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Teaching God’s ways from generation to generation

May 29, 2023

Daily Scripture

Deuteronomy 6:4-7

4 Israel, listen! Our God is the LORD! Only the LORD!
5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your being, and all your strength. 6 These words that I am commanding you today must always be on your minds. 7 Recite them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting around your house and when you are out and about, when you are lying down and when you are getting up.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Deuteronomy 6:5 is a very familiar verse. Jesus identified it as “the greatest commandment” (cf. Matthew 22:36-40, Mark 12:28-31). But sometimes we think that if we know it as the greatest commandment, that’s enough. Verse 7 showed that that wasn’t enough for the writer(s) of Deuteronomy. “Deuteronomy is particularly concerned with the teaching of the next generation, as well as the remembering of commandments from one generation to the next.” *

  • Passing on this basic truth takes more than sporadic Sunday School lessons or sermons. We leave a legacy “by the way we live.” “This commandment is not automatically transferred from one generation to another…. The instruction from the parents to the children was to be… a continual way of life…. when they sat, as they walked, after they lay down at night, and when they arose in the morning (v. 7).” ** How can your way of life share the commandment with future generations?
  • Some early Old Testament “inheritance” texts were about the legal transfer of land. But the idea soon took on spiritual aspects, expanded by early Christians. “The image receives greater spiritual definition in NT texts that identify the inheritance of God’s people as… eternal life (Mark 10:17), salvation (Hebrews 1:14) and the new heavens and the new earth (Revelation 21:7).” *** What makes it vital that your legacy to those who come after you shares those eternal glories?

Loving Lord, I belong to you, and you have committed yourself to me. Help me to creatively share that wonderful gift with all those I am able to influence. Amen.

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Picture of Katy Bagwell

Katy Bagwell

Katy Bagwell is the Program Director of Missions for Resurrection West. She is a mom of two and loves to be outside in the sunshine, especially if it involves mountains or ocean. She loves hiking, reading, learning, and connecting.

We need a lot of reminders to love the Lord, our God, with all our hearts, mind, and strength. We all know that is what we should be doing, yet so often we miss the moments to live it out in our lives. When we lead lives with our love for God, we are kinder and more patient. We bring peace to our situations, we believe in positive intent in others, we are gentle with those around us. We reach out and include the people standing outside our circle. Yet, if we do not constantly remind ourselves to put God first, we miss these moments. That is why it makes a lot of sense that the Bible tells us to remember this when we are sitting around our house, out and about, laying down, getting up, talking to our kids, etc. The Bible says it should *always* be on our minds! When we remember to love the Lord first, we have the chance to be our best selves and the people God is calling us to be.

The other day I read about a great example of someone living this out. A child had climbed to the top of the Worlds of Fun water tower and wanted to jump and end his own life. As police tried to talk him down, he requested to speak with someone he trusted—the resource officer from his middle school. Even though it was after 10pm, Officer Bransfield showed up that night! He talked to that boy, spoke life to him, until he was ready to come down. An amazing heroic moment, but the thing that really strikes me is that this relationship was not built that night on the water tower. The middle schooler had often spoken with Officer Bransfield. Officer Bransfield made himself available to this child and had taken a genuine interest in his life. Because of this, Officer Bransfield was the only one that the child would talk to in his most dire circumstances. The officer had made a connection that was now a lifeline when the student needed it most. Officer Bransfield loved the Lord with all his heart, mind, and strength each time he poured into those students. This allowed him to BE the reminder to that student that there is more love for him and life to live.

In 2023, we have endless ways to remember things. We can have our Google assistant remind us, we can set an alarm, we can write it on a white board in our office, we can put sticky notes on our bathroom mirrors. Remind yourself, all the time, to love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, and strength–you never know who you will end up being the reminder for!

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Nathan MacDonald, study note on Deuteronomy 6:7 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 273-274 OT.
** John Maxwell, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 5: Deuteronomy. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1987, p. 119.
*** Article “Inheritance” in Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit and Tremper Longman III, general editors, Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998, p. 421.