“These are the commands, decrees, and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children, and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.  4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 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.” (Deuteronomy 6:1—90)


            Guidelines and conditions are necessary to safeguard and maintain any relationship as it should be.  Without guiding principles, criteria, and standards, relationships will always be doomed to fail.  This is no different from my relationship with God.  Most of the guiding principles we put on each other in a relationship are necessary from having one party dominate whatever seemed right in their own eyes.  This happens because we are often people whose motivations and intentions are only sometimes pure.  For the most part, individuals often enter into a relationship for what they can get out of it.

            But God’s guiding principles are different. God sets standards that apply to everyone. There is not one guiding principle for this person because of their status and another for the same reason. God, the loving lawgiver, gave us his laws so that we can ENJOY living with him and others in a protected relationship.

            The true basis of any relationship is love.  God’s love is the highest and purest standard of love. Thus, we must start first to be in a relationship with him.  God did not give these loves to control but to help the children of Israel enjoy his promises.  I am reminded again that there are three things that are precious to God. 

            Firstly, it’s my relationship with him. First and foremost, I must know that the Lord our God, the Lord, is ONE. There must be no rivalry in my relationship with God. I must love the Lord my God with ALL of my heart, ALL of my soul, and ALL of my strength.  The more I am committed to this love relationship with God, the more I am able to love others as I should. 

            Secondly, it’s my relationship with others. I must make sure I pass this same loving relationship with God on to others, including my children and their children. If my children see that I am faithful in my relationship with God, they, too, will choose to be in a relationship with God and value what God values.  The next generation will also fears the Lord.  I have a tremendous responsibility to make sure my daughter is constantly reminded of her relationship with God. 

            In so many Christian homes, parents neglect this responsibility, and thus, their children leave the faith.  God gave the children of Israel how to cultivate this love relationship in their homes and community:

  • God’s word MUST be ON my heart
  • God’s word MUST be IMPRESSED on my children
  • God’s word MUST always be talked about whether I am sitting at home with them, or on a journey with them, or before we retire for the night, and when we get up in the morning.
  • God’s words MUST be tied as symbols on their hands and foreheads. Whatever we do with our hands, we will see God’s word, and whatever we are thinking about, God’s word will be there. 
  • God’s word MUST be seen in the house décor.

Thirdly, God’s promises to all who love him and abide by His word.  God said to the children of Israel to OBSERVE his commandments, and they will enjoy what his promises have already provided for them. God gave the Israelites instructions on how to enjoy his promises.  Like anything in life, when we follow the instructions, we will get to enjoy the journey.  God’s desire was not for the Ten Commandments to enslave people but for them to enjoy a relationship with him and all that he already promised. 


            God wants me to enjoy my relationship with him based on the Ten Commandments’ guiding principles.  When I choose his way, I will enjoy a long life.  All will increasingly go well with me in the land that is flowing with milk and honey.  I want to love God with all of my heart so I may love others and enjoy the life that He intended for me to enjoy. 


            Jesus, I ask that you continue to teach me what it is to value my relationship with you.  I want to follow and obey you with all of my heart, soul, and strength.  Please help me enjoy my relationship with you and to grow deeper in knowing who you are.  I look to you to continue teaching me how to love you with all of my heart, soul, and strength and share that with others, especially with Nori and Eri.  Please lead and guide me in all my relationships.  Amen!