4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, KJV)
This passage instructed Israel
-to pay close attention to the truth that Jehovah (YHWH) is One (4).
-that they were to love Him with all that was within them (5).
-that they were to have these words in their hearts (6).
-that they were to diligently teach them to their children, with regular conversations and reminders (7-9).
The surrounding verses in the chapter reveal that
-these commands were given that they might obey them when they went to possess the land (1)
-they may fear God and keep His commands - they and their children and grandchildren
- and have their days prolonged (2-3)
- they could easily forget God their Savior amidst all His blessings if they did not do what is instructed in 6:4-9 (10-13)
- they could easily become idolaters if they do not do what is instructed in 6:4-9 (14)
- they could incur the wrath of God if they do not do what is instructed in 6:4-9 (15)
- their diligent observance of God's commands would result in it being well with them, in possessing the land He gave, and in the overthrow of their enemies, as God had spoken (17-19)
- their diligent observance of these commands would naturally lead to opportunities to testify of God's glory to future generations (20-23)
- for their good, their preservation, and their righteousness (24-25)
The relevance for us is that
- just as Israel failed to heed these commands, did fall back into idolatry and was eventually banished from the land for their disobedience, we too have failed.
- none of us has loved God completely - with our whole heart, mind, soul, and might; we have not treasured His Word as we ought
- Jesus, God the Son, who humbled Himself to become a man, taught and obeyed these things perfectly. He always pleased the Father, and took the punishment for sinners on the cross, so that we might have His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21)
- just as Israel received these instructions upon being delivered from bondage in Egypt, Christians receive God's instructions on how to live after experiencing His salvation; keeping commands does not reconcile one to God - repenting of sin and trusting in Christ alone for salvation does that - yet, He lets His children know how they need to live to please Him
- keeping God's commands flows out of our love for Him, as a response to His character and works. Truly keeping God's commands cannot be done merely as a duty, and certainly not as a scheme to merit His blessings.
- the command to teach our children has not been rescinded (Ephesians 6:4). Fathers particularly bear the responsibility to be sure that their children are taught and trained up in the Word of God.
- the instruction of our children should include frequent conversations at all times of day and phases of life. (Regular family worship should be an important part of this too.)
- like Israel, we too are prone to forget God and lapse into worshiping things other than Him (1 Corinthians 10:1-14).
- the only way for Christians to truly advance in sanctification and achieve any measure of victory over sin is to keep our focus on loving God supremely and diligently obeying and teaching His commands with the help of His indwelling Spirit.