Deuteronomy 5:32-6:25; Luke 7:24-35; Psalms 69:1-13; Proverbs 17:17-18
OT: “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates… Be careful not to forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. Fear the Lord your God, worship him, and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you… The Lord commanded us to follow all these statutes and to fear the Lord our God for our prosperity always and for our preservation, as it is today. Righteousness will be ours if we are careful to follow every one of these commands before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.’” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 12-14, 24-25 CSB)
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, He referenced this passage in Deuteronomy. Jesus replied that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord you God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. John the Apostle went on later to say that they way that we show our love to God is by obeying His commandments. Those that love and honor the Lord will obey the things that He has said… and for us to be able to obey what He has said, we must first listen. And after listening, we must not forget. Moses made sure he had the peoples attention and he said ”Listen!” We can’t just let the words we hear go in one ear and out the other. We need to meditate on them and get them into our hearts as convictions instead of rolling around in our minds as ideas. They should be present in everything that we think (foreheads) and motivating everything that we do (hands). The words, will, and ways of God should stand as sentries, guarding what we allow into our homes, and frame all of the governmental and business dealings of our cities. It is not enough to just honor God’s words, will, and ways ourselves. If we truly love and care for our offspring, we will teach them to our children and our posterity – making sure that they listen and don’t forget as well. If we endeavor to listen to the words of God, discipline ourselves to not forget, teach them to our kids, and actually apply the words of God to our lives through action; we will be preserved, we will prosper, and righteousness will be ours.
NT: “I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John, but the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he… To what then should I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to each other: We played the flute for you, but you didn’t dance; we sang a lament, but you didn’t weep! For John the Baptist did not come eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.” (Luke 7:28, 31-35 CSB)
Of all the prophets that had come and gone since man had walked the earth, John the Baptist was the greatest of all – for he was the prophet that prepared the way for the first coming of the King. Yet, even the least of those who are blood-bought citizens of the Kingdom are greater than John the Baptist, for we are able to, through the Holy Spirit, walk in the full power and authority of the Kingdom and prepare the way for the King’s second coming. As great as John the Baptist’s words were, people still refused to listen. The same was true of Jesus’ good news of the arrival of the kingdom – people refused to hear. John brought words of repentance and a coming judgement. Jesus brought words of repentance unto salvation and a transformed life. Both messages required the hearers to face the truth about themselves. People who don’t want to “face the music” will reject the message and criticize the messenger. For us to be friends of God – for us to be citizens of the Kingdom – for us to be transformed from darkness to light, transferred from death to life – for us to truly love God with all of our heart, soul, and strength; we must listen to the Lord’s words, allow them to expose the truth about ourselves, and trust them to remake us into true Kingdom people as we faithfully obey His commands.