February 23rd

Deuteronomy 4-6

  • 4: 1 – Listening and knowing what God calls us to do is good, but the doing is where faithfulness really comes in.
  • 4:9 – This is a command to the Israelites to keep up the oral tradition of passing down the story of their God
  • 4:25-29 – God knows that we will stray at times and he promises that when we discover the error of our ways and turn back and seek him that he will be there ready for us.
  • 4:32-40 – Moses reminds the Israelites that there are no other gods like our God and that he has proven himself and his faithfulness to them in a variety of ways. It’s interesting that the Bible doesn’t treat pagan gods as if they don’t exist at all, but rather as if they simply have no power- this is why many New Testament authors and later Christian theologians assume these gods to be demons
  • 5:1-21— The Ten Commandments are repeated here- again, this is an example of the ancient oral traditions repeating important information to ensure it’s accurately preserved. It’s also repeated simply because it’s important- this is a summary of the entire law, and the Israelites need to remember this.
  • 5:22-33— Moses has been the mediator of God’s will until now, but from here on out the Law will mediate God’s will.
  • 6:4-5—We often attribute these words to Jesus, but in fact he was quoting the Old Testament when he called this the greatest commandment.
  • 6:8-9— The Israelites took these verses quite literally, and wore small boxes called tefillin containing slips of paper with that commandment (called the Shema) written on them strapped to their wrists and their heads, and still today it’s common for Jewish households to have it on their front door. (see pictures below)

Tefillin Note the box on his arm and on his head- at various times in history the custom has been to wear these from sunrise to sunset every day, and at other times- such as now- the custom is to only wear tefillin during the weekday prayer services.

MezuzahThis is called a Mezuzah- like the tefillin it has a small scroll inside with the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) on it. It’s still quite common to see these in the doors or doorframes of Jewish homes.

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