“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”—Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (ESV)
These few verses are known as the Shema. Shema is the first word of the verses in Hebrew. It translates to hear, although an even more accurate translation and understanding would be hear and do, because for the Israelites, to hear was to obey. If you didn’t obey, you clearly didn’t hear. The Shema is a prayer, a creed, a command. This is how the people of Israel were to live. The Shema isn’t simply instruction for parents, but for all of Israel. They were to live the commands in all they did. They were to pass them on. They were to talk about them inside the home and outside the home. They were to write the commands on their arms, doorposts, and gates. Clearly, they were meant to not forget who they were and what God expected of them.
Today, I think we need the same thing in all Christian homes. We forget who we are as the children of the Living God. We forget His commands. We forget His ways. We want to compartmentalize our spiritual lives as something personal that stays in our heads or hearts. But that isn’t the way this life in Jesus is meant to be lived. We’re meant to love the LORD with all that we are. We’re meant to talk about His commands inside our homes and outside of them. We’re meant to write His commands on our arms, gates, and doorposts.
We need to hear and obey. We need to forsake our own way and follow Jesus. We need to dig deep into what God is telling us, and we need to talk about it. We need to share it. We need to teach it to our children. We need to talk about it in all our comings and goings. We need to write it on the doorposts.
Writing something on the doorposts of your house serves two functions. It reminds those inside the home as they go out into this world. And it tells those coming in from the world what is central in this home. It is an unashamed banner that says, “This is what we believe and know to be true.”
That is what this column is all about. Sharing the Way. Talking about the Way. Teaching our children the Way. Writing the commands of God on the doorposts. Making a banner over our lives that proclaims, “Jesus is Lord, and we hear and obey His commands.”