The Way of the Lord
The children of Israel found themselves at the doorstep of Canaan as a young nation established by Jehovah God. But Moses, their leader who saved them out of the hands of Pharaoh, would not be allowed to go with them. We find the final address of Moses to God’s people in the book of Deuteronomy. The overarching theme of the book is to remember God and His way so that their relationship will remain intact.
The most famous portion of this text is known as the Shemah, which means “to hear intelligently”, and is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-12. Moses begins with this admonition that impresses the importance of close attention to the word of the Lord. If they did not listen to the commands of God they would be sure to fail in their conquest of the land of Canaan. The same is true for us under the law of Christ. We cannot have saving faith without first hearing the word (Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:6) But to listen intently to the words spoken of God’s prophet would not be enough.
Hearing the message of God was to lead Israel to love the Lord. This is a complete love with all of their heart. A complete love is an expected response at the message of God’s love because that love is so deep and complete. It is as John wrote in 1 John 4:19, “We love him, because He first loved us.” For Israel, God’s love was of physical protection. As long as they behaved as His people they would not have to worry over famine or attack from enemy forces. When God showed His love for us it was mainly of spiritual protection. Sending His Son allowed us to have salvation from sin and to be kept in the light (1 John 1:4-9).
Moses then commands that the children of Israel teach these statutes to future generations so that God would never be forgotten. This teaching was to be done consistently at all times of the day. This means that there would be a large amount of teaching and the importance of such would be impressed upon the children because they were being taught with regularity. If we hope to bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord our teaching must be the same (Ephesians 6:4). If these young ones do not see us living and teaching consistently they will get the idea that God’s word does not need to be a priority in their lives.
Finally, this teaching was to take place so that God would be remembered. Moses states, “And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” If God was not heard, loved, and taught unto the children of Israel they would forget Him and begin to think that by their own might they escaped Egypt and conquered Canaan. If we fail to follow this pattern we have left the way of the Lord and are doomed to forget Him.
“But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them” (Psalm 103:17-18).