GOOD MORNING SIBLINGS!
Today’s readings are Deuteronomy 5-7
Today Moses reviews what have come to be known as the Ten Commandments. It’s very important to remain aware of who these commandments are from. They are YHWH’s commandments, Moses was just the messenger. I want to reiterate this because we often hear them erroneously referred to as the “law of Moses” in our time. *While this is Biblically correct, it is often used today as a very subtle way of conditioning us to dismiss YHWH’s teachings. I know that sounds outlandish but think of how far we’ve drifted away in just the past fifty years and you’ll see this is not a new direction for us and we got here by taking baby steps. One by one. Bit by bit. We’ve gone from “God is right and we will obey Him” to “Just follow your heart”. I saw a wonderful quote the other day that said “The early church wanted to know “What must I do to be saved?”. Today’s church is asking “What can I do and still be saved?”.
So just remember, next time you hear about the law of Moses, that Moses was just the messenger. These aren’t his laws. When people denigrate them in this way we need to realize who they are really attempting to diminish. Also know that, people have been taught to do this. A lot of times, they don’t realize what they are saying. *I speak more on this once we get towards the end of Jeremiah.
It is interesting to recognize that the first four of the commandments have to do with our relationship with God and the remaining six have to do with our relationship with one another.
If you look at the Ten Commandments and the rest of the 613 (estimated) of YHWH’s commandments in the Bible, you’ll see that the ten act as an outline of sorts, with each of the 613 falling under one of the ten. Seem like a lot? Well many of these apply only to the Levitical priests, many still only to farmers, some apply only to women, etc.
Comparatively, we are not even able to count how many laws the United States has. We know that there are over 20,000 laws governing just gun ownership and use. Forty years ago, it was estimated that there were over 23,000 pages of laws which filled over 50 books. Now that was forty years ago! From 2000-2010 alone over 4000 new laws were made.
The fact that we can’t even know what all of the laws are or how many there are in our country is far more overwhelming than the thought of 613, the majority of which don’t even apply to us and all of which can be summarized in the ten commandments.
Following YHWH is far easier than we think.
But then again, Messiah did say His burden was light and His yoke was easy!
Let’s Read Deuteronomy 6:4-6
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
This passage is famously known as “The Shema” because that is what it starts with in Hebrew.
“Shema, Israel…” which is translated to “Hear Israel”
But “Shema” means more than just hear, it means to hear and do.
Shema requires an action.
Why else is this famous? Well we see YHWH instruct the Israelites to teach it to their children, write it on their doorposts, etc. This is clearly something of vital importance that they remember. Let’s read that part.
6 “Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, 2 that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 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. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deut 6:4-9
But wait! There’s more!
When people asked Messiah what is the greatest commandment in Mark 12:28-29, he answers them by quoting Deuteronomy 6:4, the Shema.
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ Mark 12:28-29
Clearly, there is deep meaning and importance in this and therefore I think it is important that we memorize it (YHWH said to), write it on our hearts, teach it to our children, etc.
However, all of this ties together in a very big way because many times, when people don’t understand the context of what is being said or the placement of when it was said, they say that Messiah replaced the ten commandments with just “love YHWH, love your neighbor.” I wrote a paper explaining this and if you haven’t read it, I think doing so will bring a great deal of understanding. If you have read it, today is a great day for a refresher. Either way, if you’ve got the inclination, click here to read Did Messiah Replace The Ten Commandments With Just Two?
Below is a video expanding on the Shema a bit along with a story about some of the more recent history of the Shema. I think you’ll find it impactful.
Now let us get into some other quote points in today’s reading:
Deut 5:4 When Moses says that the Father spoke to them face to face, he is reminding them that they received this knowledge directly from the Father, not through a vision or prophecy, but they firsthand saw this knowledge being delivered, heard His voice, saw the cloud and the fire directly for themselves. It could possibly be easier to dismiss or cast aside this knowledge if it were second hand but Moses is reminding them that they have received this firsthand from YHWH Himself and if they cast it aside they need to face Who they are choosing to disregard.
Deut 5:5 shows us Moses reminding them that he served as an intermediary between them and the Father, due to their own fear of Him. Again, this is him acting as an intermediary, relaying the messages, but the messages were from the Father directly. The Father has had two intermediaries with man. The first was Moses and the second was Messiah.
Deut 5:6-21 is Moses reiterating the Ten Commandments. They were originally stated in Exodus 20:1-14. There are a few differences in how they are stated this go around. One of note to me was that in the original Hebrew in Exodus 20:24 the word to remember the Sabbath is zakar which actually means “to remember” in Hebrew. In Deuteronomy 5:12 some translations say to “observe” the Sabbath and the Hebrew word for this is shamar, which means “to keep or preserve”. A good rabbit trail would be to check out the interlinear comparing Exodus 20:1-4 and Deut 5:6-21 to see what other differences you find. They are subtle and in no way undermine or lessen the commandments, but they may lend an additional fullness of understanding.
Deut 6:7 the Hebrew for “diligently” in the sentence “You shall teach them diligently to your children” also translates to “repeatedly”.
Deut 6:9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Many fulfill this commandment by placing what is known as a Mezuzah on the front of their front door frame. In it is a scroll that contains part of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). When Ricky and I read this we prayed about how to implement this in our lives. We ended up actually writing them on the main doorframe in our house, the one we all pass through multiple times during the day. We used a metallic gold sharpie. Not fancy but it worked. This has been a great blessing to us – not to mention conversation piece for our guests!
We have written the ten commandments and some of our other favorite verses. We have found that we dearly love doing this so as we come across more verses we want to add, we do so. Above are just a few quick snapshots of part of this doorframe. The whole thing is covered in Scripture.Our friend, Dwight Ellis, made a new frame for his front door (above) and hand stamped the entire Ten Commandments on it. In the photo above, I’ve turned the doorframe photos sideways so you can see them better. Dwight said this took him a few days. He hand stamped each letter onto mahogany with a stamp and a hammer and then sealed it with marine grade varnish.
Another option that I’ve come across is this brass plate engraved with the 10 Commandments (they also make one with the Shema). This is a small enough to place on the doorframe of your front door. I’ve ordered both. A friend just received theirs and it was beautiful. Since our doorframe is inside the house, I’m going to place this on the front door frame – unless Ricky follows through with his idea to do as our friend Dwight did!
There are a lot of different ways that people carry this one out and I’m always interested in hearing how others have done it. The neat thing is that when people see it they always ask “What is this?” and then we answer them and they follow with “So why did you write it here?”. We’ve had some really good conversations over this.
Deut 7:3 states that the Israelites are not to intermarry with the people of the land they are going to inherit. This is a very clear directive and He goes on to explain why.
3 You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, 4 for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. Deut 7:3-4
However, in Ezra 9:1-4 we see that they did just that (intermarry)! This is where the first mass divorce takes place. I want to make sure I point this out because there is a very popular youtube channel that puts out Bible videos explaining the books of the Bible and when they did their video on the book of Ezra they criticized Ezra for ordering these men to put aside their foreign wives, they stated that this was not a commandment and Ezra had acted on his own. A strong foundation of the words of YHWH, the words spoken by His very voice, is absolutely essential not only in understanding Scripture but in being able to live as a follower of YHWH.
May the Father open our eyes to all of our blessings today so that we may turn to Him in praise for all of the details He pays so much loving attention to.
*This clarification was added to the notes in fall of 2023.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!