A question I have gotten a couple of times is why do I send out Bible verse twice a day, morning and evening? I do have a Biblical answer for that. It is one of my favorite verses, in fact, the main chapter in my thesis is about these verses. It is called the “Shama”. In Hebrew this means hear. This set of verses is very special to the Jewish people and it is found in every Jewish home. Dut. 6:4-9
4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one![b] 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
In verse four Moses was reminding the people that God was and is the complete and only God. The other people of that time had many gods. For example; Egypt had a god of the Nile River, the sun, cows, etc.. The people who lived in the land of Canaan also had multiple gods. They had one for the rain and crops and one for harvest, and some for the seasons of the year. With all of these false gods surrounding the Israelites, God wanted the Israelite people to stay faithful to Him, for them to know He is not divided up into all of these other little gods.
In verse five God is telling His people that because there are many other gods around, they are not to worship them, but they are only to worship the one true God. God’s people are to give all of their love to the Lord and not split it between other gods. This also means that God is to be number one in the lives of Christians. If a person loves the Lord with all their soul and might it leaves nothing else for any thing or any one except God.
Verse six tells God’s people to put these verses in a very special place, their heart. Back in the time of Moses it was not understood that the heart controlled the circulation of the blood, they thought that the heart was the brain, or the center of intellect. The reason for this belief was a tightness in the chest and heart pounding in times of excitement or nervousness. Just as in the previous verse, God is instructing His people to make Him the center of their thoughts and actions.
In the first part of verse seven, Moses said, “Impress them on your children.” Moses was speaking to the whole nation of Israel and he was telling them flatly that the job of teaching God’s word to children belonged to the parents. This is what I like about God he tells us to do something and then in the next part of the verse He tell us how to do it. “Talk about them when you sit at home….” God is giving practical advice on when parents should do all this teaching.. The first and most obvious is in the home. The parents have their most time with a child at home. I know this brings images of boring Bible studies, but today we have all kinds of ways to teach your children at home. In past blogs I have mention Bible videos, or “Adventures in Odyssey” videos. There are all kinds of CD’s from Bible songs, to Bible stories. Christian fiction books have just exploded now days. There is nothing like reading to your children. Of course, you could just read them the Bible stories themselves.
The next part of the verse says”…and when you walk along the way…” In ancient times it was very dangerous to walk alone because, just as situations are today, the person would be robbed. Therefore people would walk in large groups and during this time together they would sing the Psalms, or they would debate the law and it’s interpretations. In the movie “Yentle” there is a perfect example of this. After Yentle finds a friend and a ride to Hebrew school they have small talk in the wagon for a few minutes and then decide to quiz each other on the Torah.
This all sounds fine, but today people do not walk anywhere, unless it is for exercise. Everyone rides in cars. Even so, this principle can still be used. Many cars have CD players, so any of the CD’s talked about before could be used here. On radio there is also all kinds of Christian stations across the country, you can listen to Christian talk radio, Preaching, Contemporary or gospel songs, it is all there.
The last part of this verse is why I started this blog. “…when you lie down and when you get up.” This is why I send the Bible verses twice a day at morning and night, I am following the point God wants here. This verse is usually used to explain why Christians say their prayers before they go to sleep at night. This verse is saying that when people lay down at night they need to be talking about God and His commandments and when people wake up they should start the day by talking about God.. This shows that we need to be thinking about God all day long.
To finish off the “Shama” the next verse says, “ tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.” I was teaching these principles in a Bible study when one of the members of the study started laughing out loud. He then proceeded to tell the story that on a business trip to Europe he was on a flight from New York to Germany which would continue on to Israel. The flight was crowded and he was crammed into the back of the plane. He noticed that the people around him were old and most of the men had long beards, but he did not think anything about it and curled up and went to sleep. Very early in the morning the plane met the sun and he awoke to the sound of these people chanting and they were wearing leather boxes on their hands and head. He stated that this frightened him and he got out of that area of the plane quickly. He was later informed by the stewardess that the people were Jews and were saying their morning prayers. He also found out that the leather boxes were called phylacteries and in them were special scriptures, one of which was this verse, the “Shama”.
This is a great story but what does it mean? You see the Jews have taken these verse literally and they have placed these verses on their foreheads and their hands physically. However, what God is wanting is for people to have His word the Bible in their hands in front of their face so it can be read. This is why I started Brad’s Braindrops. I am trying to get God’s word in front of the world. God even says His word will not come back void. I am just trying a different method to get it out there.
The last verse is “…Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Again the Jews have taken this very literally. Look at movies like “Ben Hur”, “The Frisco Kid”, “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Shindlers List”. They all have a scene that shows a Mezuzah. A Mezuzah is another box that holds the same scriptures as are in the phylacteries and they place the Mezuzah on the door frame. Again, the Jews have missed what God intended, that His word was to be used and to be prominent in the house and in life.
I have taken a lot of criticism for teaching these verses, saying that I have put too much burden on parents and Christians, but this is what the Bible teaches. This goes back to why I have started Brad’s Braindrops. I am trying to get God’s word into people’s hands any way possible, and the internet is best and newest way.
Read more articles by Dr. Brad Black or search for articles on the same topic or others.