Home Can Be Beautiful - Keep the Commandments in Love
Knowing that the Israelites were about to move into a new country where they would soon set up tens of thousands of new homes, He was eager for them to begin properly, making no mistakes. So, through his servants Moses, He went on to instruct them how to go about it.
First and foremost, undergirding all else, was this counsel: keep the commandments in love. He did not ask them to build their houses according to a certain type of architecture or paint lovely pictures on the walls or buy the choicest silverware for their tables. No. Seeking only enduring beauty, He asked them to memorize His commandments and observe them.
“Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the ordinances which the Lord your God commanded me to teach you,” said Moses, “that you may do them in the land to which you are going over to possess it; that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life; and that your days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them; that it may go well with you” (Deuteronomy 6:1-3, R.S.V.).
“Hear, O Israel, “ he went on: “The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. “And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, R.S.V.).
Here, in these few brief sentences, God revealed the secret of the truly beautiful home. That secret is love - full, unstinted love, for God and man. Love for God demonstrated by whole-hearted obedience to the first four of His Ten Commandments, and love for man revealed by the self restraints suggested in the last six. Law and love, discipline and affection, perfectly blended, will preserve the home from all peril and bring upon it the continual blessing of Heaven.
Long years afterward, Jesus repeated this good counsel. When a lawyer asked Him which was “the great commandment in the law,” He replied in almost the words of Deuteronomy 6:5: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This,” He added, “is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (St. Matthew 22:37-40).
He was so right. Everything hangs on them. Love is so basic, so fundamental. It is the wellspring of all human joys, the secret of happy marriages and beautiful homes.
Our Patient Merciful God
The Bible and the Gospel speak of God's great mercy for us ...
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“Enter his gates with
thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him
and praise his name.