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May 2009

Covenant Living: Declare

"You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. " (Deut. 6:9 )

cathedraldoorsFor our May newsletter, we want to conclude a series of lessons on covenant living. Over the past several months we have looked at Deut. 6:4-9 and noted that there are six principles in these verses which all begin with the letter "d". First, we looked at how we are to be doctrinal people, taking seriously the truths of God's Word. Next, we saw that in getting our doctrine right, we must also be devotional people, loving the LORD with all of our heart. Thirdly, we saw that we should disciple or teach people God's truth. Fourthly, we saw that the Word of God should affect what we do. Last month we looked at the fact that the Word of God should affect what we think or how we deliberate. That leaves us with our sixth and final principle which is that we should declare our faith.

Verse 9 of Deuteronomy 6 tells us to write the Word of God on our doorposts and gates. So far, we have noted that many of the things stated in this passage are not to be taken literally but rather we are to understand the poetic meaning. For example, we don't literally write the Word of God on our hands but rather let the Word affect what we do with our hands. Are we to literally write the Word of God on our doors and gates or is there a more practical meaning?

The problem sometimes associated with taking things in the Bible too literally is the fact that one can do the letter of the law without doing the spirit of the law. We could all bind the Word on our hands or around our heads literally, but does the Word affect our hands or our heads? We can have the one without the other which defeats the real meaning.

The same could be said about writing the Word on our doorposts or gates. Anyone could frame a passage of Scripture and hang it in a prominent place in one's home. Someone could graffiti his entire house with quotes from the Bible. But is he really applying those verses to his life?

So the better thing is to see this poetically in that the word of God should affect the way we live our day to day lives. We are 24/7 Christians. That is, we are not Christians on Sunday only but also on Monday through Saturday, and that is evident to all who would come or go from our homes. In other words, we should not have to tell people that we are Christians; it should be evident in the way we live our lives. Scripture wall hangings should not be something that takes people by surprise but simply an extension and confirmation of who we really are. Our homes should reflect our hearts; they should declare our faith.

Having said this, it should be pointed out that there certainly is nothing wrong with placing Scripture verses on our walls or around our homes. It is worth noting that in our country historically we have placed the Word of God on various places of significance. For example, our coins contain the phrase, "In God We Trust." The American Seal which is on several federal buildings around Washington D.C. has the Latin phrase "Annuit Coeptis" which means "God has smiled on our undertaking." The Liberty Bell has Leviticus 25:10 engraved on its side which reads, "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto the inhabitants thereof." The wall of the Library of Congress has Micah 6:8 written on it which says, "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" A metal cap on the top of the Washington Monument states, "Praise Be To God" and in the stairwell leading to the top of the monument are passages such as "Search the Scriptures" (John 5:39 ) and "Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6 ). The US Supreme Court building has various carvings of Moses holding the 10 Commandments with the phrase "The Power of Government" and "The Majesty of Law" written overhead.

So its not wrong to write the Word of God at various places. We just want to be sure that we are applying the word and not merely quoting it.

Perhaps we should ask ourselves if we as Americans are living according to the Word of God that we have posted at various important places around our country. Are we still a nation that truly lives the motto, "In God We Trust"? May these verses placed on our "gates" and "doorposts" be more than mere words. May "We the People" truly live those Words.


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