Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
To love God is to obey him. If we have not obeyed him and we are not obeying him, as a matter of practice, we do not love him, and we don’t know him, and he doesn’t know us. Loving God is doing what he says. It is being doers of the word and not hearers only. It is following Jesus Christ (God) wherever he leads us according to his will and his truth and his ways.
Now, we are to do this with our whole heart, soul, and might, i.e. with everything that we are and have, i.e. with our whole being – with every part of our thinking, attitudes, speaking, behaving, actions, deeds, values, philosophies, personalities, temperaments, emotions, passion, and desire, etc. There is not a part of us that is not to be given over to our Lord.
I just finished hearing some people talking about Christmas, which I don’t celebrate, and they were talking about all the stuff that is part of Christmas – all the shopping and gift giving and parties and food, etc. And then they said something about Jesus being the reason for the season, so we need to keep him in mind while we are going about doing all this other stuff.
That is totally backwards. If Jesus is really the reason for the season then it should be all about him and what he wants from us, not about our traditions, parties, shopping, gift giving, games, fun, eating, baking, cooking, decorating, trees, and especially not about Santa (Satan) who is a false god created in the minds of humans to supersede (overshadow) Jesus Christ.
If we love God, if we love Jesus with everything that we are, then he is not going to take second place to a false god or to our traditions and to our worldliness. We will be doing what his word says we are to be doing, and we will be finding out what pleases our Lord and how he wants to be worshiped, and we will honor him by doing it his way, not our way.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 ESV
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
I hear a lot of people quote that verse that talks about hiding the word of God in our hearts but they usually then talk about how we need to read the word and memorize it. But I have known a lot of people in my life who memorized and who read and who even studied and taught the Scriptures, but the Scriptures were not written on their hearts.
The only way the Scriptures will be written on our hearts is if we obey them. Yes, we have to study them in context to know what they say, and in order to hear from God so that we know what to obey, but if we don’t obey what the Lord says we must do (under the New Covenant), then the Lord’s commands are not on our hearts. They are on our intellect.
We need to be teaching the Scriptures to our children, and to our grandchildren, if permissible, but not for head knowledge, and not if we are not living them and so we are being hypocritical. We teach more by what we do than by what we say, but we also need to teach the word of God with our mouths so that they are hearing it and knowing how to put it into practice.
But this is not a casual or an occasional thing we are to be doing here. The Scriptures are to be a part of our every day lives so that they are a part of our conversations every day, too. Now, I know this is foreign to a lot of people who were not brought up this way, but this is not just Old Testament teaching. The word of God should be on our tongues every day.
And to me, binding the Scriptures as a sign on my hands has to do with applying them to my everyday life so that I am living the word of the Lord through what I do, through my deeds. And if they are on the frontlets between my eyes, it means to me that they are in my mind and in my thinking and that I meditate on the word of the Lord throughout the day.
And it is good to have the Scriptures on display throughout your house in pictures or plaques or on cards on your mirrors or on your tables and dressers, etc. But they shouldn’t be for display purposes only, or the exercise of putting them there is pointless. We should pay attention to them and think on them and then apply them to our everyday lives.
Deuteronomy 6:16-19 ESV
“You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you. And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers by thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has promised.”
This is taught to us again in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 10 and in Hebrews 3-4. What the majority of the children of Israel did when they wandered in the desert (or wilderness) for 40 years was to put God to the test, because they didn’t believe he would do what he said he would, and so they disobeyed him and they argued with him and with Moses.
But what they did took place as examples to us so that we might not desire evil as they did. So, we are not to be idolaters and revelers and those who indulge in sexually immorality. And we are not to put Christ to the test by doing what he says not to do or by grumbling against him and fighting against his commands, or we will be judged by God as they were.
So, today, if we hear his voice speaking truth to our hearts and convicting us of sin and calling us to repent of sin and to walk in obedience to his commands, we are not to harden our hearts as the Israelites did in the wilderness and rebel against the Lord by doing what he commands us not to do. We are not to go astray with our hearts, but we are to follow Jesus.
And we who profess faith in Jesus Christ are to take care lest any of us has an evil, unbelieving heart, leading us to fall away from the living God. For we have come to share in Christ if we hold on to the truth of the gospel taught by Jesus and by his New Testament apostles, by putting the word of God into practice in our daily lives and by saying “No!” to Satan every day.
For, if we do not obey our Lord and his commands, and if we decide to go our own way and to do what we want, and if we walk in sin and not in righteousness, and if we make sin our practice, our habit, and if we do not walk in obedience to our Lord, but we obey sin, we are not going to inherit eternal life with God no matter what faith we say we have in Jesus Christ.
If we want eternal life with God and heaven as our eternal destiny and forgiveness of our sins, then by faith in Jesus Christ we must die with Christ to sin and live to God and to his righteousness. We must no longer live in sin as we did before we believed in Jesus, but righteousness is now to be our practice. And we must continue in Christ in faithful obedience to the end.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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