July 19 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 23-25; Acts 21:18-40
On Our Hearts
These commandments . . . are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children.
READ DEUTERONOMY 6:1–9
After a young boy faced some challenges in school, his dad began to teach him a pledge to recite each morning before school: “I thank God for waking me up today. I am going to school so I can learn . . . and be the leader that God has created me to be.” The pledge is one way the father hopes to help his son apply himself and deal with life’s inevitable challenges.
In a way, by helping his son to commit this pledge to memory, the father is doing something similar to what God commanded the Israelites in the desert: “These commandments . . . are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
After wandering in the wilderness for forty years, the next generation of Israelites was about to enter the Promised Land. God knew it wouldn’t be easy for them to succeed—unless they kept their focus on Him. And so, through Moses, He urged them to remember and be obedient to Him—and to help their children to know and love God by talking about His Word “when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (v. 7).
Each new day, we too can commit to allowing Scripture to guide our hearts and minds as we live in gratitude to Him.
By Alyson Kieda
REFLECT & PRAY
Dear God, thank You for giving me each new day. Help me to keep Your wisdom in my heart and on my mind.
What can you do to keep Scripture on your heart? Why is it important to read and talk about the Word with loved ones?
Deuteronomy 6:4-9, known as the Shema, from Hebrew šāmaʽ for “hear” (v. 4), is the basic Jewish confession of faith recited by every devout Jew twice daily to remind them of the first and second commandments (Exodus 20:2-6). After giving the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:1-21), Moses gave God’s people the one-heart principle that undergirds the entire Law: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (6:5). God demands exclusive, wholehearted, and undivided allegiance and devotion. Jesus affirms that loving God with our whole being is “the most important [commandment]” (Mark 12:29-30), calling it “the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:36-38). Orthodox Jews carried out the commands of Deuteronomy 6:8-9 literally, placing portions of the Torah (such as the Shema or the Decalogue) in small boxes (mezuzahs) attached to the doorframes of houses, or in phylacteries tied to their arms or foreheads (Exodus 13:9, 16; Deuteronomy 11:18-20). K. T. Sim