Daily Devotion – October 26, 2021 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison

Deuteronomy 6:1-9
6:1 Now this is the commandment–the statutes and the ordinances–that the LORD your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy,
6:2 so that you and your children and your children’s children, may fear the LORD your God all the days of your life, and keep all his decrees and his commandments that I am commanding you, so that your days may be long.
6:3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe them diligently, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may multiply greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has promised you.
6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.
6:5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
6:6 Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart.
6:7 Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.
6:8 Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead,
6:9 and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Keeping the commandment of the Lord was central to the Jewish way of life. It got that way through following, for hundreds of years, the instructions in this speech. Parents taught their children, the words were recited every day, both day and night. The words were bound onto their bodies and written on their doorposts.

What words are bound to our bodies, alive in our hearts, and written over our doorposts? It’s a question we might ask ourselves today. The children of Israel were made into a true community during their wandering in the wilderness. For forty years they practiced these habits and grew into a people God would shepherd through history.

What shapes our culture these days? Is there any unifying command or truth that holds us together and creates our identity? If there isn’t one that we are aware of, what one would we choose for our lives and our children’s lives? We could do worse than “The Lord is our God. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might.” Jesus believed that the true way of living out this love for God was to love our neighbors as ourselves. That, too, could be a unifying truth to live by.

When we know what truth we have bound to us and written over our doorposts, we will know how others see us and our lives and also how God sees us and our lives.

Gracious God, Thank you for loving us. Thank you for keeping your promises to us and to all your children. Help us to love you with all our hearts, souls, and might. Help us even to be caught by others living like your beloved children. Write on our hearts how you want us to live.  Amen.