Tuesday 25 June 2013

Bible Book:

Deuteronomy 6:1-15 Tuesday 25 June 2013


For the Israelites, life with God included everysingle aspect of their lives together; their religion was theirlife, their life was their religion. The book of Deuteronomyremembers all that God did for the nation of Israel and describesthe kind of lifestyle that responds to such faithfulness. Love isone of the main themes of the book and here in today's passage weencounter one of the pivotal passages that defined Israel's lifetogether. The greatest commandment - to love the Lord your God withall of your heart, soul and might (verse 5). This then was what Goddesired from Israel - a genuine love that flowed throughout theirwhole life. It was this love, freely given and expressed in dailyliving that was supposed to lead to a blessed life for all whoobeyed.

It is instructive, to the contemporary reader, tosee how this love was to be cultivated. The people of Israel weretold to keep the words in their heart; to be continually mindful ofthem. They were to do this practically, by reciting them at homeand away - in other words, everywhere! They were to do this whenthey rose and lay down, which suggests that it should happen allthe time. They were to bind them physically on their hands and fixthem on their foreheads. They were to write them on their doorpostsand on their gates. The Israelites were to literally immerse theirwhole being in God's command to love.

Phylacteries are the small wooden boxes that someJews attach to their left hand and forehead with leather strapsduring times of prayer. Phylacteries contain key passages from thelaw, including today's passage. Jews often attach mezuzot, smallmetal or wooden containers with passages of Scripture to the doorframes of their homes as a direct response to this passage. Theyliterally wear God's law on their bodies and attach it to thethresholds of their property as a practical way of remindingthemselves of God's greatest commandment: love God everywhere, ineverything, all the time.

To Ponder

  • What physical items prompt you to love?
  • What simple, practical steps can you take to love Godeverywhere, in everything, all the time?
  • How will you practise love today?
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