Sunday, September 7, 2014

Deuteronomy 6

Today's reading in our daily plan is Deuteronomy 6. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Things go well (see verses 1-3) for people when they are careful to obey God's commands.
  • Verse 4 says, "The Lord is one." In a time when people believed in a multiplicity of gods, the idea that there was just one God was very unique.
  • Jesus said (see Matthew 22:36-38) that loving God with all your heart, soul, and strength is the most important commandment of all. More than anything, what God wants is our hearts.
  • God emphasizes the importance of parents teaching their children about God and His commands (verses 7-9).
  • When the Israelites enter the promised land, they would become prosperous. Prosperity can cause people to feel self-sufficient and lead them to ignore God, so Moses warns them (in verses 10-13) not to forget God.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • God wants us to love Him. What does it look like to love God? A big part of it is obeying His commands. Jesus said in John 14:15, "If you love me, keep my commands." And the Bible says in 1 John 5:3, "In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome." If you love God, you will be careful to obey His commands. And you'll come to realize it's not a burden. It's a joy to have a God who wants your best and gives you guidance to live it.
  • Jesus not only said the command to love God is the most important, He also said that the command to love God, combined with the command to love your neighbor (in Leviticus 19:18) encompasses all of God's laws. Every law God gives is to help us to love Him and love others.
  • It is the parents' responsibility (not the church's, not the children's ministry, not the youth group's) to teach their kids about God and His commands. If you have kids, your primarily responsibility in life is to love God and obey Him, and to teach your kids to love God and obey Him.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • If loving God looks like obeying Him, how are you doing with loving God? Are you careful to obey all His commands, or do you find ways to justify not obeying some of them? And if it feels like a burden to obey Him, why do you think that's so?
  • If you're a parent, how much of your time and energy are you investing in teaching your kids about God and His commands, and trying to lead them to love Him? What could possibly be more important than that? What changes could you make in your daily life to make this a real priority?