Cutout letters, colorful borders, and a laminating machine were some of my favorite school supplies during the years I taught fifth grade. The day after school ended each June, my mind went immediately to the next September. I was all about decorating my classroom. Each year had to top the year before! There had to be a theme, the bulletin boards had to coordinate, basically it had to be a wow!
Every year, the headmaster of our school chose a Bible verse to be the school verse for the year. One particular year the chosen verses were Deuteronomy 6:4-5:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
I love those verses! Jesus goes on in the New Testament to say that is the first and greatest commandment. It’s a focus on loving God with everything we are, giving wholehearted devotion to God.
As I continued to read Deuteronomy 6…
6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
…I knew what I had to do! I bought the cutout letters and the colorful border. I went to the teacher center and used the laminator. I created a border with Deuteronomy 6:4-5 written on it. It was going on the doorframe, all around the doorframe inside the classroom and all around the doorframe outside the classroom,
These kids were going to see the greatest commandment when they came in and when they went out. They were going to be reminded at the beginning of the day and at the end, when they went to lunch and when they came back, even when they went out to get a drink at the water fountain, that God commands them to give Him wholehearted love. And you know we were going to talk about it!
But recently as I have read and reread this verse, my focus has been drawn to the verses after…
10 When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
God gave His people His commandments while they were in the wilderness after He had brought them out of Egypt. He did not give His people these commands while they were still slaves. God gave His people His commands when they were no longer slaves. They were FREE!
It was hard for a group of people who had been slaves all of their lives to understand what it meant to be free. It was hard for a group of people who had been surrounded by so many gods all their lives to understand they only had to trust One.
So God told them in their freedom, I am the only One you need. Remember me in your freedom, remember Me in the wilderness, remember Me in the Promised Land.
God knew that if His people kept at the forefront of their minds what He gave them in their freedom, they would not want to go back to their bondage. So He told them to talk about it when you are home and when you are out. Talk about it when you are sitting and walking. Put it on your doorframes and wear it! Make it what you see and wear and talk about until you get it. There is only one God, He has set you free and He wants your whole heart. Never stop loving the Lord, never stop obeying His commandments. Give Him your all.
Practice it in the wilderness because you are going to need it in the Promised Land.
God knew that when His people got to the Promised Land, it was not going to be all oversized produce. Life in the Promised Land also had oversized enemies, giants they could not defeat on their own, challenges they had never had in Egypt or in the wilderness.
God also knew that in the Promised Land, His people would forget where they came from. They would forget the One who had set them free.
God knows that in our Promised Land, we too will have oversized giants that we cannot defeat on our own. He knows that too often in the Promised Land, we forget Who brought us there. Too often in our place of abundance, our eyes go to the promise and not to the Promise Giver, to the grapes rather than to the One Who is the Vine. So we are to talk about it, we are to ‘write it on our doorframes’. We are to be free people living free lives for Him.
So what’s ‘written on our doorframes’? Do we speak things that take us back to slavery or do we speak the story of our freedom? Do we ‘write on our doorframes’ and live out the things that still keep us bound or are we believing and speaking and walking in the things that He has done to set us free?
God told His people to talk about His commands all of the time, and to talk about it together. It’s a reminder for us to live on the outside what we believe on the inside. It reminds us that we have been set free and encourages others to find their freedom in Him as well.
Like Israel, we have a story to tell. We have a life to live out boldly for Him. Jesus Christ came to set us free! Trusting in His death, burial and resurrection takes us out of our bondage to sin and into a place of abundant life. It’s the story of our freedom and its meant to be shared! Let’s talk about it and ‘write it on our doorframes’ so we will never forget the One we love with all of our heart, all of our soul and all of our strength!
Jeremiah 31:33 I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.