Deu_6:1-2. Now these are the commandments, the statues, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.
Obedience to God should arise from the fear of him, or from a holy awe of God felt in the heart, for all true religion must be heart work. It is not the bare action alone at which God looks, but at the motive — at the spirit which dictates it. Hence it is always put, “That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments.” Neither are we to be content with keeping commands ourselves. It is the duty of parents to seek the good of their children — to seek that the son and the son’s son should walk in the ways of God all their lives. May God grant us never to be partakers of the spirit of those who think that they have no need to look after the religion of their children — who seem as if they left it to a blind fate. May we care for them with this care that our son and our son’s son should walk before the Lord all the days of their life.
Deu_6:3. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may will be with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.
It seems, according to the old covenant, that temporal prosperity was appended as a blessing to the keeping of God’s commandments. It has been sometimes said that while prosperity was the blessing of the old covenant, adversity is the blessing of the new, and there is some truth in that statement, for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and yet is it true that the best thing for a meal is that he should walk in the commands of God. There is a sense in which we do make the best of both worlds when we seek the love of God. When we seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, other things are added be us; so that it is not without meaning to us that the Lord here promises temporal blessings to his people.
Deu_6:4. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
This is the great doctrine that we learn, both from the Old and the New Testament there is one Lord. And this great truth has been burnt into the Jews by their long chastisement, and, whatever other mistakes they make, you never find them making a mistake about this. The Lord thy God is one Lord. May we be kept always from all idolatry — from all worship of anything else, except the living God. The sacred unity of the Divine Trinity may we hold fast evermore.
Deu_6:5. And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
It is not a little love that God deserves, nor is it a little love that he will accept. He blesses us with all his heart and all his might, and after that fashion are we to love him.
Deu_6:6-7. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
The Word of God if not for some particular place called a church or a meeting house. It is for all places, all times, and all occupations. I wish that we had more of this talking over of God’s Word when we sit by the way, or when we walk.
Deu_6:8. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
With thee in all thine actions — with thee in all thy thoughts —conspicuously with thee — not out of ostentation, but through thine obedience to become apparent unto all men.
Deu_6:9-12And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,
And the houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged which though diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantest not when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Pride in the peculiar sin of prosperity, and pride stands side by side with forgetfulness of God. Instead of remembering whence our mercies came, we begin to thank ourselves for these blessings, and God is forgotten. I remember one of whom it was said that he was a selfmade man, and he adored his Creator, and I may say that there are a great many persons who do just that. They believe that they have made themselves, and so they worship themselves. Be it ours to remember that it is God who giveth us strength to get wealth or to get position, and, therefore, unto him be all the honour of it, and never let him be forgotten.
Deu_6:13-15. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you: (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you)
He will have the heart all to himself. Two Gods he cannot endure. Of false gods, there may be many: of the true God there can be but one, and he is a jealous God.
Deu_6:15-19. Lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah. Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the LORD hath spoken.
Now, this covenant of works they break, as we also have long ago broken ours. Blessed be God, our salvation now hangs on another covenant which cannot fail nor break down — the covenant of grace. Yet, still, now that we become the Lord’s children, we are put under the discipline of the Lord’s house, and these words might not unfitly set forth what is the discipline of the Lord’s house towards his own children, namely, that he does bless us when we walk in his ways, and that he will walk contrary to us if we walk contrary to him. He keeps a rod in his house, and in love he uses that upon his best beloved ones. “You only have I known of all the nations of the earth; therefore, I will punish you for your iniquities.” He will not kill his children, nor treat them as a judge treats a criminal, for they are not under the law, but under grace; but he will chasten them and treat them as a father chasteneth his child — out of love. Oh! that we might have grace to walk before him with a holy, childlike fear, that so we may walk always in the light of his countenance.
Deu_6:20-23. And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statues, and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded you? then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: And the LORD shewed signs and wonders great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes: and he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.
And cannot we tell our children what God has done for us — how he brought us out of our spiritual captivity, and how in his almighty love, he has brought us into his Church and will surely bring us into the glory above? May God grant us grace to speak about these things without diffidence, With great confidence to tell our children of what he has done.