Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.
I was recently doing my usual nightly “fast dash” clean up before bedtime – which means that I try to get as much as I can cleaned up and put away in 20 minutes or less. This time “limit” is just a mental thing for me because if I don’t set some kind of goal I will be up all night organizing and doing more than necessary because I tend to lose track of time when I am cleaning. I have to pace myself or I will inadvertently wear myself out. It’s amazing how much clutter and what a huge mess two big people, two little people and a big dog can make in just a couple of days.
Anyway, I digress. The point of this story is that in the course of cleaning up, I found something that needed to go back in big C’s backpack for the next day of school. While I had her bag, I decided I would “de-clutter” it as well. She has a tendency to find “treasures” on the bus and on the ground at school that get put in the zippered pockets. As I was throwing out broken pencils, rocks, wilted flowers (i.e.: weeds) and old hair clips, I found among the treasures a rolled up piece of paper like a scroll that was bound with a bright blue rubber band. I recognized the rubber band. It came off of the asparagus I had cooked a couple of weeks before. I was just about to toss this all in the garbage but at the last-minute, I decided to take off the rubber band and unroll the paper to make sure nothing of importance was on it. This is what I found:
I got a little emotional because my daughter’s words are so beautiful but even more than this, I was filled with an overwhelming conviction. My 7 year-old little girl is applying scripture in a practical way in everyday life. The scripture Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (see above) came flooding to my mind. She was literally writing scripture down so that she would remember to obey the Lord’s commandments and “tying” them to her belongings. Maybe the amazing kids leaders and pastors at our church told them to do this during a recent lesson, I don’t know. But still, it blew me away.
When I looked up the verse, it was interesting to me that along with the part I had remembered; there were words that I had forgotten – “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children.” Impress them on your children. That word, “impress” sounded really important and since I have children, I need to know what exactly that means I am called to do. So, I looked up the definition.
Impress [v. im-pres; n. im-pres]
1. to affect deeply or strongly in mind or feelings; influence in opinion.
2. to fix deeply or firmly on the mind or memory, as ideas or facts.
3. to urge, as something to be remembered or done.
4. to press (a thing) into or on something.
5. to impose a particular characteristic or quality upon.
All of those definitions could be used in this Biblical reference. “Influence them with scripture, fix the words deeply into their mind, urge them to remember these scriptures, press the words into their lives, impose this feeling upon them.” Even though there are several variations of meaning, each one could work. Which is why I think the writer used that word. It is a word that has great depth of meaning. It reveals to the reader just how important it is to keep God’s commandments and love Him with our entire being – so much so that we can’t help but talk about them with our children…a lot and write them all over the house and on our belongings so we will remember and so it will be hard to forget God’s words. Impress the words. Talk about them. Tie them. Bind them. Write them.
The Message version says it like this: “Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children.” I love how descriptive and visual that version is. We are to get scripture on the INSIDE and have it on the inside so much that it starts overflowing out of us at all times – even when we are just sitting around at home, out and about, going to bed and when we wake up. I think of it as keeping scripture tucked away in every little nook and cranny of our spirit so that we can’t help but have some escape…trickling out every so often and overflowing on those around us, including our children.
So, I am off now to write some scriptures on my door, my forehead or maybe even on a sticky note wrapped up with a rubber band to put in my purse!