When does God want us to think about HIM?
- a small leather box containing Hebrew texts on vellum, worn by Jewish men at morning prayer as a reminder to keep the law.
If you are not a practicing orthodox Jew, or very close to one, you may have never heard of or seen what that is. It is a Jewish artifact, used in worship by the ultra orthodox men, as a symbol of their faithfulness.
In the time of Moses, when the law was being given by God, to Moses, He was told by God to convey this message to the people;
"These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 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." (Dueteronomy 6:6-7)
Gods desire is for us to think about Him ALWAYS. To meditate on His words continually. To be prayerfully speak with Him constantly. To prove that, in the next couple verses, God actually gave examples of how to do just that. He spoke about specific physical methods in which the spiritual could be remembered.
It was these verses from Dueteronomy also, that were in those phylacteries. There would be one in the forehead, and one on the arm, as that was Gods example of a way they could reminded of Him and their relationship. As the Jewsish people, having made that promise to God, have tried to obey His commands, for some 3500 years.
So, you may wonder how, as a Christian, talking about this very specific Jewish tradition means anything to you and your relationship with Christ today?
It means a lot as a matter of fact.
So, if my box is bigger, than my love must be bigger, right?
To answer the question about how a Jewish tradition, relates to your Christian devotion, we have to go back in time...way back.
We need to remember that God was giving Moses examples of ways to have each person remember HIM, and keep HIM in the forefront of their hearts and minds. But people, and especially the Jews over the next several hundred years, showed how that principle would be turned all the way back around, to make it a way to show off and put all the attention on themselves.
Those who had egos, and desired positions of authority would have a larger phylactery on their heads and arms, doing what they could to give the impression that they were better in God, had more of God, or were closer to God.
Jesus Himself, called the Jews of His day out on that;
"Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long." (Matthew 23:5)
Do you understand yet why this relates to you?
"Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them" (Matthew 6:1)
Think about it...have you ever raised your hands in church so others may see you? Have you ever said an 'Amen' during the sermon so others could hear you? Have you ever uttered a 'yes Lord' during a prayer to sound more Holy? Have you ever, even once, done anything like that? Just once said a prayer, using words in a way to make you sound more holy?
I bet you have. I know I have. God, through Jesus Christ even calls us out on that too!
"When you pray, don't talk on and on as people do who don't know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers." (Matthew 6:7)
So, is what God told the Jews 3500 years ago, and Jesus told us 2000 years ago, and what I am writing about right now, all related to me today?
Let others feel God from my heart, not just hear it from my mouth.
God wants us to have Him on our hearts and minds all day, every day, not just Sunday. God desires us to desire Him. God does not want us to mock Him, by puffing ourselves up with how good we look, or how holy we seem.
Our pride or fear, in how we appear to others, can lead us to a worship in a way that is not genuine. God does not care how much we show others how much we know 'about' God, God cares how much we share with others how we actually 'KNOW' God.
Let us read, pray and meditate each day on His Word, let us be still and listen for His voice, let us be sensitive to know His calling, and then the love of God, within our Spirits will overflow and everyone will know HE is in us.
God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5)
Let us be real, even if that is sounding like a beginner, even if we dont know what to say, or know how exactly we are to pray, or know what specifically we should be doing. Because all we really need to know...is GOD. Because all God wants, is all we are. Not what we are not.
Remember; God loves us just how we are, but He loves us too much to leave us just how we are.
So each day there will be growth in our walk, growth in our talk, growth in our personal relationship with God, through Christ, just as much as we take time each day to think, meditate and pray over His Word.
We will never have to embellish, exaggerate or mock Him, by pretending we are more than we are, than just exactly who we are, with Him.
Because we are perfect in Him, just how we are.
Rob on March 27, 2021:
Thank you Doug, I am grateful for your comment, and glad Gods message to me, also found you. Take care, brother.
Doug Campbell on March 27, 2021:
Thank you for this post and for helping to remind me to honor God without making a show of it. Amen