November 11, 2012


Lectionary

Morning - Ps. 41, Jeremiah 35:1-11, Colossians 1:1-17
Evening - Ps.42, 43, Deut. 6:1-9, Mt. 26:1-6

Commentary, Deuteronomy 6:1-9

Our Lord Himself quoted Dt. 6:5 as the one great commandment.  Here in summary form is the meaning of the Law of God, for, since it is impossible to love God without also loving those God loves, it includes our duty to God and to man.  Likewise, those who love God will keep His commandments as stated in the first three verses of chapter 6.  Verses 4 and 5 are framed in such as way as to make love for God the foundation of obedience. The goodness of God in His deliverance of Israel is the foundation of love for Him.  Obedience is based on love; love is based on what God has done.

For the original hearers, the mighty works of God consisted of His deliverance of them from Egypt, preservation of them in the wilderness, giving His Law, and bringing them to the entrance to the Promised Land.  Moses also looks ahead to the mighty works God is going to do for them by giving them possession of Canaan (6:1, 3).  It is a land flowing with prosperity and good things (milk and honey).  But it is not theirs apart from the Covenant agreement. If they break the Covenant, they forfeit the land.

God's Covenant with Israel also encompasses a future King whose coming will expand the walls of Jerusalem to include the spiritual children as well as the natural children of Abraham.  Foreshadowed in the Law and Tabernacle, that King is Christ, and those who are in Christ through Biblical faith are Abraham's spiritual children.  We look to the mighty acts of God in Christ as the foundation of our love and obedience to God.

Verses 6-9 can be seen as an explanation of the meaning of verses 4 and 5; we love God by cherishing His commandments.  In addition to outward obedience, we put them in our hearts (6:6).  They become a part of us.  They shape our thoughts, attitudes, and values as much as they shape our actions.

We teach them diligently to our children (6:7).  Every Christian parent should consider it a duty and privilege to conduct Christian instruction at home, and to bring their children under the teaching of the Bible in a solid, Biblical church.  Those who neglect this duty cause great harm to their children, and live in open disobedience to the direct command of God.  Forbid not the children to come to the Saviour.

The Law of God will be in our conversation (6:7).  They will direct what we say, and also to whom we say it.  We will naturally fellowship with others who love God.  For the Jews that meant Israel.  For Christians it means the Church.  Our participation and fellowship in a Biblical Church is our sacred duty and honour.  We neglect it to our detriment.

A frontlet (6:8) was a small copy of the Decalogue, that was made a part of the head covering.  It symbolised that the word of God was continually before the wearer's eyes.  Hebrew homes usually had a similar ornament on the door frame (6:9).  Often placing them was accompanied by a joyful ceremony, especially when a family moved into a new home.  These things were expressions of love for God, not empty rituals in place of love.

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