As an enslaved 13-year-old, future abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass trusted in Christ for salvation. One biographer observed: “Frederick always hungered for knowledge, but after his conversion he had an insatiable desire to read and understand the Bible.” At that time, slaves were not allowed to read, much less own books. Nonetheless, Douglass would search the gutters for discarded pages of Scripture. When he found one, he would carefully wash and dry it before reading it and added it to his collection.
Douglass’s passion for God’s Word puts us to shame! God’s commands are to be always on our hearts and minds. We’re to teach them to our children and talk about them during all our daily life activities (v. 7). This passage gives the greatest commandment—to love God with our whole selves (v. 5)— which is founded on the greatest truth—only God is worthy of worship (v. 4). Jewish people today tie phylacteries to their foreheads and left arms, and put mezuzot on the doorframes of their houses. The biblical context, however, suggests that the instructions in verses 8–9 are not literal but figurative. God’s Word is to be at the center of our lives, including both thoughts (head) and actions (hands).
This image of a doorframe (v. 9) is similar to yesterday’s, referring to an entire home or family. To write Scripture on your doorframe symbolically indicates that your family is committed to worship and obedience to the Lord. Even talking of doorframes while living in tents—which is where the Israelites were when they received this command—was an expression of their faith in God.
>> What Bible verses do you have posted or hanging in your home? Do they accurately represent your spiritual priorities or of your family? If you and those in your house were to choose one verse or passage to live by during the next six months, what would it be?
Today’s passage from Deuteronomy reminds us of the importance and even the beauty of God’s Law, given to Jewish people. Let’s ask the Lord to help us give His Word preeminence in our hearts and minds, as well as our homes.