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Chapter 6:1-9 (ESV)

Posted on February 09, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 6:1-9 (ESV) - “Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son's son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

“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 might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Question to consider: How do we show our love for God?

The Hebrew word that is translated as commandment is mitzvah. It is generally understood as “the good works”, or you may have also heard the term used to mark the confirmation of a son (bar) or daughter (bat) as an adult in Jewish culture. It occurs when they have memorized key prayers and scriptures and are willing to stand before the synagogue to profess their desire to carry on the faith.

In the Lutheran tradition, we have a similar passage to adulthood where young men and women memorize the chief parts of Luther’s small catechism and are taught how to grow in their faith through regular church attendance, prayer and the reading of scripture. These catechumens are then confirmed before the church body and expected to become an active participant in their faith.

The statutes and rules given by God in yesterday’s passage were the good works that Israel was to take to heart and live out in the land in order to prosper and point the nations to Him.

Moses emphasized here that this was how the one true God would receive love from them. The “oneness” of God was of primary importance. The word Moses generally used for “God” was Elohim which literally meant “the gods”. Since the word is plural, many think that it referred to the trinitarian nature of God. While the word certainly allows for this, it was also used by the nations to describe their many gods. The temptation for Israel would be to make peace with the nations by adopting their gods, but YHWH (represented by LORD in the above passage) was the only true God, and Moses referred to Him as “our” God because Israel was not to revere or worship any other gods if they wanted to remain in the land.

Beyond obedience to this mitzvah of God, Israel would show love by knowing these statutes and rules to the point where it became a part of the core of their being. They would teach them to their kids, they would talk about them in their homes and among their neighbors, and it would infuse every aspect of their lives. Many Jews through the ages have taken the instruction of binding the statutes and rules to their hand and forehead literally through leather containers of scripture called tefillin. It is even more common to store them on the doorposts of their houses in little containers called mezuzah. If the tefillin and mezuzah are used to continually remind someone to live according to God’s statutes (the hand as a reference  to our actions and forehead as a reference  to our thoughts), then they can be a good thing. However, Jesus called out the Pharisees for making them prominent in order to give the outward appearance of holiness (Matthew 23:5), and the posting of a mezuzah is often used as a talisman to receive God’s blessing on a home.

While we demonstrate our love for God in knowing and trying to keep His commands, we continually fall short of this. The only true and acceptable way for us to demonstrate love for God is through faith in Christ who has kept the statutes for us. In contrast, our attempts at righteousness have been described by Isaiah as a polluted garment. (Isaiah 64:6)


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for giving us the righteousness of Christ. Help us to train up our families to put their faith in Him alone, and may it be our mitzvah to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world and continually point people to Him. Amen.