Scripture: Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
The history of Israel and the law of Moses were received, preserved, and transmitted orally from one generation to another through memorized folktales, ballads, poetry, prose, and songs. The Israelites were instructed to transmit the Lord’s teachings to their children, God’s next generation, on a daily basis and throughout the day in a number of ways. The children memorized their history and laws in their heart as children and in turn, taught their children, who in turn taught their children. And so, the teachings of the Lord were transmitted from one generation to the next.
I remember that part of our Sunday School education required the memorization of Scripture. We would memorize a verse in the Bible, then repeat it as a Sunday School class or individually during children’s time in worship. I’ve come to appreciate the memorization of Scripture over the years, especially when a biblical story or verse comes to mind I can hold on to during a difficult situation or season of life. At those times, Scripture keeps me anchored in faith that God is with me and hopeful about the future that God is leading me to.
Dallas Willard, professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California, wrote, “Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what it needs.
This week, commit this Scripture to mind, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is
one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Mark 12:29-31)
Like the scribe, you’ll find that when you keep the Word of the Lord in your heart, you’re not far from the kingdom of God. It’s not that you are drawing near to it, but that the kingdom is drawing near to you giving you access to the grace, wisdom, courage, faith, hope, and love you need to live life in a manner that is pleasing to God.
O Lord, you have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. Enable me by your Spirit to be steadfast in keeping your statutes! Do not let me be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. Amen.