD. To have great affection for the LORD means you also want your children to learn to love Him too. You pull out every stop to make sure the world does not claim your children. Too often today parents are complacent in teaching their children the Commandments of God. There may be some who think this is radical, but as bad as this world is, I wonder if it is radical enough. Yes, meet the children’s needs, but make sure you teach them to love God. The best gift you can give your children is teaching them to LOVE God with all their hearts, soul, and strength.
Regardless of what others think, those who love the LORD accept the challenge to live by a high standard in their homes and establish a consistent pattern that their children can fully embrace. They need to know that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths. Since Jesus loves us as he does, we live for Him.
- Daily pray with your children and teach them to pray the Scriptures.
- Weekly do a simple home Bible lesson. (Example: Review Sunday School or sermon)