Moses says two things that bind the rest of these chapters together: 1. Don’t add to the words I’m about to command you, nor take from it. 2. These words shall be on your heart. Teach them diligently to your children and keep them always in mind.
See, like Jesus will say much later, the greatest commandment is to the Love the Lord your God, and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. All the commandments Moses gives in-between the statements above can be boiled down to those two. He summarizes them just before the final injunction with “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
If we stay focused on loving God, if that is the center of our existence, the rest of the law comes easily. The rest of the law is a natural out-flowing of that love, an inherent result.
When we let the law become an obligation, the requirements and limitations we must observe, that is when we fall away. That is when we start needing to hedge ourselves a little further back from the edge just be sure we don’t cross that line, when we fail to communicate to our children the significance of the law and are SHOCKED that they don’t take it as seriously as we do.
Moses knows his people. He’s dealt with his people for a very long time. He spends a few more paragraphs warning them not to take the gifts of God for granted, not to forget what God saved them from. As bitter as he is, I think he’s also worried for Joshua as he’s about to take over, about the people themselves. He’s desperately trying to make a lasting impression, to deliver a final message and make it stick.
It didn’t work for long. It never does. But how many individuals were deeply impacted by the words and ministry of Moses? We know Joshua was. Have you been?
Will you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might?