The title of the Old Testament book, Deuteronomy, means “second law” or “repetition of the law.” It is the final of the five books of the Pentateuch, probably written about 1406 B.C. when the nation was camped in Moab, just across the border from Canaan, and shortly before Moses’ death (Deut. 1:5; 31:9, 24). Interestingly, all three Scriptures quoted by Jesus during His temptation in the wilderness were taken from this Old Testament book.
In Deuteronomy, we find three sermons, or farewell messages, given by Moses to the Israelites. One key theme in the 40 years of Moses’ leadership was the covenant responsibility of obedience (vv. 1–3; see Deut. 10:12–13). The Israelites could not truly fear the Lord without doing what He said. Words must be accompanied by actions. They could not claim knowledge of the Lord unless they were also obedient to His commands. The consequences of this responsibility were life and death (see Deut. 30:11–20). Disobedience would lead to judgment; obedience would lead to blessings.
At the heart of Moses’ teaching was the “Shema” (meaning “hear”), a confession of faith recited by Jews up to this present day (Deut. 6:4–9). It affirms that “the LORD is one.” He is the supreme Creator, the most high God. The pagan world in that time had many “gods” competing for their attention. The God of Israel is not one of these. He is the great “I Am,” period. Therefore, the greatest commandment is to love Him with our whole beings—all our heart, soul, and strength.
God’s Word helps us remember the Lord in the good times (vv. 10–12). It helps us avoid idolatry (vv. 13–19). And it helps us pass on these truths to the next generation (vv. 20–25)!
>> The “Shema” emphasizes the importance of Scripture (or, to the Israelites, the Law and Torah). In today’s chapter, how many times does it say that the Word should be central in our lives?
Cultivate in us a deep and abiding love for Your Word. Holy Spirit, illuminate Scripture and grant us understanding. Remove our misconceptions and help us know You as You desire to be known.