God’s Renewing Word of Love
Deuteronomy 6:1-9: The book of Deuteronomy is organized as a series of addresses given by Moses to the people of Israel in the land of Moab, where they had stopped at the end of the long wilderness journey and were about to enter and occupy Canaan. In today’s reading, Moses tells the people that the LORD wants them to obey the laws in the land they are about to occupy so that they may become a strong nation. (You may wish to refer to Deuteronomy 5:1-22 which recounts the Ten Commandments.) Today’s reading includes the great commandment (see verse 5) that Jesus later underscored (see Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:29, 30). Jewish tradition calls verses 4 and 5 the “Shema,” because the first Hebrew word of this passage is “shema,” which means “listen” or “hear.” The Good News Translation renders this word as “remember this!”
The Great Commandment
1“These are all the laws that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you. Obey them in the land that you are about to enter and occupy. 2As long as you live, you and your descendants are to honor the Lord your God and obey all his laws that I am giving you, so that you may live in that land a long time. 3Listen to them, people of Israel, and obey them! Then all will go well with you, and you will become a mighty nation and live in that rich and fertile land, just as the Lord, the God of our ancestors, has promised.
4 “Israel, remember this! The Lord—and the Lord alone—is our God. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 Never forget these commands that I am giving you today. 7Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working. 8Tie them on your arms and wear them on your foreheads as a reminder. 9Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.
Today’s Key Verse: Deuteronomy 6:5
[Moses said:] “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
Why are the Israelites told to never forget God’s commandments, to teach God’s laws to their children, and to write and discuss the laws over and over again? How might this kind of discipline impact their understanding and practice of the law? How might this discipline be helpful in your daily life? Have you ever memorized the “Shema”? If not, consider doing so today.
Lord God, I love you with all my heart, soul, and strength. Keep me faithful and obedient to your will. I want to obey your commandments and honor you always. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Deuteronomy 6:10-25: Moses warns the Israelites against disobedience.