By RONY KOZMAN, Ph.D., The Alabama Baptist
Communicate the Word of God
Obedience to the word of God benefits us and others. (1–3)
In the Book of Deuteronomy, Israel is about to enter the promised land. The previous generation, whom God saved from Egypt, refused to believe that he would give them the land he had promised.
Because of their unbelief and rebellion, God condemned this generation to wander in the wilderness for 40 years.
Once that generation died, the next generation would enter the land of Canaan. Nor would Moses enter the land.
This refusal to enter the land and the wandering of Israel in the desert are proof of the curses of the covenant.
The people broke the covenant God made with them at Sinai. And the curses that come with unfaithfulness to the covenant include, among other things, exile from the promised land and death.
Now the next generation is about to enter the land, and Moses delivers his farewell sermon to the people.
He repeatedly reminds Israel to remember the law he gave them and to keep the commandments. When they enter the country, they must ensure that they and their children follow the law so that they can live in the country for a long time and prosper there.
Like Moses, Jesus asks us to be obedient. Those who follow Jesus and obey his words are like “the wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24). They will be justified at the final judgment because Jesus said those who bear fruit will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:15-23). We will also experience a fulfilled or blessed life in this day and age, but not by worldly standards (Matthew 5:3-12).
God’s love compels us to trust and obey him. (4–5)
Moses reminds the people of their need to be entirely and exclusively devoted to God.
Israel must worship God alone and not the gods of other nations. We must also exclusively worship God who has revealed himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
To be faithful to God, we must be filled with his word.
Love for others compels us to share God’s word at every opportunity. (6–9)
Not only does Moses urge the present generation to keep the word of God, but he also urges them to pass on the commandments of God to their children.
We must constantly keep God’s words and instructions before us. Wherever we go, we must remember the words of God. They must be in our hearts.
Our heart, or mind, is the root of our faithfulness to God. We must fix our minds on the word of God and ensure that the words he commands are continually, as Moses said, “in your heart.”
We must then take the words of God that are in our hearts and teach them to our children. Parents are responsible for instructing their children in the ways and words of God.
We must be careful not to shirk our responsibility to educate our children and the next generation. Parents should create a culture in their homes and families in which they repeatedly recite and discuss the scriptures.
The vision in this passage is of a family weaving scripture throughout their daily lives, whether at home or on a journey.
The rhythm of our day should be framed and immersed in meditation on the words of God.
As illustrated in verse 9, even the physical spaces of the home have the word of God written on them.
The image that Moses gives us is one in which the word of God fills our hearts, our family discussions, our days, our journeys, our bodies and our homes. Our lives must be completely filled with the word of God in order for us to be faithful to him.
This lesson was written by Rony Kozman, Ph.D., assistant professor of Bible studies at Samford University and originally published by The Alabama Baptist.