Deuteronomy 6:1-8 by Charles Clough
Duration:1 hr 0 mins 23 secs

Deuteronomy Lesson 19

“Living in the Word” Methodology

Deuteronomy 6:1–8

Fellowship Chapel
13 Apr 2010
Charles Clough
© Charles A. Clough 2010

On the handout you’ll notice on the outline where we’re moving; we are going to, tonight, move into a new chapter and this will be chapter 6, and chapter 6 will be a section in a larger section, from chapters 5 through 11. So if you track that in the outline you’ll see that these are going to be subsequent chapters inside that section, from chapter 5 through chapter 11. All of this chunk of material is emphasizing the heart attitude, because as we’ve seen, the Bible is very, very clear. The Holy Spirit, working through Moses, the man endured forty years of people who tried to live the life just by externals. When it came to the crisis they failed because they did not have that inner preparation and the inner toughness to sustain themselves in the middle of a trial. So Moses now, in this last time of his life, is going to make very sure, by spending fifty percent of this entire book on how we think and what goes on inside us, rather than on the externals. So that’s why this stress.

One thing that we want to remember again is that Mount Sinai is one of a sequence of events, and Mount Sinai is going to be the place where a certain doctrine is linked to it, and that’s one of the keys to do what we’re going to focus on tonight. The section is entitled “Living in the Word” and that’s just my little gizmo saying for trying to capture the essence of what Moses’ point is here; what is he doing? And so he’s going to emphasize the fact that the Word of God has got to dominate the thinking and the heart. And so we’ll call that living in the Word.

Well, part of that is the reason why I back, many years ago I kind of developed a framework approach to Scripture because I found in my own life that in order to control the various things that I would encounter I needed to have a systematic way of approaching it. And so that led to the framework, the idea that God has a progress in history, there are certain sequences, there are certain actions, there are certain acts, then he explains what he is doing in those acts, Mount Sinai is one of those key acts, it comes after the Exodus, it comes before the conquest. So one of the things to think about every time you pinpoint an act of Scripture, one of the key acts or events is to think what was the one that happened just before that and what’s the one that’s happening after that. And that sets up a context.

So Mount Sinai you know happened after the Exodus but it happened before the conquest. That tells you something theologically right away. It tells you that the lordship of Sinai follows redemption, that law is not a means of redemption and the whole import of that is that in today’s culture your agitators, your professional class warfare people, the Saul Alinsky group, the Marxist group, the campus radicals, the political radicals, all have an agenda that create a class war and chaos because they hope their right to bring in a paradisiacal situation socially. And out of chaos, supposedly, will come order.

Well, it doesn’t work that way in God’s creation and by imposing law, by imposing a Marxist structure, that you will do this because the government says you will do this and you will do that and you can’t have more wealth than a certain level and so on. These are laws imposed by a totalitarian type government, and if you read the literature, the justification of these people is that this is going to redeem society. But that is a heresy. Christians have been arguing for centuries that you don’t get redeemed by the law; the law cannot change hearts. So we do away with that whole heresy.

Then the central doctrine and we’ll see a second one tonight, but one of the central three doctrines associated with Mount Sinai has been the doctrine of revelation; we’ve gone over that a number of times so it’s really not necessary for us to belabor the point. But the reason why we make this point, why we say the doctrine of revelation is to be associated in our minds with this Sinai event is because the Sinai event is one point in history where God spoke audibly, and it clarifies what we mean by revelation.

Revelation is not what Scripture authors thought after they had some sort of non-verbal mystical experience. That’s not revelation. Revelation in Scripture means that a thought passes from the mind of God to the mind of human beings; there is a communication of an idea, of a truth. And that becomes the basis of epistemology, that becomes the basis for human knowledge, and that basis is lacking. No unbeliever can subscribe seriously to that point and we do as Christians. So we are at a tremendous cultural difference way down at the basement of the house because we totally differ on how you attain truth and we’ve made several points; these five points are just waves of defining revelation to keep us from drifting into the false culture of our time.

Let’s go back, we want to just review one thing, go back to Deuteronomy 5:22; we finished off that last time rather hurriedly and I want to be sure that we remember the big points. From verse 22 to verse 27, in that section of material, Moses is describing the reaction of the people; it’s the reaction of the people to what really happens when God exposes Himself with all of His holiness. There is an aversion to that and it’s because we are guilty creatures, it’s because we are fallen beings and it’s just too high a voltage for us to stand there and take that. So the reaction in that whole point, and it’s a very easy to see thing, you read verse 22, you read verse 23, you read verse 24, it’s very easy, having read those verses to visualize what it would have been had you been there. Everybody was in a panic and what they were looking for, desperately at that point, was a mediator, somebody else go up on the mountain. Moses, you go up there, you take the heat of His holiness and then you come on down and you talk to us, but we’re fortunate to still be alive after what we’ve just heard. So when the Word of God was that powerful, that striking and deep inside.

There’s a section, then, here, Israel’s response, they run to a mediator. And it’s ironic that John, the apostle, in 1 John does the same thing, after he talks about God is light, says John, and then that whole passage in John ends up in chapter 2, verses 1 and 2, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Why does he do that? Because it’s the same thing. If God really is light we know we’re in the darkness and we need an advocate going to the Father. So an accurate biblical view of God always should lead to a sense of I need a mediator, I need a Savior, I need a Deliverer. That is the orthodox reaction to orthodox theology.

Now we come down further and we see God, in verses 28-31 and actually Moses too at the end, verse 32, and here God is saying oh, the people are good that they want to obey Me, but I just wish they would have the heart to obey Me. And that sets up the next chapter, chapter 6, so there’s a flow in what Moses is saying here.

Now we come to chapter 6 and we’re going to cover half of it tonight because there are three sections that I’d like to deal with. The first three verses, the benefits that He’s going to put out, that He’s going to define certain benefits that result from a walk with God with deep respect for the Scriptures of His truths. So let’s look carefully at the first three verses. “Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, [2] that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. [3] Therefore, hear O Israel, and e careful to observe it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you-‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’” See there’s the heart of God. He wants them to be prosperous; He wants them to have a good life, that’s the heart of God. Now the question is, how does that happen?

When you go to verse 1 there are three words there, observe what verse 1 says, locate the nouns. There’s three subjects being talked about, there’s commandment, there’s statutes and there’s judgments. The commandment, by the way, look at it, is it a singular or plural noun? It’s singular. Now look at statutes and judgments—singular or plural? They’re plural. Now that tells you something about what’s going on here. He says this is the commandment, this is the unit, and this is the Torah, this is what I want you to understand.

Then he follows it up, and if you have a King James or a New King James translation and some of the others will also, you’ll see the next few words are in italics meaning they’re not really there; they’re supplied by the translator. Then comes “statutes and judgments.” So what Moses is saying, I’m going to give you the commandment and it consists of statutes and judgments. But before he does that he’s still in the exhortation stage of addressing the heart needed to fulfill a walk with the statutes and judgments.

Then he says—and this is a sobering thing to look at, in verse 1, after you get through those three nouns, there is a relative clause—“which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you,” now why is teaching necessary? What did we say about revelation? Remember, go back to the characteristics of revelation, that third characteristic is that revelation is historical; that is, it’s intermitted, it’s not continuous in history, it happens and then it stops, and you might go through centuries and then it starts again and then it stops. So what happens to the people living in between events? They’re not experiencing this kind of direct revelation so how do they come into contact with God if God only speaks at certain intermitted times? The answer is they can’t if they’re not taught to remember what happened. So the teaching of the Word of God is an outflow of the fact that revelation is historically intermitted, and therefore has to be transmitted.

We can say it this way, any community of believers, whether it’s Old Testament or New Testament—and this is a sobering point to remember, and it gets back to why we need to teach—every generation, is only one generation away from extinction. Every generation of believers in Old Testament, New Testament, whatever the dispensation is, is only one generation away from disappearing in history. The only thing that keeps us going is that we have to transmit truth into the next generation. That’s the educational process, and people, that is the original source and meaning of education.

The first educators, the real educators in history go back to the chokmah, or the wisdom literature of the Bible, in 1000 BC, when a whole curriculum developed to train Hebrew young men to be leaders. And that training was part of their education. They never viewed education as just a mere exercise, a sort of academic thing that we all play with and we get a degree and we go on and do something; education was very serious because education taught people how to think and how to meet the challenges of life, and this is going to be a theme in this particular chapter; this is one of the education chapters of the Bible. So it starts off with the fact that education flows out of a need for teaching, teaching flows out of a need to remember; tradition has to be transmitted.

Then a purpose clause in verse 2, after he talks about teaching, observe them, “that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, [2] that you may fear the LORD your God.” So there’s purposes that flow out of this kind of teaching. This is separating the Bible kind of teaching from secular kind of teaching. The first purpose clause is “that you may observe them in the land” to which you are going. So the idea there is that you’ve got to be able to do them, to execute the implications of the Word. So what does that tell you? That purpose clause, “that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess,” this can’t be talking about redemption. The redemption has already happened; the redemption was the act of getting them out of Egypt, that’s the redemption.

This is talking about what happens in the land. So this is talking about sanctification. So we’ve moved from phase 1 of God’s plan of salvation (my term for redemption) over to phase 2, which is sanctification. Then we have the third phase, which is eschatology and so forth—where that leads. But this is talking about, this sets the whole point, that this kind of emphasis from here on out in the Old Testament is basically sanctification, sanctification, sanctification, over and over and over again, going through all the mistakes we can possibly make are covered and illustrated in these Old Testament passages.

Then we come to verse 2, the next thing, notice, because remember, the section in the Bible we are talking about goes back to the heart, so he says that you may observe to do them, but really, purpose in verse 2, “that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments.” In other words, there’s a prerequisite to keeping the statutes and commandments, and that’s “that you may fear the LORD,” and this fear means, of course, respect; it’s sort of used synonymously with l-o-v-e. Remember, we went through l-o-v-e and we started with loyalty, well, this is another side of that except this is more “yes Sir, no Sir, no excuse Sir.”

This is submission to authority, and that’s what has to happen. If there’s no submission to God’s authoritative revelation there can’t be obedience, Jesus pointed that out in the Sermon on the Mount. And by the way, every time Jesus answered Satan He quoted from this chapter. So Deuteronomy 6 is kind of a highlight of how Jesus put things together, when He thought about discussing things He came back to Deuteronomy chapter 6.

And then we shift here because now we’re going to get into a new doctrine associated with the Mount Sinai event. He’s talking about the doctrine of revelation, but now look what happens. In verse 2 who is going to do the teaching? And the question that you have to ask the text, is God going to speak again or is Moses going to speak and Moses only. In other words, is it going to be direct from God or is it going to be indirect from God to Moses to the people? So that’s why you want to watch that structure where it says, “which I command you.” So now Moses has replaced the voice of God. He stands between the people, not only as a mediator now but as a prophet, and this is the classic role of a prophet.

We want to go to the next slide, the doctrine of inspiration, and inspiration is the doctrine about the Scripture. The Scripture was written by men. God did not directly write the Scriptures but He worked through human authors to produce this book that you hold in your lap. Now what this doctrine is concerned with, okay, we talked about revelation, is revelation impeded by human authorship. This is a central point.

We have evangelicals that don’t believe that the Bible is fully the Word of God; that the ideas of the Scripture are but not really the exact words. So when we read a text what are we reading? Are we just reading a random regurgitation of a particular author? You know, you read Luke, he’s got a different vocabulary than John, John’s got a different vocabulary than Paul, so that all of them have their characteristic vocabularies, it’s clear, they even have their own nuances that they load words with. So we have to understand that. Now the critic comes to the Scripture and says see, look at that, there’s different styles, look at Isaiah here, in fact there’s four or five styles in Isaiah, there’s one or two Isaiah’s and there’s three or four authors of Deuteronomy because the styles vary or something.

Let’s go through the doctrine of inspiration. Number one, to start with, and this should be easy to grasp from our Christian viewpoint, there’s a dual authorship, it’s not God or man; it’s both God and man. Now why do we have a problem with this when we know who’s Jesus? Isn’t Jesus God incarnate? Does Jesus have two natures? Of course He does, that’s the hypostatic union. Jesus is fully God; Jesus if fully man. Now if God can do it with Jesus He certainly can work through generating a book through a person. So dual authorship means genuine human product yet perfect revelation of God. God did not compromise the perfection of His revelation because He used human instrumentalities to inscripturate the stories and what he had to say. Something wasn’t lost here in the sense of meaning, dual authorship. And the philosophical justification, if you want one, is the person of Jesus Christ.

Second point, inspiration concerns the words of the text, not just the ideas of the text. So we speak of verbal inspiration, the very words used by the human authors and not just their concepts. The Greek has a word for this, in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is God-breathed.” It’s a picture of God breathing out, and he’s talking about the Old Testament scrolls. So the idea that Paul’s addressing in 2 Timothy is a scroll that has been breathed out by God, almost as though there wasn’t even a human author to the scroll. So we’ve got dual authorship, it’s verbal, and it’s plenary. Verbal plenary, this is an old term for orthodox inspiration, verbal plenary inspiration. Fifty years ago this was a battle cry.

“Plenary” means that it extends to every part of the Bible, red letters and black letters. The idea of highlighting letters in the Bible, making red letters, is somewhat misleading because people tend to think that the red letters are more authoritative than the black letters, and that isn’t so. The red letters are Luke, Matthew and so on, and the black letters are Luke, Matthew and so on; recording Jesus, yes, but the black letters and the red letters do not represent different degrees of inspiration. So we say it’s plenary, it extends to every part of the Bible, even the book of Esther that doesn’t mention God. ALL the books of the Scripture are God’s inspired Word.

Fourth, the Bible is a sufficient subset of all revelation. Now watch the wording here, “a sufficient”. Let’s move to the word “subset” first, meaning there’s been revelation, more revelation in history than what we’ve got. If you want to check that out, I give you some verses there, John’s a great one for that, there were many things that Jesus did and said, in fact, he even says at one time as a matter of expression, it would take the world, the world would be full of books if we wrote everything that Jesus did and said. So there’s a massive amount of revelation that we do not have. Maybe that’s scary but not necessarily, you read the Old Testament, for example, Joshua 10 talks about the sun standing still, the moon stood still, the most amazing event of all human history astronomically. And then there’s just the casual editorial note, you can go read it in the book of Jasher. Well, I don’t have the book of Jasher and you don’t have the book of Jasher, where’s the book of Jasher? I don’t know; it’s lost. So what do we do with this?

What about the missing books of revelation, Kings, Samuel, you keep reading, oh, this is all written in the Chronicles of the Kings. Well, I don’t have the Chronicles of the Kings, but what I do have is the Holy Spirit’s superintended selection of material. So that’s we say it’s a subset of all revelation but it’s a sufficient subset to instruct us. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for doctrine, for correction, instruction in righteousness that the man of God might be mature, thoroughly furnished to every good work.” So it’s sufficient, we don’t have to sweat what happened to the book of Jasher, what happened to the Chronicles of the Kings, what happened to something else that we see. All we recognize is that a lot more revelation happened than what we got.

The last principle is that it’s infallible. The last thing, and this was a fight back in the 70s, the late 70s and the early 80s, there was a knockdown drag out among evangelicals over this point. We had a group of evangelicals that argued that the Bible is my authority in faith and practice, and then they would sort of oooch around what they meant by “faith and practice,” like when it came to a historical act like a big longevity in Genesis 1, Genesis 10, Genesis 5 and 6, then 10 and 11 where the longevity comes down, well, you know, that’s not really faith and practice, that’s just a historical thing and, you know, we can be kind of loosey-goosey about that, that’s just a historical detail.

Well, there’s a problem with that because if you go to 1 Corinthians 15:15 where Paul’s dealing with the resurrection, here’s what he says. If I tell you that something happened in history and it didn’t, I am guilty of perjury, ninth commandment, false testimony. And this plays a big role here because the Scriptures are a testimony to what? Covenant behavior. In other words, God enters into a covenant structure and the Bible, all these little stories, with all the little details about what tribe went where and when did they do it and what happened here, and what did God do in the valley of … where the sun stood still and so on, all of that is testimony that substantiates the behavior of a contract. This is serious business, this is contractual testimony that’s going on and that’s why Paul says, as he does, if I give you a testimony that something happened in history he’s not talking just about an idea, he’s not just talking about theology, he’s talking about a historical event that actually happened; he says I’m a liar, I’ve violated the ninth commandment to do this. So if you’re going to permit that you’ve got some problems. So that’s why we say the fifth point is that it’s infallible. The Word of God is infallible.

Now we want to substantiate this claim because this comes up again and again, sure enough it’ll trot around every three or four years, you get this over and over. So I spent some time to show you that the historical position of Christians, it’s not just we fundies in the 20th century, this is the historic Christian position that the Bible is inspired. Here are some quotes:

Augustine, Roman Catholic tradition: “I firmly believe that not one of these authors has erred”, using the word erred, “in any respect in writing.” It couldn’t be clearer. So here we have in the Roman Catholic tradition belief in the inerrancy of the Bible. Then we have Luther, so here’s the Lutheran tradition. Luther said: “The Scriptures have never erred,” NEVER. Again, this is not something that we fundies invented in America in the 30s or 40s or something. Here’s Calvin, Reformed faith, “…certain and unerring rule.”

Wesley, in Methodism, “If there be any mistakes,” look at this, Wesley caught it very well. We had a person here in church back years ago that had come out of a liberal church, a liberal Methodist church, and they had a family person who was still teaching Sunday School there and they were trying to teach the Bible and the minister, one of the elderettes came in and argued that they shouldn’t be teaching this particular story and it was too much getting the kids back into the Bible, we don’t do that here.

So they came to the family that came to the church and they asked them, they said we had a little discussion and they said well, why don’t you go back there next Sunday and pull out John Wesley and say well, I’m sorry, but this is a Methodist church started by John Wesley and I continue to hold to what John Wesley … you don’t, and ask them that. Which they did and oh well, we don’t follow Wesley any more. You’re right you don’t follow Wesley any more. Look at this: “If there be any mistakes in the Bible, there may well be a thousand. If there be one falsehood in that book, it did not come from the God of truth.”

So we’ve got the Methodists, we’ve got the Lutherans, we’ve got the Reformed and we’ve got the Roman Catholic, all hold to inerrancy historically. Even the Anglican Church, in the Book of Common Prayer, the thirty-nine articles, there’s one article in there that substantiates the infallibility of Scripture. So this is not a weird doctrine.

Now what has happened is that people have argued about this and back when this was a discussion. I have a quote from John Warwick Montgomery in his earlier years, he had to write an entire book when this was going on in the 70s and so you can see the title of the book, and it was this title that shows you where he thought once you start violating inerrancy of Scripture where it takes you, it’s basically theological suicide, because what happens? If you reject the inerrancy of Scripture what happens next? Think about it. If you violate, or you don’t believe the Scriptures are inerrant, what immediately follows? Who becomes inerrant? The reader, man does. You don’t get around inerrancy, people, all you do is you bat the ball into somebody else’s court. Inerrancy moves around, it transfers, it relocates itself somewhere. So oh, I don’t believe in inerrancy … no, you just believe you’re inerrant yourself. So inerrancy has transferred, it hasn’t disappeared.

Here’s what John Warwick Montgomery says: “What has constituted the enormous pressure against the inerrancy view? Why have archeological findings and classical scholarship not moved mainstream theologians in the direction of plenary inspiration? The answer most definitely is not (in spite of loud protests continually voiced) the weight of new factual evidence against an inerrant Bible. Such ‘evidence” does not exist; … the contemporary critic of an inerrant Scripture is still citing alleged discrepancies and supposed scientific objections that have been adequately dealt with over and over again. The issue is not empirical; it is philosophical.” And he’s absolutely right.

That’s the point, and so when you see now in Deuteronomy 6:2, “I command you,” now Moses is speaking, and Moses as a prophet, carries as much authority as those words on the top of Mount Sinai. See, that’s what we’re saying here; this is why inerrancy is so important, why inspiration of Scripture is important. We don’t have to hear God speaking from Mount Sinai if we’ve got God’s Word in our lap. That is as authoritative as that Sinai event.

Moses says, “I command you,” and now look what he’s doing. “I command you,” and who else, count the number of generations in this verse; you come out with one, “you,” number two, “your son,” number three, “your grandson,” three generations. So why three generations? Because in those days, and with the economy going on, and more and more in our day, that parents are going to live with their kids and they’re babysitters for their grandkids. So you have them all living in the same house, in the same domain. So the teaching goes on to three generations; three generations are so close to each other they interact.

Notice the last, “that your days may be prolonged.” So God’s heart is for these people to have a wonderful life, and the thing, “prolonged” isn’t necessarily longevity. It’s not talking about, you know, be a godly person and live to two hundred. He’s talking about being prolonged in the land, if you go back to Deuteronomy 4:40 you’ll see the context of that; that expression means that you’ll enjoy the land, you’ll have that benefit. You can maximize prosperity and peaceful living in the land to which you’re going because what’s the next event after Sinai? Conquest and settlement, they are going to be in the land that God is giving them and God wants them to be able to stay in the land, He doesn’t want to discipline them out of the land, He wants them to be in the land, He loves them.

In the church age there’s an analogy. We don’t have a land in the sense of given real estate yet, in the Millennial Kingdom perhaps, the eternal state for sure, but what we do when we obey the Scriptures is we’re logging asset time for our eternal rewards. This is why we can be ashamed when Christ comes back or we can have confidence when Christ comes back, according to the apostle John, and it’s contingent on our life now, whether we are walking in the Word, living in the Word or not.

1 John 2:17 says, the world is passing away, and then he has this expression, and it’s really hard in the Greek. The Greek doesn’t help you here, now the English has the same problem as the Greek, he has this expression, “the world is passing away but he that does the will of God abides forever.”

Now wait a minute, what does that mean, “abides forever.” It has to do with the fact that our eternal position and state and life is somehow being determined right now, by our choices. It’s rather sobering to think about that but our choices to respect God’s authority and believe His Word or to go our own separate ways and we’re the judge of His Word and we’re going to decide to do it our way with our gimmicks and our solutions, and that sets us up for eternity. So it’s not like God’s going to cushion everything, He wants us to accept personal responsibilities for our life.

All right, those are the three verses. That’s the blessing, He wants to bless us. Now verses 4-5, here’s the essence of living in the Word, this is the famous Jewish confession of faith. Every Jewish person should know the Shema, it comes from the word Sh’ma which means “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.” And that’s been a bone of contention between Judaism and Christianity for years. I refer you to John Metzger’s book, The Tri-Unity of God is Jewish, in which he points out that the word echad, which is used for “one” here is used other places in Scripture for a unity of a group.

Like, for example, the spies to in the land and they bring back a cluster of grapes, and it’s echad, and obviously there are many grapes but it’s one cluster. And the point here is that … it’s also used, by the way, in Genesis when God said the man and the woman shall join together and be one flesh, it’s echad, and so there’s kind of a unity, there’s room in the word echad, in other words, for later revelation that will show the Trinity. But during the Middle Ages, because Jews were evangelized and also persecuted, unfortunately and tragically, by people in the name of Christ, they hardened up against the Trinity, they said look, we’re going to undo Christian theology.

One of the most brilliant Jewish theologians in all of history was Maimonides, he lived at the height of the Middle Ages, and there’s his dates in the handout, 1135–1204. Maimonides, when he wrote the articles of confession, when he wrote and he quoted this text, he replaced the word echad with another word, yachid and yachid is the word absolute one, because he wanted to leave no room for any Christian doctrine of Tri-Unity, so he changed that word.

The point here is that it’s easy to just see this, verse 4, as: “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD alone.” There’s an issue whether it’s speaking about monotheism or monolatry. Monolatry means you worship one god; there may be others. But obviously from a Jewish standpoint they’re worshipping Yahweh because there is none other. And that’s confessed elsewhere in Deuteronomy. So monotheism is protected, but I think the emphasis in this particular passage is I don’t want any idols, God said. You worship and you worship Me only, so it’s monolatry.

The second part here is, and this is the one that Jesus quotes. Jesus quotes it several times in the Bible because when He argues with the Pharisees and so on. In Matthew 22:37 He cites this, and Luke 10:27 also. Let’s look at this. “You shall love the LORD your God,” remember what we know about love, love is declared loyalty, it means to salute, say “yes Sir,” you’re under His authority. “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God,” Lord alone, “you will love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” The word “heart” emphasizes the internals, and this is talking about this inner attitude. That’s why chapters 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 are going to be mostly the inner thought life.

Then life or nephesh, remember the word “nephesh” first shows up in the Garden of Eden when God makes man. Remember how He made man? He gets down in the dirt, forms the body, the material part of man, and then whoooo, He blows into the nostrils and man becomes nephesh. So in the Hebrew mind nephesh isn’t like the Greeks; the Greeks of soul and some sort of immaterial thing. Not the Jewish people; not the Bible. They see nephesh as both material and immaterial combined. It’s the full substance of the person. And of course, in this case the emphasis is the observable, so that’s the activities of life that you do.

Then the last one, “with all your strength,” with all your might, and I think that’s added in there because if he just said “with all your heart, with all you soul,” we could kind of walk away and not get any kind of sense of effort. But the fact that he’s loaded this sentence with this next one, “with all your strength,” implies it takes strength. Obviously it implies that this does not come easy; it implies that it takes a focus, a mental focus, it takes prayerful pondering, it takes interchange with other believers who honor the text of the Word of God. What do you think this really means? How do you see this? And it requires a dedicated thing and it can’t happen in a rushed way. Our lives today are very rushed, we want everything to sound right, or a text message. This doesn’t come this way. So that’s why that’s in there, “with all your strength.” All right, that’s another block.

So verses 4 and 5 give you the essence of living in the Word. Living in the Word is not legalism, it is understood to be the outworking of a love for God in every area, and a love that requires some effort on our parts to see what we’re supposed to be doing and understand His promises to us, understand Lord; you know, I know what You’re going to do but will You give me some promises for logistics here, what am I going to use to accomplish this task. That’s legitimate.

Now we come to the third and the last section for tonight, which is the practice of living in the Word. Now this is an eye-opener, because in this, this is a nutshell example of the educational process. This is how they got to the goal. So let’s look at verses 6, 7, 8 and 9. “These words which I command you today, let them be in your heart.” Okay, Moses, but how do I get them in my heart would be the obvious question here. So that’s why the next verse is going to tell us how to get the Word of God in our heart.

[7] “You will teach them diligently to your children; you will talk of them when you sit in your house when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. [8] You’ll bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes [9] You will write them on the doorpost of your house and on your gates.” So let’s go through and kind of unpack these verses.

Notice in verse 6 “the words which I command you today.” So now he’s talking about the Bible, now he’s talking about the prophetic writings because it’s I, it’s not God speaking on Sinai any more, it’s the text of the Scriptures. I’m commanding you “these words,” and it’s “these words,” the words that we have in the book of Deuteronomy immediately, “let them be in your heart.” And so therefore the focus isn’t on the activities yet, the focus is on what goes on in the depths of our heart. See how Scripture keeps coming back to that; see how Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, it was nothing new, He was just articulating what we are looking at. The Pharisees had externalized it but Jesus was just going back to Deuteronomy, and that’s why He quoted it. Verse 5 is quoted twice in the Gospels. When the Pharisees came to Him and they wanted to know, how do you summarize the Bible, this is the verse Jesus used. This is the summary, Jesus said, and you can see why He did it because a Pharisee wouldn’t normally think of what goes on in the heart. So Jesus deliberately goes back to this text and says this is what you guys need to understand.

All right, verse 6, “These words … let them be in your heart." Now he gives the method that He expected families to use. [7] “You will teach them diligently to your children.” Now I want to stop at the word “teach them diligently.” In your outline, or in the handout, I think I did this; maybe I left it out but let me explain something. There’s no adverb in the Hebrew. The adverb “diligently” is being provided by the translator. It’s legitimate, and here’s why.

The Hebrew verb system has different stems and there’s one stem, which is the normal every day stem which is the qal stem, I walk. And then there is the piel stem, which is an intensive stem, and they change the pronunciation a little bit to stress it: I RUN! That’s an intense version of I walk, and they would do it with the same verb stem so the verb stem doesn’t change but the formulation of the verb does.

So in this case the basic verb would have been shaman and it was used, if you look in a concordance, shaman is always used sharpening a sword. What do you suppose, if that’s the qal stem, to sharpen a sword, and you piel a stem, you make it more intense, what’s that about? What it came to mean was that you sharpen it and you stick it in something.

The idea here is that you will teach them, meaning the Word of God is a sharp two-edged sword, well, you take the sword and you pierce it into the heart of your children. It’s a very aggressive kind of thing here and it’s the idea of penetration, because he wants to get it in the heart. “You will teach them to your children,” and this is how, and then he explains how you do it. “… you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” First of all, look at the four clauses here. Can you see two pairs? Look at that verse again; you see the first one? “You shall talk of them when you sit in your house,” what’s the next one? “you walk,” so what’s the difference between sitting in your house and walking by the way? That means in you house, in your assembly and everywhere else you go. So it’s spatial, those word pairs look at spatial things, location: in the house; next location, out of the house, everywhere you go.

Now look at the next pair, “when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Now that’s time. That’s not location, that’s a contrast in time: when you rise up and when you lie down. So he’s talking about all the time and every location. Well, we say what does he mean by… what, are you going to talk Bible verses day and night. That’s not really the nuance here. If you look at the Hebrew what it’s talking about is talk with them, it’s a prepositional construction, the Beth construction, it means talking with them or talk by means of them, which I interpret to mean look at life from the standpoint of God; take a divine viewpoint of things so that when you rise up or when you’re discussing something in the house it doesn’t have to be the Bible per se, it could be anything. But whatever it is that you’re talking about in the house, it ought to be interpreted or in the framework of the way the Scripture tells us to think.

One of the great stories in American political history is Ambassador Kennedy in the Kennedy family, a fascinating family, if you study that family you know John Kennedy was the President, his brother, Robert was the Attorney General, he was assassinated, his brother was assassinated, you had Teddy Kennedy and you have the other Kennedy boy that was killed in World War II. Now you’ve got four boys here, all four of them gravitated to politics, but you know what the old man did? You go back and you study that family and he had a little deal he worked out so when those boys came to supper, those were the days when the family ate supper together, when you had supper together all the boys would sit down and they couldn’t sit at the table until they read the newspaper for the day. And he would, two or three times a week he’d have family supper and he would expect every one of those boys to be able to discuss the contemporary issue of the time, be informed, and have a dialogue at the table while they were eating. And so he groomed them to think this way, and this is the way the old man impressed upon them.

The old man was such a leader in that family that he caught the President, John Kennedy, one time when he was in the White House, he was going traveling all over the place and he had two little kids, 5 and 7 or something like that, and the old man got on the telephone to his son, President of the United States and chewed him out. He said you’re a dad to those two kids and I expect to see you be a father to them; he was talking to the President of the United States. Because even little John Kennedy was the President of the United States he was still his son.

I thought that was an interesting example of the dynamic of that Kennedy that had been very impressive in history. We disagree with them maybe philosophically in certain areas but all I’m doing tonight is to show you how there was a patriarchal power to that family. That man left his impression on his sons and his grandsons, a powerful impression, and he did it because he exercised leadership in that home.

Here, when Moses is talking about it, “you will teach them diligently,” talk in terms of them, in other words, when you sit down and you have a discussion, get the kids to think through what you’re doing. If they have a science project and they come back and you want to see what they’ve done. You know, they’re examining some tadpole or something, and every one of those animals, every one of those creatures has a design to it.

Now what they’re being taught out here in the public school system is don’t mention design because we might possibly think of the Designer, so we can’t have that, the ACLU would sue us for that. So the discussion in the school system becomes philosophic and trivial. What secularism does to education is it trivializes it because you can’t deal with anything substantive; if you get down there you’re going to deal with dangerous stuff. But what you can do in the home is you use that as a game; you use that because it’s curiosity.

You know, God has hidden these neat things in the creation and He wants us to go find… it’s like a big game of hide and seek. And so you stimulate that, you don’t kill it, you stimulate curiosity. And then what that issues in is worship. You can say that worship, I can sit there and look at a tadpole or a frog and look at the design, watch how the frog or the toad can sit on a pond lily and a fly comes buy, his lunch come flying by, and you think about what happens to his tongue.

First of all, his eyes see this thing coming, he can discriminate between a predator and his lunch, and obviously he has some design filter built in to his optics so that he can target ID, not only does he ID the target but he can measure the speed of the target and estimate how fast his tongue has to get out in order to intercept when the target goes by.

Now if you know anything about math, you know that there are all kinds of equations that are going on here. This is no easy thing to do, and so the idea here is that there’s a neat sermon, there is a neat truth through which we can worship God. You don’t have to be in church, you don’t have to have music, that itself is an act of worship.

See, that’s what Moses is talking about, talk in terms of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way think about what you’re looking at. Jesus used these illustrations in the Sermon on the Mount. Remember, what did He say about clothing? He said you’re not clothed like one of these lilies. Solomon in all of his array wasn’t arrayed like this. And so when you see a flower look at the design.

[?] is back there, she raises flowers all the time, ask her about the design, the complexity of why flowers can sit there and they go phototropically for light. How does a flower know how to do that? How does a flower get a light sensor that figures out where the maximum light is, which means the flower sensor has to scan and it can’t just point in one place because he’s got to maximize where the light signal is, so he’s got to scan like a radar until he says okay, this is low level, low level, higher, higher, higher, higher, lower, lower, lower, and he finds okay, there’s the sun. How does a flower know how to do that? How does the flower have all of the communication to move the stem, to move the light sensor and then to stabilize at that point, and as the sun goes it tracks.

See, people don’t think about this, they just go blindly on, never think about this. For heaven’s sakes, here’s the design of God right in your face and we don’t think about worship, that this is our Father’s world, the neat thing that He’s done. You know, what other kind of neat stuff has He got out there for us.

That’s the spirit of adventure and that’s what Moses is trying to stimulate. “When you lie down and when you rise up again,” rising up in the morning, thinking about… there’s hymns that we have in the hymn book about that, “morning guilds the skies.” So this all has to do with living in the Word.

Then it says, “You will bind them as a sign …” And look at the sign where, look at the location of the sign, it says, “You will bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” Now, there are two parts of the body here, hands and eyes. Now later Judaism got these so literal that they had little phylacteries worn literally on their … the Orthodox Jew had a little box of Scripture right here on his forehead and another one on his hand. But the interpretation of this, if you hold the place, go to Exodus 13, again, it just helps to look at context sometimes.

If you go to Exodus 13 you’ll see this expression and how it’s used and what it really means. It’s used twice in Exodus 13. Verse 9 comes after he’s talking about the Feast of Unleavened Bread. So now he’s talking about a feast, a ceremony, a holiday, and verse 8, “You will tell your son in that day,” see here’s the education at work now, “You will tell your son” when you’re on the holiday and we’re doing these funny things, the kid is going to ask why, “This is done because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.” Now this is the second generation, they didn’t come out of Egypt and Jews today don’t come out of Egypt. But you see, it’s the historical identity, that as a Jew they are identified with that generation that did come out from Egypt.

Then it says, [9] “It,” it referring in context to the whole holiday, “It shall be as a sign to you on your hand as a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD’s law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt.” So see, that’s not talking about a literal thing in your hand or a literal thing on your head, that’s talking about something else. And you can kind of grasp that from that, he’s asking something about your eyes and your hands.

Now how do we distinguish eyes and hands? Eyes are those with which we view life; hands is what we do. So you could summarize this, what God wants, He says I want you to saturate your soul so that when you look at things (your eyes) you have a divine viewpoint perspective of what it is you’re looking at. And when you take your hand to do something, some activity, I want you to have My perspective of that work, of that labor.

Now He does the same thing, lest we mistake that, you can drop down to verse 16 because he has a whole dedication ceremony in the ensuing verses about dedicating the firstborn to the Lord, and so then in verse 13, verse 16, he says, “It shall be as a sign on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes, for by strength of the hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.” And he’s talking about a ceremony of dedication. So again it’s not something literal, the idea is that these activities that the Jewish people had were ways of reinforcing the truth of Scripture, both in how they viewed life and how they did things.

Summary to that tonight, we come to the conclusion, four things. Our personal growth toward maturity after regeneration comes through contact with His revelation and the only revelation we can come into contact with is that in the Bible, because the Bible is a sufficient subset of all original revelation.

Point 2, our response toward God’s gracious initiative toward us while we were fleeing from Him is measured by how seriously we take His Word. Remember, He says hear; now every parent does this, “Do you hear me?” Now you know we’re not doing a test of their hearing when we use that term; we’re saying “do you hear me” because are you paying attention to what I’m saying. And that’s shema, see, that’s the point of the whole Scriptures, “Hear, O Israel.”

Then Point 3, the only lasting and real success in life comes from our works of obedience done in faith. That is the “blessing”; and that blessing cannot be removed by kings, by armies, by catastrophes, or anything. That will go into eternity with you and with me, that’s whatever we have done in obedience to Scripture by faith. That’s an asset that the government can’t inflate away. That is something that no bank collapse can take away. Nobody can touch it; it’s the one thing that we have that we can carry into eternity.

Point 4, finally, to be able to live in the Word I must have it so deeply embedded in my heart that it dominates my interpretation of everyday situations and controls my decision making in what I’m doing. That’s hard, and that’s why the Lord added that third thing, you will love Me with your heart, you will love Me with your nephesh, but you’ll love Me with your strength.