Some of the most foundational verses in the life of Israel, God’s people in the Old Testament, are these:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your should, and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
These were words given to Israel by Moses as he reminds them of everything God has done for them and everything He asks of them. They’re about to enter the promised land, and it’s important to remember where they’ve come from and who they are. It’s foundational to their whole lives.
Today, it’s the words just after this—less famous words—which I want to focus on.
A call to saturation
After this massive statement, this big call to love God with everything, and before Moses goes on to unpack it and explain all its implications, he says this:
“Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. 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. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorless of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)
God, through Moses, is calling the people to deliberately and wilfully keep everything they’ve heard in their minds and hearts. Their history and their Law—these are important things, and they mustn’t be forgotten.
But how? How to avoid it slipping the mind? How to avoid other things taking over? The answer: make sure this stuff is everywhere! Talk about it with family, at home, away from home, as you go to sleep, as you wake up. Sounds pretty comprehensive to me! Write it on your hand, your head, your home.
This is a call to a life saturated with the message of God and the call of God.
If we don’t remember, we forget
The thing that strikes me is this: why did these people, who had experienced such amazing things, need to be so deliberate about keeping God front and centre?
I mean, isn’t this the same Israel whose recent history includes being brought out of Egypt with mighty acts of God? Crossing the Red Sea? Following God through the wilderness, with His presence visible as fire and smoke? Sending bread from heaven? Producing water from a rock? Surely if anyone had seen enough that they’d never forget, it was them! So why all the visual reminders?
It’s because they were people, just like us. We all have this tendency to forget. Things—even big things—fade over time unless we make a conscious effort to hold onto them.
Perhaps more than ever in history, we are constantly bombarded with message after slogan after soundbite. Images and videos and voices and status updates and adverts and posters and notifications on our phones. It’s endless. We have so many things crying out for our attention, and they get our attention. I don’t personally think that’s wrong. It can be good to retreat from it once in a while, but it’s not wrong. It does mean, though, that we need to be very deliberate if we want to be shaped by the right voices.
We live in a media saturated world, but are we saturated by God’s media?
How to remember?
Great. But is this easier said than done? What is our 21st Century equivalent of writing the words of the Law on our doorposts and foreheads, and of talking about it wherever we are.
I think those last three words are the clue: ‘wherever we are’. No part of our lives should not be saturated by Jesus. I am not called to remember God where I’m not, but I am called to remember Him where I am.I am not called to remember God where I'm not, but I am called to remember Him where I am. Click To Tweet
So where are you? Where is your life lived? Home. Work. School. On the road. Online. On call. One of the reasons this website and this ministry exists is for those of us who are online a lot, to make sure our online life has Jesus’ voice at work, that our online life is being saturated by Jesus’ message, not just other people’s.
Where are the three areas where your life is most lived? And what could you do in those three places to saturate your life there with Jesus, with His message, His media, His life? A new habit? Something written down? Someone to call you to account?
How are you going to intentionally remember Jesus, so you don’t accidentally forget?
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