A whole chapter with a single heading.
Love the LORD Your God
There is one common statement that gets repeated throughout this chapter. Not verbatim, but the essence is there on four separate occasions. That if the Israelites follow what they’ve been told, and love God, then things will go well for them, they’ll live long lives, it will “go well” with them in the promised land.
And how do they do that? Well, each time that Moses says it will go well for them, it’s following a point.
The first mention is following just the acknowledgement that these commands, decrees and laws have been given. Remember, this is following directly after the Ten Commandments have been repeated. So what we have is a statement following these rules, and why they’ve been provided.
“So that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.” ~ Deuteronomy 6:2
The Ten Commandments aren’t just commandments, but they’re instruction for how to fear God, and therefore enjoy a long life.
The next step is just as simple:
“Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you.” ~ Deuteronomy 6:3
Now that these commands, decrees and laws have been given – hear them. Don’t just hear them, but obey them.
Why do we study the Bible? Why do we listen to teaching about the word and about God? Why do we establish discussion and study groups?
Because it helps us to absorb the word. The fact is, it’s a lot easier to obey a command when you actually know what it is, but another fact is that the Bible is a really big book, and just reading it through – apart from being very difficult – is unlikely to see anyone absorb a great deal about it. If it’s not absorbed, chances are it’s very quickly going to fade back out of our minds.
I remember being told once that it takes several times for information to be absorbed into the brain. I don’t remember the exact figure – although for some reason I’m thinking it might be four. Using four as the example, then, what it means is that we need to hear something four times before it settles into our brain.
Think about it: one of the best techniques people will tell you regarding remembering a person’s name when you meet them, is to use it repeatedly during that first conversation. As you keep saying their name, then it sticks into your mind and the information is absorbed as opposed to just settling on the surface before being blown away by the next thing to come by.
So what the next step is, is to remember them. Absorb the commands and the word of God. There are a variety of tactics for this here: Impress them on your children, discuss them at home and while walking down the street; think about them when you lie down and when you get up…
Now that is something that I’m still struggling with, but wishing I could do more consistently, is to have time with God as the first thing I do when I wake up and the last thing I do when I go to bed. I mean, lately I’ve been writing this blog as pretty much the last thing I do before going to bed, but there’s still room for improvement.
Whether it’s law, though, or simply love, the word of God is integral to the way that we live a life filled with the happiness that I mentioned in a recent blog. It’s formulaic; and the more that we follow God’s word, the more we’ll be following Christ’s example, and the more we’ll be living that life where things go well for us in the land that God has given us.
So note it. Hear it. Obey it. Absorb it. The more time we spend in God’s word, the more of it will be absorbed, and the easier it will be to follow him.