I grew up in a relatively small town in the ’50s and ’60s. Without going into a lengthy explanation, I must say that the restaurant selections were sparse.
Thankfully, my mother was a good cook and the family ate breakfast and the evening meal together. During breakfast, everyone read a different section of two newspapers that were delivered to our home.
At the evening meal, my brother and I were taught business, law, finance, and politics by our father. Not all of our meals were pleasant, especially if we brought home bad grades in school.
Later in life, I realized that I received the equivalent of a college education while listening to my parents at the dinner table.
Hundreds of years before my childhood, God commanded his people to educate their children.
In many ways, the Book of Deuteronomy is an account of what God wants his people through all of the ages to know and to do.
The Subject Matter
My parents lived through the Great Depression. That experience shaped the way they lived, and what they taught my brother and me.
For example, they lived in a modest home without debt. My mother washed and re-used zip-lock bags. The things they taught us at the dinner table reflected their life experiences.
As Moses spoke to the Israelites in Moab, who was on the verge of entering the promised land, he frequently reminded them of their life experiences.
Slavery in Egypt, the Exodus from Egypt, and the wilderness wanderings were recalled in order to shape how they lived.
In our YouTube videos on the Bob Spradling channel, Rudy Ross frequently points out how the Exodus, the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai, the Passion week of Jesus, and Pentecost are events that should shape our lives.
The two central truths that were to be the focal point of all teaching are:
— Deuteronomy 6.4 – Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.
— Deuteronomy 6.5 – You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
Through our attitudes, actions, and words we should teach our children that God is not a “God among the gods,” but he is the Only True God – God Alone.
We cannot choose which “god” we want to follow, like deciding on the variety of apples to purchase at the grocery store. When it comes to God, we have only one choice.
He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is God who delivered his people from slavery in Egypt. He is God who came to earth and freed humanity from sin and death. He is our only option and there is no other.
The second truth to be taught is the fact that God loves people and expects us to love him in return.
Without question, the greatest opportunity given to humans is the chance to live in a loving relationship with the Greatest Being of All, God Himself.
Jesus summarized these two truths when questioned by a religious authority. Jesus was asked, “Which commandment is the first of all?”
Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘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 mind, and with all your strength'” (Mark 12.28-30).
Since this truth is central to Jesus’ teaching, it should be reflected in our attitudes, actions, and words.
God didn’t give the people tips on how to teach. Instead, he gave them commands that they were to follow. Let’s take them one at a time.
— Deuteronomy 6.6 – Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart.
The heart refers to our feelings, thoughts, and intellect. The fact that there is only one God and that we can live in a relationship characterized by love with him should capture our entire inside condition.
Daily reading the Bible, prayer, spending time alone thinking about God, listening to worship music, and more will help us get God’s word into our hearts.
— Deuteronomy 6.7 – Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.
This is the verse that inspired me to talk about the dinner table at the Spradlings. Our parents talked to my brother and me about their fears, hopes, dreams, ideas, and opinions on a daily basis.
My brother and I profited greatly from what we learned at mealtime, even if there were times when we didn’t like what seemed to be lectured.
Some of my friends use meals and the time before bed to remind their children of who God is and what God offers humans. A couple of families have their children listen to the audible Bible while they sleep.
However we do it, we are commanded to communicate the truths of God and his love to the next generation.
— Deuteronomy 6.8-9 – Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
In today’s YouTube video, Rudy Ross explains how Jewish people observe this command.
The way my wife has responded to the command is to fill our house with religious art. We have pictures of churches, models of churches, and Bible verses all over the house.
Many people at Maywood have tattoos of Bible verses as reminders of their relationship with God.
In the next chapters of Deuteronomy, we will see how important it is to remember and to not forget what God has done. Quite frequently, Moses counseled the people to remember and not forget.
Whatever it takes for us to remember that God is One and that he offers us a love relationship with him is worthy of our best effort.
About This Blog
Please take 8-10 minutes to listen to my interview with Rudy Ross on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Rudy has insights on this passage that come from years of study and the love of God.
Thanks to Peter Craigie and his commentary on Deuteronomy for information about this book.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.