And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes (Deuteronomy 6:6–8, ESV).
When our lives are cluttered with distractions, how do we keep what is most important front and center in our hearts and minds? How do we remember the things God wants us to treasure? The answer can partly be found in Deuteronomy 6:8, “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.”
God not only gave His people a full set of rules for living, but He also gave them instructions on how to remember His words. This passage contains the greatest commandment (Deuteronomy 6:5, see also Matthew 22:36–40) and offers some practical house rules.
The context of this passage is God’s law and how it should be the subject of continual meditation, conversation, and obedience. The home was to be a training center for faith in God and for the importance of His commands for healthy living, with parents modeling and teaching these truths to their children throughout the day.
Unfortunately, over the centuries, the Israelites transformed Deuteronomy 6:8 from a vivid command into a hollow reenactment of God’s truth. Instead of being as signs or as frontlets, snippets of God’s laws had become trinkets worn for show. The symbols had replaced what they were intended to symbolize. Today’s version of that empty practice might be someone who claims to love God’s Word, brags about owning fifteen copies of the Bible, but never actually reads it. Or someone who does a daily devotional without letting those truths have an impact on his day. Or someone who goes to church but couldn’t name any specific issue God is working on in her life.
So what’s the key to remembering what is most important? The verses above illustrate God’s answer: the more integrated spiritual practices become in our daily lives, the less we have to worry about remembering them. If we settle for reading the Bible to our kids once a week, then we’re going to need more reminders. But if our lifestyle revolves around God’s Word, then each day will be filled with teachable moments. We can talk about His provision when we sit down to a meal. We can ask Him to guard our travels together and separately throughout the day. We can lead our children in talking to God about their day in prayer as they lie down, and we can be ready to thank the Lord for a new day when we arise.
Remembering what’s most important starts with your own practice of regular exposure to God’s Word and intentional decisions to obey what you read. Those under your roof and others who are watching should know God is the central presence in your home. As you help them recognize the Lord and how much He cares about daily moments in their lives, you will remember just how much His guidance matters to you, too.
This post originally appeared on Dr. James MacDonald’s daily devotional Our Journey and was republished with permission.
James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is the founding senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, leads the church-planting ministry of Harvest Bible Fellowship, teaches the practical application of God’s Word on the Walk in the Word radio and television programs, and is a gifted author and speaker. You can find out more about James and his ministries at WalkintheWord.org.