Today’s Reading: Matthew 22:34-38; 2 Peter 3:18
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question Jesus again. 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.Matthew 22:34-38
When asked what the most important commandment is, Jesus answered with the Word of God. – He pointed those trying to trick Him and all who were listening to God and what they would recognize as coming from God through Moses.
““Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, … Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV
The same words God gave Moses to teach the people of Israel, Christ now gives to the people as the first and greatest commandment. Both the father and the son called the people, and by extension- all those who would believe in Christ, to remember that the LORD was their God and that they were to love Him with everything they had – heart, soul, mind, and strength – their whole being.
We could stop there and let that be the devotion, for we can never be reminded enough of this first and greatest commandment. However, as I read the title again in the devotional journal of our study I was left wondering why on earth they had titled it, “Praying for Your Children and the Next Generation.” So, now I’m staring at my SOAPed up passage, the highlighted words and the notes in the margin and I’m not seeing anything to do with prayer or the next generation – BUT – what I do see is the passage I jotted down from Deuteronomy and I went back to it and there, in the context of that passage, was the answer.
Clearly these commandments, that were eventually summed up into the one that Christ gave to the Pharisees, were meant not just for each of us individually but for us and our children, and their children, and all the generations to follow. So important were the words God had given to Moses that they were meant to be passed on to their children, written on their door posts, and spoken of day and night, at home or on the road. Surely if they are that important they are meant to be a consideration of our prayers … prayers that we would love the Lord our God with all of our being, prayers that we would be faithful to teach our children and grandchildren about the commandments and how Christ summed them up, and prayers that our children and all the generations to follow would know and love the LORD our God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Lest you find yourself even for a moment wondering how it could be that important – consider this reminder – only a few generations after Moses the people of Israel no longer acknowledge God as the LORD nor did they know the wonders He had done for them.
Prayer: Response to God’s Word
Father, this world we live in looks and sounds much like the description found in Judges chapter 2. In our country and around the world we see and hear people who have grown up not knowing You. They do not acknowledge You as Lord or remember the great things that you have done. They do evil in Your sight. Many who have grown up in the church have abandoned You and have gone after other gods, worshiping the gods of the people around them. Change their hearts oh God, let them know You and Your love and may they be moved to love You with all of their being. Call Your people to live out Your command through Moses – to love You with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. Help us to commit ourselves wholeheartedly to this command that Jesus summed up as the greatest of them all. Keep us faithful to repeat them again and again to our children, to talk about them when we are at home and when we are on the road, when we are going to bed and when we are getting up. May they not just be written and kept in places where we can see them but may they be written and hidden in our hearts as a light to guide our feet and as a lamp for our paths.