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April 2009

Covenant Living: Deliberate

"...and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes." (Deut. 6:8 )

houseinmistFor the devotional section of our monthly newsletter, we have been looking at six principles of covenant living from Deuteronomy 6 which all begin with the letter "d". This month we will look at the fifth of these sixth principles which is Deliberate.

In Deuteronomy 6:8 we read, "...and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes." What does this mean?

"Frontlets" are little ornaments worn around the head like a headband. Each one had a little pocket or pouch. A tradition developed with the ancient Hebrews where they would place slips of paper in the pouch. On these pieces of paper were Bible verses which they had memorized. The more memorized, the bigger the pouch. We see the Lord Jesus mention this in Matthew 23 , but he is not favorable about it. These headbands had become a source of pride. Apparently, the motive of these Pharisees was to be seen by men, which is not a good motive in God's eyes.

This passage in Deuteronomy is not to be taken literally. Just as last month's newsletter talked about how binding the Word of God upon the hand means that the Word of God should affect what we do, the notion of binding the Word of God upon the head is a poetic way of saying that Scripture should affect what we deliberate. In other words, the Word of God should affect the way we think about things.

Our culture has been built upon a Judeo-Christian worldview. Our laws, politics, and even our art, have typically reflected a biblical way of thinking about life and the world. However, we are seeing that change. For the past 50 years or so, our culture has been living off of the "fat" of a Christian worldview. Our former Christian worldview has in many respects died, but the old traditions which came about from that worldview still hang on. These traditions are changing and the change is not good.

For example, when the territory of Utah wanted to become a state and join the United States in 1857, a big obstacle for them was the fact that the vast majority of the citizens of that territory were Mormons, and they practiced polygamy. Brigham Young, the Mormon leader at that time, had 27 wives. It was inconceivable to the average American that this type of behavior would be allowed in any state because the culture held to a biblical view of marriage. What Jesus taught about marriage was the prevailing view. That is that from the beginning, God created one man and one woman and the two were to come together in marriage and become one flesh. In other words, Christian marriage is heterosexual (male and female), monogamous (one man and one woman) and, ideally, is to last until death. (The Mormons eventually changed their position on marriage and Utah joined the Union).

Today, many people in our culture still hold to the established view on marriage, but they don't know why. It has gone from being biblical to simply being "traditional." We no longer know why we do what we do because in many ways we don't think biblically. Without a solid biblical worldview, we have no basis or foundation to say that homosexual marriage, or polygamy, for that matter, is wrong. God has a way of thinking about life and the world which is revealed in His Word. We are to bind the Word of God on our heads, or, to say it another way, think this way.

This is what Paul teaches in the book of Philippians. He tells the Philippians in chapter 4 verse 8 of that book, "Brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

There is a proper way of thinking but it does not come naturally to us. As we know, sin affects our minds. We don't think God's thoughts naturally. In fact, "The natural mind is hostile to the things of God" (Romans 8:7 ). "The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him" (1 Cor. 2:14 ). This is why the Christian must have his mind renewed by the Spirit and the Word.

In the book of Romans, Paul lays out his Magnum Opus of theology. He lays out the whole story of sin and salvation. After he has done such a masterful job under the inspiration of the Spirit of explaining the great salvation we enjoy through Christ, he then launches a plea. He begs for something from his readers. He says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom 12:1 2 NKJV). That is, in light of all that God has done for us, let us constantly try to think the way God would have us think. This does not mean that we can think like Christians in church but like pagans in the world. No. We think like Christians in every area of our lives. We should have Covenant Concepts in our minds all the time.


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