Scriptures

Deuteronomy 6

Introduction

‘These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you. 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.’ Deuteronomy 6:1-9

Love The LORD Your God

Moses begins by warning Israel to hear and obey God’s commandments and he encourages them to remember how they felt when they first heard God’s commands, that is, they were fearful of God. Our fear of God is seen in our obedience to Him, Titus 3:8 / Matthew 10:28 / 1 Peter 1:17.

The contents of verses 4-5 are called the ‘Shema’, by the Jews and today, we could also give it the same name, as Jesus gave the same command to Christians, Matthew 22:37-40 / Mark 12:29-31 / Luke 10:27.

The name ‘Lord’, is from the Hebrew Yahweh, meaning ‘He is’ or ‘the becoming One’ and for the Jews, it was a sacred word for God. The word was considered so sacred that they wouldn’t pronounce it with their lips and so, they used the word ‘Adonai’, which is ‘my Lord’.

God is one, and there is only one God, Deuteronomy 4:35 / Deuteronomy 4:39 / Ephesians 4:6 / 1 Timothy 2:5 / 1 Corinthians 8:4.

Though He has manifested Himself throughout human history in three different ways, through the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He chose to reveal Himself only through the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in order to accomplish specific works for the salvation of the world.

Israel were to love Him with all their heart, soul and strength, which implies we’re to love Him with everything we’ve got. In other words, God needs to be the total focus of our attention every single day of our lives, John 12:42-43 / John 14:15.

Sadly, when Israel forgot the Lord, things went from bad to worse, Jeremiah 2:32 / Jeremiah 23:27 / Hoses 4:6.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘From the earliest days, the Jews understood these verses as literal requirements. The ‘frontlets between the eyes,’ the binding of the commandments upon their hands, and they’re putting them on the door-posts and their gates led to three kinds of devices by which these instructions were honoured: One was the ‘tsitsith’, or fringe at the four corners of the outer garment; the others were the ‘tephillin’ and the ‘mezuzah’. The ‘tephillin’ were two small boxes about one cubic inch in size, containing the Scriptures.

Dummelow, in his commentary, says the following.

‘There were four Scriptural passages inside these small containers: Exodus 13:1-10 and Exodus 11:13, also Deuteronomy 6:4-9, and Deuteronomy 11:13-21. The devices called the ‘tephillin’ are referred to as ‘phylacteries’ by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 23:5, but that is the only appearance of that word in the Bible. The ‘mezuzah’, or ‘medusah’ were similar containers and were placed upon every right-hand doorpost in Jewish houses. They were also for ‘door-posts’ and for ‘your gates.’ ‘The sign was to be on the door-post of the house, representing the family unit, and upon the ‘gates’, representing the community or village.’ ‘The pious Jew touches the ‘mezuzah’ on each occasion of passing or kisses his finger and says Psalm 121:8 in Hebrew, ‘Jehovah will keep thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth and forevermore.’

‘When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. Do not put the LORD your God to the test as you did at Massah. Be sure to keep the commands of the LORD your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. Do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors, thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the LORD said.’ Deuteronomy 6:10-19

Moses tells us that God blessed the Israelites with the material things of a land of milk and honey. After 40 years in the wilderness, we would think that they were initially overwhelmed by the bountiful nature of the land.

Sadly, after occupying the land for many years, they began to focus on their own skills of productivity and as a result of this, they totally lost their focus on God, Proverbs 30:8-9.

Israel is again reminded that they must fear the Lord their God. These are the words which the devil used when tempting Jesus in the wilderness, Matthew 4:10 / Luke 4:8. Again, we’re reminded that fearing God means being obedient to Him and His commands, Matthew 10:28.

Once again, Israel is commanded to have no other gods besides the Lord God, they are not to make graven images of other gods or take the name of God in vain.

Each of these first four commandments found in Exodus 20:1-11 / Deuteronomy 5:6-21, illustrates a heart, mind, and soul, that’s dependant exclusively upon the Lord God for help and sustenance in this life.

God wants us to serve Him because it’s what we desire more than any other thing in this life. God desires our hearts to be submissive, fearful, respectful, and act in reverence toward Him rather than doing religious things for outward show, Joel 2:12-14.

Samuel had asked Saul to have such a heart, 1 Samuel 15:22-23 and David expressed such true sorrow as recorded in Psalms 51. The prophet Isaiah is described as having such a heart, Isaiah 57:15 / Isaiah 66:1-2.

The apostle Paul also had such a great heart, 2 Corinthians 7:10 and Jesus summarised the first four commandments with this one statement, Matthew 22:37 / Luke 10:27.

Once again, God tells them that He is a jealous God, Deuteronomy 4:24. If you look up the word ‘jealous’ in a concordance you will also come across the word ‘jealousy’, and you will be led to that striking verse which states, ‘Yahweh, whose name is Jealousy, is a jealous God’, Exodus 34:14.

The problem arises because these two words today do not mean what they meant in Old Testament times, and sustain a meaning which is different, even, from 1611, when the Authorized Version was produced.

I am sure that we have all discovered, in reading the older version that problems arise because, over the years, many words have acquired very different meanings. If we had the space to spare, this fact could very easily be demonstrated.

Today we list ‘jealousy’ among such sins as ‘envy’, ‘malice’ and ‘pride’. ln fact, the Oxford Dictionary defines the word ‘jealous’ as, resentful towards another on account of known or suspected rivalry; envious. Because of this, jealousy is the motivation behind a great many of the sins that people commit.

But the Old Testament word at which we are looking is ‘quanno’ and its basic meaning is, quite simply, ‘zeal’ and to be ‘jealous’, in the Old Testament sense was, with one or two rare exceptions, to be ‘zealous’ or enthusiastic or passionate.

It is in this sense that the prophet Elijah uses the word when he declares his enthusiasm for God, in 1 Kings 19:10. Similarly, when God declares that He is jealous, He tells us what it is that He is jealous of.

This means that when, in Exodus 20:5, He says, ‘I am a jealous God’, He’s declaring His zealousness for the protection of His own honour as the one True God, Isaiah 42:80.

After delivering the covenant message to Israel, Moses now lays down commandments in relationship to one’s acceptance and keeping of the law.

Israel is commanded not only to ‘fear the Lord their God’ but is also warned if they rebel against His commands, then they will face the ‘anger of the Lord their God’. The consequences would be that Israel would be wiped off the face of the earth.

It’s possible to take an oath in God’s name, but in the proper context, Matthew 5:33-37, and as Christians, we too can make oaths to God, since God Himself uses oaths, Hebrews 6:13. Here, Israel is being told they can make an oath but only in the Name of the LORD, not in the name of any other god.

Israel is also warned not to test the Lord, that is, they weren’t to be guilty of trying God’s love and mercy. They did this in the past at Massah, Exodus 17:1-7, and when they did, they convinced themselves that God wasn’t among them.

Israel knew God was with them, after all, they had the visible signs of the cloud by day and a pillar fire by night guiding them along. They were thirsty and began making demands upon God, rather than trusting that He would care for them as He had done with the manna and quail.

The words, ‘don’t put the Lord God to the test’ were spoken by Jesus when He was in the wilderness being tempted by the devil to show a miracle in the wilderness, Matthew 4:7 / Luke 4:12.

God commands His people to take ‘possession’ of the land of Canaan, Deuteronomy 3:18, because, at this point in time, Canaan was possessed by the Canaanites.

God promised them, that if they simply obeyed Him, He would fight for them and so, they are commanded not to fear the people, Deuteronomy 3:22, but rather trust in God.

‘In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?” tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the LORD sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors. The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.” Deuteronomy 6:20-25

In the future, the Israelite sons would ask their fathers, what are the meaning of the Lord’s stipulations, decrees and laws and they would ask their fathers Who is the source of these commands.

The reason the young ones would ask is simply because they hadn’t witnessed the miracles in Egypt and they hadn’t been miraculously fed and cared for in the wilderness wanderings, Ephesians 6:1-4.

Moses tells Israel they need to remember God’s miraculous and wonderful works in Egypt and God’s great care for Israel. Israel were slaves to the Egyptians but the Lord redeemed them from Egypt.

The people now belong to God as His servants and are thereby commanded to obey His will. Obedience to the law of God is righteousness and so, the law is the righteousness of the people when the people obey it in response to His grace and mercy.

Go To Deuteronomy 7

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

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