As we have progressed in this study of Deuteronomy we’ve looked at the impact upon ones worldview, a call to obey, and a call to covenant. Once again, there’s a shift in the message. The sixth chapter speaks of sealing the deal and the outward signs that manifest.
Scripture and summary
God’s commandments, his “just decrees” or “righteous laws”, are not arbitrary, but rather they are laden with purpose. The main purpose being in instilling “the fear of the LORD”. Knowing what is expected and required means that there is a way to know whether or not Israel’s heart was in the right place. Further, obedience and observance would make their “days long”. There is also the first admonition to “Hear”, this is not mere auditory recognition of sound, rather it is a willingness of the heart.
What could be called the “pledge of allegiance” for the Israelite. “Shema Israel: Yahweh elohenu; Yahweh echad.” “Hear this Israel: Yahweh [is] God; Yahweh alone” is how one translation of the Shema reads, and since this is meant to parallel the first commandment, it seems to be the correct way that it should be understood.
“Love” here is not mere emotion, but absolute devotion and loyalty. Divided loyalties cause destruction. Israelites were the LORD’s people. He had loved them and had rescued them from their harsh slavery in Egypt. He claimed rights as their king in covenanting himself to them as lawgiver and protector. Their loyal devotion to Yahweh was a barometer for the culture.
Since there was nothing genetic about the terms of the covenant, each generation was to teach the next. It was a matter of personal responsibility delegated to the head of every family. Loyalty and obedience to the LORD promises his continued protection and provision, disobedience and disloyalty will result in destruction. The “sign” is symbolically to be before their eyes. It should be as plain as the nose on their face and readily at hand.
Israel wasn’t even to countenance anyone other than the LORD as worthy of respect. Their prior disobedience was called to mind as was its result. The LORD here is referred to as “jealous” a better translation would be “zealous” because his righteous presence could in no way tolerate what was his, by right, being given to any other. The gods of the nations didn’t care about such, but God Almighty, who is absolute, must not be treated as such by his people.
A reiteration of the previous command to pass the role as covenant members to the next generation. It was not to be couched in fabulous language, but simplicity: we we’re rescued and therefore we must be loyal.
Rebellious and sinful men chafe at the concept of absolute loyalty and obedience to God. People who have been shown mercy and have had grace bestowed upon them should have no difficulty in submitting out of gratitude. Michael Heiser notes this in his book, The Bible Unfiltered, where he writes about obedience,
God was in relationship with Israel because he chose to be in that relationship—he chose this before obedience was any issue. (Ch.17, p.90)…
God desired obedience—the submission of one’s will—on this matter. “Circumcision of the heart” speaks of a heart that believes, not a work. It is a heart submitted to God, not merely the will.(1)
Since salvation (a right relationship to God) is not genetically passed from one generation to another parents have a responsibility to tell their children and their grandchildren about this God-who-saves in hopes that God will use their life and the message to draw them to him. God is merciful and desires to show mercy to everyone who will humble themselves to him.
Excerpt From: “The Bible Unfiltered: Approaching Scripture on Its Own Terms” by Michael S. Heiser. Scribd.
Read this book on Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/365096481