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Deuteronomy 6:1-9 1
1 These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 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. 3 Hear, 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 ancestors, promised you. 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Background 2

The book of Deuteronomy opens by saying: “These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan” (1:1). Moses recalled something of their history, including their wilderness years—years spent wandering because of their unfaithfulness to God. In chapter 4, Moses  also charged them to “make them known to your children and to your children’s children” (4:9), referring to God’s laws.

In chapter 5, Moses recited the Ten Commandments, given originally in Exodus 17. He concluded chapter 5 by saying, “You shall observe to do therefore as  God has commanded you.

Now, in chapter 6, Moses gives the Israelites the commandment that would become known to Jews as the Shema—a commandment that summarizes the demands of the first two of the Ten Commandments—a commandment that calls them to internalize the commandments, so that the commandments, once written on stone tablets, would be written on their hearts (6:6). He also commands them once again to teach this commandment to their children (6:7a) and to take specific measures to remember the commandments (6:7b-9).

In chapters 6 through 11, Moses appeals to the Israelites to be faithful to God and gives a rationale for doing that. These chapters, then, serve as an introduction to the more detailed giving of the law that Moses outlines in chapter 12-26.

Items for Discussion

  • What do you do to make sure you internalize and remember important things?
  • Our world today dislikes the idea of placing the ten commandments visibly in public places – Why do you think that is?
  • What benefits to society would we gain if God’s commandments were more visible?
  • Why is the idea of “summarization” an effective way to remember and to “pass on” God’s Laws? Are there any risks?

 

Mark 12:28-34
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” 32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

Background

Those who sincerely desire to be taught their duty, God’s Laws, can look to Christ as a guide. Those who accept the role of instructor, can also look to Crist and teach His way. He tells the scribe that the great commandment, which indeed includes all, is, that of loving God with all our hearts. Wherever this is the ruling principle of someone’s soul, every other duty will fall into its proper place. Loving God with all our heart, will engage us to do every thing by which God will be pleased.

The sacrifices only represented the atonements for men’s transgressions of the moral law; they were of no power to influence God’s judgment upon them.  Mankind is given but one choice, except the expressed repentance and faith as promised Christ. This, of course, must also lead to moral obedience. Because we have not loved God first and then ourselves, but instead did the very reverse, we are condemned sinners. We need repentance, and we need mercy.

Christ approved what the scribe said, and encouraged him. It becomes our knowledge of the law that leads to our conviction of sin, to repentance, to discovery of our need of mercy, and to understanding the way of justification through Christ.

Items for Discussion

  • Why is life so fragile? If you agree it is fragile, then why do people put themselves before God?
  • What activities in life convict us of our sins?
  • Why is it that we cannot begin our repentance until we accept our sinfulness?
  • How would you explain repentance to a child, to a friend?
  • Why is one’s recognition of a need for “God’s Mercy” so important to the Christian faith?

Discussion Challenge

  • How can you and your Church make Christ relevant to the upcoming generations, thus honoring God’s command to “pass it on?”

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. https://www.sermonwriter.com/biblical-commentary/deuteronomy-61-9/
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