Christians Gathered and Sharing Theirs Lives Together

A daily devotion for April 15th

The Sign of Authority

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.

Deuteronomy 6:8-9

These words of Moses sound strange to us. Many of the Jews took them very literally. In fact, the Pharisees in Jesus' day were making a tremendous display of this. They actually took miniature scrolls of Scripture with the Ten Commandments and other passages written on them, made little boxes called phylacteries for them, tied them on the back of their left hand and bound them on their forehead between their eyes, and went about with them hanging there. And they literally wrote them on the doorposts and the gates, the outer entrances, of their houses. Thus they tried to fulfill this command in a very mechanical, wooden manner. In Matthew 23 we are told that Jesus rebuked them for doing this in order to attract attention, gain notoriety, and make it visible that they were religious people (Matthew 23:5 KJV).

Though this was a mistaken way to show it, these Jews had caught part of the import of this passage. They were trying to fulfill the meaning of a word which Moses employs here: sign. His words were to be a sign, he said, upon the hand and between the eyes and upon the doorposts. What is a sign? Signs are very important aspects of life. One aspect of signs is that they have a way of conveying authority. There is no need to have the name of the authority mentioned on a sign in order to have people obey it. We are all so ingrained with the idea of obeying signs, that we obey when it is almost absurd to do so. There is an authority inherent in signs.

This is the idea which Moses is getting at here. There is something which is to be a sign that compels obedience. These words, he said, shall be as though they were bound on your hand — not literally, but figuratively. Your hands, of course, symbolize your deeds as parents. They are to be governed by Scripture, by the wisdom of the Word of God. And they are to be as though on your forehead, i.e., guiding your thought life, your intelligence. Your reflection upon truth ought to be governed and directed by these words. The doorposts and gates of the house take us into contact with the outside world, depicting our behavior toward relatives and friends, toward neighbors and society at large. All this to be governed and controlled by the wisdom of God. When that happens, Moses says, then parents will have tremendous authority in their children's lives. And it will be authority not derived from their position as parents, but arising out of the respect they engender as responsible persons. That is what creates authority in a home. The home in which parents are open and honest, and are genuinely committed to following the Word of God themselves as well as asking their children to do so, will always be a home where parents have authority in their children's lives.

Lord, forgive me for so often putting other things about you Word. Create in me a hundred for your Word and a desire to live it out before those I care for.

Life Application

Am I open and honest, genuinely committed to following the Word of God in every aspect of my life? Do my children see this?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The Sign of Authority

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