by Norma Koehne
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Love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Deuteronomy 6:5).
Lately, I have been watching a series on Netflix called Shtisel, which is about Orthodox Jewish families in Israel. What I have found most interesting is the way they constantly remind themselves of God and his words. I was puzzled by why they touch the doorframe as they enter the house until I read here that they write this commandment on their doorframes and gates. At prayer time, small books containing God’s word in the Old Testament is wrapped onto their hands and tied on their foreheads.
We are blessed that we have God’s full revelation of his love and salvation in the New Testament as well as the Old Testament. How do we, in our busy modern lives, make sure that we love God with all our being, that he is first in our lives and our love? We can take the opportunity to worship God through word and sacrament in church and our homes through morning and evening devotions. We can try to have reminders of God and his goodness around us at all times. Perhaps we can print out Bible verses and put them on the door of the refrigerator, a place we all look at often. Maybe you spend a lot of time travelling and can put a Bible verse in your car where you can see it easily. And, of course, we keep close to God through our prayers throughout the day. Be creative!
There is a warning here to the people of Israel. ‘When you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord’ (verses 11b,12). Sadly, that has become the case in so many countries in our affluent western world. We are blessed with so many good things. It is easy to be like the unwise farmer, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink and be merry’ (Luke 12:19). God preserve us from such arrogance and indifference.
Lord, you know how hard it is for us to love you with our whole heart. Help us through your Holy Spirit to immerse ourselves in your word so that we are constantly reminded of your love and goodness. Amen.