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FEAR AND OBEDIENCE

Daily Devotional Deuteronomy 6:1–9


In A Treatise of the Fear of God (1679), John Bunyan explained: “[God] will be either our Saviour or Judge, [so] we are in reason and duty bound to give the more earnest heed to the things that shall be spoken, and be the more careful to receive them, and put them in practice...For there is no duty performed by us that can by any means be accepted of God, if it be not seasoned with godly fear.”


Fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands.

DEUTERONOMY 6:2


In other words, godly fear leads to careful obedience. Deuteronomy 6 teaches the people of Israel to fear the Lord as long as they live (vv. 1–3). The most obvious way to do so is “by keeping all his decrees and commands.”


Once again, we see that godly fear is connected with emotions and actions very different from the human emotion of being afraid. It’s connected with worshiping the one true God (v. 4). It’s connected with wholehearted love of God and others (v. 5). It’s connected with integrity and obedience, our hearts and actions in one accord (v. 6). These commandments are so important that we’re to put them, and by implication the fear of the Lord, at the center of our households, teaching them to our families and discussing and meditating on them constantly (vv. 7–9). These verses (vv. 4–9) are called the Shema, the Jewish confession of faith.


The assertion, “The LORD our God, the LORD is one” (v. 4), contrasts strongly with the typical polytheism of the Ancient Near East. The Shema highlights God’s incomparable power and greatness. Truly there is none like Him (Ps. 86:8; Jer. 10:6)!


Living in the fear of the Lord thus means to live as if God is God. In thought, word, and deed, we love, worship, and obey our King.


Go Deeper


How can we “write God’s law” upon our hearts? How might we consistently fear the Lord through the ups and downs of life? How can we teach our families to do the same?


Pray with Us:


Who is like You, God? Today we pray the beautiful Shema prayer You gave to the Jewish people—“The LORD our God, the LORD is one” (Deut. 6:4)—and acknowledge our desire to love and worship You in thought, word, and deed.

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