Posts Tagged ‘Deuteronomy 6:4-5’

The art of listening

February 1, 2017

deuteronomy-6-4-5

The Verse of the Day for February 1, 2017 is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (New Living Translation):

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.

This passage is part of the Shema, a daily prayer spoken in the Jewish tradition. The Hebrew word Shema, which means “hear,” begins this most important request from God in verse 4. The entire prayer includes verses 4-9.  The New Living Translation renders the word shema  “Listen”:

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

The opening imperative “Listen” brings to mind a discussion in a public speaking class taught at Carolina College of Biblical Studies. Most amazingly, the textbook for the class, The Art of Public Speaking, contained a chapter on the importance of listening as an essential part of the speech communication process. The presentation called “The Art of Listening” included this poem:

The Art of Listening

God has something to say to you,

God has something to say.

Listen, Listen, Pay close attention.

God has something to say.

Children’s Song

                              

Listen, listen, my children: hear with the inner ear.

Tune your ears to hear in the center of your heart.

I will whisper cherished secrets as you come near.

To listen intently and obey is an art,

Practiced and perfected day by day.

As you hide my Word in the center of your heart,

I perform and bring to pass each word that I say.

In my unfolding Kingdom, you too have a part,

For to walk in love is the more excellent way.

Partake of my promises and consume my Word.

As precious as life-giving water, hold it dear

And do my will, proving all things that you have heard.

Listen intently and obey: Perfect this art.

Listen, listen, my children: hear with the inner ear.

This accompanying illustration further reinforces the message found in the Verse of the Day

HEART

HEAR

EAR

 ART

H*E*A*R*T

The music group Seeds Family Worship offers “Teach them” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7) to close our comments on the Shema:

As He is one: We are one

February 1, 2015

deuteronomy-6-4-5

The Verse of the Day for February 1, 2015 is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (New Living Translation):

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.

This passage is part of the Shema, a daily prayer that is spoken the Jewish tradition. The Hebrew word Shema, which means “hear,” begins this most important request in verse 4. The entire prayer includes verses 4-9. In the New Living Translation, the word shema is translated “Listen”:

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates

The Verse of the Day brings to mind a related verse that speaks of unity in the New Testament. In 1971, I remember being asked to produce a writing sample at the beginning of my first year in a ministry leadership training program, and I wrote a brief commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:10:

 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Since that time, 44 years ago, I have come to appreciate the same verse in the Amplified Bible that renders a more precise definition of the word “judgment.”

1 Corinthians 1:10:

But I urge and entreat you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in perfect harmony and full agreement in what you say, and that there be no dissensions or factions or divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in your common understanding and in your opinions and judgments.

Someone has said that opinions are like noses—everybody has one. Even so, believers are encouraged to hold the same opinion regarding who we are in Christ. I think of the lines from a song that was especially meaningful to me when I really experienced the love of Christ for myself and came to know Him intimately and personally as my savior: “We are one in the Spirit.” Here are the lyrics:

We are one in the Spirit
We are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit
We are one in the Lord

And we pray that all unity
May one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians
By our love, By our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians
By our love

We will walk with each other
We will walk hand in hand
We will walk with each other
We will walk hand in hand
And together we’ll spread the news
That God is in our land

We will work with each other
We will work side by side
We will work with each other
We will work side by side
And we’ll guard each man’s dignity
And save each man’s pride

All praise to the Father
From whom all things come
And all praise to Christ Jesus His only son
And all praise to the Spirit
Who makes us one

Jars of Clay provide a musical reminder that, indeed, “We are one in the Spirit.”