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 door frames of your houses and on your gates. ~Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NIV
These commands I give you today are to be on your hearts… does that mean we take them to heart? Know them by heart? Are we meant to memorize them or apply them? use them in a sentence or just answer correctly on multiple choice or true-false?
We humans want a clear assignment so we know how to get the A in living a God-fearing life. How do we get an A in loving God whole-heartedly? We want and even long to do well on the test. Life is a test. How do we ace it?
Love the Lord your God, we’re commanded. How? With heart, soul, mind and strength. Take that to heart and ponder it. Tell your kids. Talk about it everywhere you go, in everything you do. Keep it foremost in your hands and on your minds. Write yourself a note and put it somewhere where you can’t forget it. We’re meant to work it out. Sounds exhausting.
Yet, God seems to say… if you’ll just lead with love, trust love, and trust that I have already provided a way for you to obey, you’ll see your way to me. Use what I have given you, created in you, and carefully, painstakingly and uniquely handcrafted in you to walk forward in confidence.
- Write out the 10 commandments. (Exodus 20:1-17, Deuteronomy 5:1-21)
- Post the list where you will see it. Repeat and re-read.
- Re-write all 10 commandments in the affirmative. (ie. #1. God is the one true God.)
- Which of the commandments is easiest for you to obey? Which is the hardest?
- What makes a command easy to follow? What makes it hard?
- Which commands draw you closer to God? Which are easiest to talk about? Impress upon your children?
Oh Lord, I want to love you more than anything in the world. But this world makes it hard to love: hard to love myself and hard to love my neighbor. Somehow I know that love begins with loving you without reservation. Help me to set aside my reluctance and go all in, even when it’s hard. Amen.