Obeying the Commands
Admonish each other in word AND deed!
JESUS IS GOD, PART OF THE TRINITY AND WORTHY OF OUR OBEDIENCE
“Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.” How many of us know this song? Do our children know this song? Do our children's children know the song?
“The Bible tells me so” but how many of us believe the Bible? Does the Bible have meaning and relevance for us today? Furthermore, does the Bible carry within it the divine inspiration of God? Does it have the authority within it for us to base our moral and ethical lives according to what it says? In other words is it the Standard by which every man, woman, and child should live by? Does the Bible carry within it God’s commands? And should we obey it?
The Israelites believed the Hebrew Scriptures were to be obeyed and passed on to their children and their children’s children!
At least four times in Deuteronomy 6 God directs Moses and the Israelites to obey his commands. Furthermore, they were to admonish, exhort, impress, these instructions upon each other in word AND deed!
Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (NLT)
“These are the commands, decrees, and regulations that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you. You must obey them in the land you are about to enter and occupy, 2 and you and your children and grandchildren must fear the LORD your God as long as you live. If you obey all his decrees and commands, you will enjoy a long life. 3 Listen closely, Israel, and be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you, and you will have many children in the land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
4 “Listen, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.* 5 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:20-24 (NLT)
20 “In the future your children will ask you, ‘What is the meaning of these laws, decrees, and regulations that the LORD our God has commanded us to obey?’
21 “Then you must tell them, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with his strong hand. 22 The LORD did miraculous signs and wonders before our eyes, dealing terrifying blows against Egypt and Pharaoh and all his people. 23 He brought us out of Egypt so he could give us this land he had sworn to give our ancestors. 24 And the LORD our God commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear him so he can continue to bless us and preserve our lives, as he has done to this day.
It says in 1 Peter 3:15 to always be ready to give an answer for the hope we have. Thus it is not if your children should ask but when they ask! “Why should God be obeyed?” And your answer to your child should not be because God said so but give them a reason why they should believe.
Many Jews believe in a monotheistic God. What is said by Moses in Deuteronomy 6:4 is their statement of faith which is “God, the Lord is one.” But to say that all of them believe in a monotheistic God in the singular sense I would be wrong because there are many Messianic Jews. Some would disagree that they are authentic because they would say you can not claim to be a Jew and believe in a Trinitarian God. I will let them battle that one out; however, I will say that I stand with the Messianic Jews because of one word in the Shema. You see the Shema is the Jewish confession of faith and the literal meaning of the word is hear.
Are you listening?
The Hebrew word is אֱלֹהִים [’elohiym el•o•heem] and is plural for “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” The plural sense of God is why Messianic Jews believe in the Trinity. One way to explain this is: vapor, ice, and liquid = H2O thus we have the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The NT doctrine of the Trinity supports the fact that God is one even as he manifests himself in three persons (Mk. 12:29; John. 10:30; Romans 8:9-11)
Mark 12:29 (NLT)
29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD.
God is Father because Jesus is the Son of God and thus as Jesus has spoken
John 10:30 (NLT)
30 The Father and I are one.”
Romans 8:9-11 (NLT)
9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life* because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
Therefore, since Jesus is God he is worthy of our central focus! He is worthy to be loved and feared both at the same time. We love him because he first loved us and demonstrated his love for us (Rom. 5:6-8). We do not fear God as we might an oppressor for God is love and certainly not an oppressor. As in the life of the Israelites God delivered them from oppression in Egypt, God has delivered us from the oppression that sin had on us before we repented of our sins, were baptized, and filled with the Holy Spirit the third aspect of God which we call the Trinity.
LISTEN TO WHAT I SAY AND DO WHAT I DO—FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST
1 Corinthians 11:1
Just previous to Deuteronomy 6 Moses has given the Israelites whom are also known as the Jews, the Ten Commandments thus telling them how to live both morally and ethically. For example: morally in their relationships with one another and ethically in their relationship with the One True God. The more I study the life of Christ the more Jewish he becomes. For example Jesus cites Deut. 6:5, calling it “the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:38).
Go back with me to Deuteronomy 6 and see how Moses specifies the ways which the people are to respond to God’s commands.
Deuteronomy 6:6 (NLT)
6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.
Deuteronomy 6:7 (NLT)
7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.
Not everyone can be married and have children; however, there are other ways of passing on the Lord’s commands in word and deed. For example through the RE program, public school students have the opportunity to pray, read the Bible, and learn about Jesus. In the United States of America RE (religious education) has been available to churches and religious institutions since 1914.
Once each week, children in the third though sixth grades are transported by bus or walk to a local church or community center for Bible reading, prayer, and Christian instruction. The lesson time lasts from 20 to 30 minutes and includes singing, praying, Bible reading, fellowship, refreshments, and spiritual guidance. The children then return to public school to resume their regular classes.
The religious education program at Hanalei Elementary School on the Island of Kauai as well as other public schools across the United States are truly a wonderful blessing in the lives of many children that may or may not get to hear about Jesus. Some years ago I was a teacher in the program. Hanalei Elementary School is located right next to the Waioli Huiia Church. Every Wednesday at 2p.m. an hour before school let out the children had the option of coming to the church and hear about Jesus. What a blessing to have this privilege!
This is what one wise parent said about RE. “All three of our children have benefited from participating in the RE program. From my perspective, it has been great that our children have had something available to them at school to reinforce the godly principles we have endeavored to teach them at home.”
The following brief essays were written by RE students on the topic, “What RE Means to Me.”
“To tell you the truth, I don’t think I had been to a church over 10 times but I wanted to go to church. The last time I went to church before I joined RE was when I was seven years old. That’s the last time I remember going to church. But now I can go to church every Wednesday and my mom and dad might go Sunday.”—Brady
“RE means so much to me that I sleep with my Bible beside me and if I lose it I look everywhere till I find it. And I read it when I get up, when I get home from school, and when I am going to bed. RE is the best place I have ever been because it gave me the courage to be good to my brother, my sisters, even my mom and dad. The reason I’m so happy is because I used to always fight.”—Joseph
One teacher explained,
“Jacob was in the fifth grade when he attended RE. For memorizing the Ten Commandments the children were given a yard sign displaying the Ten Commandments. Jacob was explaining why his parents had thrown his sign away when he broke down in tears.” This teacher, after comforting him explained, “Jacob, it is not nearly as important that you have the Ten Commandments posted in your yard as it is that you have them written on your heart. No one can take that away.”
Therefore, parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and all followers of Christ we have a job to do. Tell the story of our redemption just as the early Jews spoke about their redemption out of Egypt. We must tell AND show our children and children’s children the miraculous acts of God. We must show AND tell them what Jesus has done Romans 5:6-8. Often the greatest sermon has been shown; rather, than spoken. Parents do not just send your children to church come with them!
1 Corinthians 11:1
EXPLAINING THE VALUE OF OBEYING GOD’S COMMANDS
What benefit is there for obeying the decrees and commands of the Lord? For these people way back then it was to have shalom which can best be described as peace. This meant that they would live a long good life; therefore, having the privilege of seeing their children’s children. Obedience meant the blessing of “milk and honey” in their lives (Deuteronomy 6:3). Why would any of us want to love God with all our mind, heart, soul, and strength and for that matter obey him? Our “milk and honey” is eternal life and the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is why we obey the Lord’s decrees and commands. Now let’s go forth showing AND telling our children, and grandchildren about the wondrous love of the Son of God!