In today’s lesson from Deuteronomy, we start our with the Sh’ma or Shema:
“Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one; love him with all you heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Record in your minds all that I have told you today, and teach them continually to your children. Tell them in the house or on the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Carry them on your hand and on your forehead, write them on your doorposts and gateposts.”
The Sh’ma is one of the key verses of the Old Testament. It begins with our duty to God, and continues showing that we are to raise up our children in the same duty. If we truly love God, then other things will follow. Yeshua tells us that loving God means to obey him. When we as parents tell our kids to listen, it usually means we want them to obey what we are saying. Thus with the Sh’ma.
First we are to love God. How much do we love him? With all our heart (feelings) soul and strength. That pretty much covers everything. God is to come first, nothing else comes before him. How do we show this love, by obeying, in this instance, by teaching our children the marvels God has done for us. We begin of course with the Bible, but if we truly want our children to catch faith from us, we need to tell them what God has done for us as a people, and what he has done for us as individuals. I let my kids know. I was healed of alcoholism, and several other problems. I was at National Institutes of Health for major surgery, and when the doctor did my pre-op exam, he could find nothing wrong with me. The house I am in is a blessing from God, in that we were able to get it, the lack of damage from the hurricane, and having a good spot for a chapel. Even Friday, I dropped a bottle of vitamins that I am taking and couldn’t reach it because it had fallen under the car. A gentle wind blew them almost right into my hand. I was very thankful, and I shared it with the kids at dinner. We are to share our faith with our children, the kerygma. “Jesus came to Earth to save sinners. As fortold by the prophets, he preached to the people, he healed the sick and other miracles, was crucified, died buried, and rose again. AndI know this to be true because he has worked great miracles in my life.
We ourselves keep scrolls on our doors. The ones in Hebrew have the Sh’ma much as I have quoted it above. The ones in English have the Sh’ma and the 10 Commandments. They are to there to remind us when we go out and when we come in, that we are to obey God, and that God has given us specific guidelines in this obedience.
Many of the commands, like this in the Tanach are in order to remember, or to teach our children. If it was not important, it would not be in the Bible. God wants us to share what he has done for us. This was what the first apostles literally did, they told people how God had changed their lives and changed them. We are to do the same.
As we approach kingdomtide, let us remember that today, we are to proclaim the kingdom.
Shalom b’Yeshua haMoshiach,
+Mar Michael Abportus, OSL