4 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. 7 Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Preserve Your Spiritual Heritage
The writer of Deuteronomy didn’t have an iPhone. He wasn’t trying to achieve “inbox zero” at the end of every work day. But he knew then what we all know now: we must make a conscientious effort to keep the main thing the main thing.
Most Christians I know would proudly tout the importance of Scripture. But often it’s lip service—because their daily choices haven’t given them time to read the Scripture, let alone reflect on it or repeat it to others.
Moses knew the declaration in verses 4 and 5, known as the Shema, was critical to the Israelites’ staying connected to God and remembering what He had done for them. It was a declaration that was intended to invade every part of their lives. “Repeat it…talk about it…bind it on your hearts…put it around your house…”
Some things are so important that cursory readings and fleeting thoughts aren’t enough. Knowing that God is one and that we must love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength is one of those things.
This fundamental teaching was repeated and talked about and written about among the Israelites for centuries. But the greatest repeating happened when Jesus spoke about it in the Gospels, in Mark 12:29-30, Matthew 22:37, and Luke 10:27.
We too need to record our life-changing insights from Scripture in such a way that they can be shared with others who might benefit from them. Can you imagine some little brother and sister, two generations removed from the Moses, discovering the Shema on the doorpost of their home? They ask their parents what this means, and a proud mother says to them, “Sit, and let me tell you about it...”
When we choose to journal what God is teaching us, it does a couple things:
- It forces us to try to grasp what we’re reading.
- It allows us and perhaps others in our family to read our commentary on Scripture, providing a glimpse of how God influenced us through His word.
My kids are of an age where they’re not quite ready for everything I’m reading in Scripture. One of the two journals I keep is intended for my children when they are grown. I record in it things about God, the Bible, and life that I believe need their attention. When they’re my age, they’ll have a written record of the verses that changed the course of my life, and perhaps this will influence their lives as well.
- Consider which Bible passages are most influential in your life.
- Read them again and then write how God has impacted you through them.
- Keep your writings to preserve a spiritual heritage. If you don’t use a journal, place your thoughts in your personal Bible as a keepsake.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.