By Rony Kozman, Ph.D.
Assistant professor of Biblical Studies, Samford University
Communicate God’s Word
Obedience to God’s word benefits us and others. (1–3)
In the Book of Deuteronomy, Israel is poised to enter the promised land. The previous generation, whom God rescued out of Egypt, refused to believe He would give them the land He had promised.
Because of their disbelief and rebellion, God sentenced that generation to wander in the wilderness 40 years.
Once that generation died, the next generation would enter the land of Canaan. Moses would also not enter the land.
This failure to enter the land, and Israel’s wandering in the wilderness is evidence of the curses of the covenant.
The people violated the covenant God made with them at Sinai. And the curses that accompany infidelity to the covenant include, among other things, exile from the promised land and death.
Now the next generation is poised to enter the land, and Moses gives 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 land, they need to ensure they and their children obey the law so they may live long in the land and prosper within it.
Like Moses, Jesus instructs us to be obedient. Those who follow Jesus and obey His words are like the “wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matt. 7:24). They will be vindicated in the final judgment because Jesus says those who bear fruit will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 7:15–23). We will also experience a flourishing or blessed life in the present age, though not by this world’s standards (Matt. 5:3–12).
Love for God compels us to trust and obey Him. (4–5)
Moses reminds the people of their need to be wholly and exclusively devoted to God.
Israel is to worship God alone and not the gods of other nations. We also are to 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 exhort the current generation to keep God’s word, he also exhorts them to pass God’s commandments on to their children.
We are to keep God’s words and instructions continually before us. Wherever we go, we are to remember God’s words. They are to be in our hearts.
Our heart, or mind, is the root of our fidelity to God. We must set our mind upon God’s word and ensure the words He commands are continually, as Moses says, “in your heart.”
We must then take God’s words 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 beware that we do not shirk our responsibility to instruct our children and the next generation. Parents should create a culture in their homes and families in which they repeatedly recite and discuss Scripture.
The vision in this passage is a family that weaves Scripture throughout their daily lives whether at home or while traveling.
The rhythm of our day should be framed and immersed with meditation on God’s words.
As pictured in verse 9, even the physical spaces of the home have God’s word inscribed upon them.
The picture Moses gives us is one in which God’s word fills our hearts, family discussions, days, travels, bodies and houses. Our lives are to be wholly filled with God’s word so we will be faithful to Him.