There is a portion of scripture in Deuteronomy that Jewish people call the Sh’ma (shĕ –mah). It is so important that many Jewish and non-Jewish families actually have a small decoration called a Mezzuzah that contains a portion of this passage on a small piece of paper fastened to the front door frame of their house. It looks like this:
Here is the full text:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
This passage is part of the instructions that God gave to Moses directly, to share with God’s people.
“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, 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.” – Deuteronomy 6:1
God wants us to follow his plans and to teach these plans to our children and our grandchildren. He is telling us to make our home a place that honors God. His words are to be at the center of our thoughts as this will result in a happy life. We need to be ready at all times to impress the word of God onto our children. This is much more than just sending them to Sunday School. It is the message we sent to our children in our everyday life. Impressing our children with the word of God is the lifelong example we are. It is the way we speak and the way we treat others. It is our visible home bible reading and prayer life. It is not just knowledge that we impart, but real passion for scripture and for serving God. It isn’t just shallow acknowledgements but real deep down assurance. It doesn’t end when they leave church and it doesn’t end when they become teenagers and adults and leave home. It is a life-time of nurture in the word.
Jesus reiterated this when He said,
“If you love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15
He later tells us what His commandment is.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another the way I have loved you.” John 15:12
Hear O Israel!
Sh’ma Israel Adonai Eloyaenu, Adonai Echad
Christians in Papua New Guinea reciting the Sh’ma in Hebrew: