Remembering to Observe God's Commandments

Discovery for Teachers

Remembering to Observe God's Commandments



Deuteronomy 6:1 through 8:20

“Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” (Deuteronomy 7:9)


Moses had given Israel the second edition of the Ten Commandments, and he had taught the people what God commanded him to teach. If Israel obeyed the Lord, they would conquer the enemy, possess the Promised Land, and enjoy a long life with God’s blessing. However, God knew the dangers that Israel would face when they came into that land of prosperity. He was going to give them great blessings, but He knew their thoughts could become so engrossed in those blessings — houses, vineyards, olive trees, etc. — that they would forget Him.

Moses knew this risk of prosperity, too, and he charged Israel to be diligent to keep up their service to God after they were in Canaan. He reminded them that there is only one God, and their first duty was to love Him with all their hearts. He cautioned them against those things that would be the ruin of their religion — to forget the Lord who brought them out of the land of Egypt, the abuse of plenty, and the inclination to idolatry.

One of Israel’s great challenges was to pass along their heritage and an understanding of God’s commandments to their children and grandchildren. God was explicit in how this was to be accomplished: by teaching, by removing the inhabitants from the land, and by rehearsing what God had done. Theirs was a glorious and miraculous history of God’s mercy and love, a history of great deliverances and providential care. Teaching their children would help them remember God’s faithfulness and great works.

Moses had already emphasized God’s love for Israel and the importance of Israel’s love for God. He reminded them that all of their blessings came from the Lord because of His covenant with their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.


  1. What is the first commandment? (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) Is it possible to command a person to love? Explain your answer.

    The first Commandment is “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Jesus referenced this commandment and added another. (Matthew 22:37-39). Discuss with your class what Jesus said about these commandments. (Matthew 22:40). If a man truly loves God, he must also love his brother and his neighbor. All the law is summed up by the command to love. (Romans 13:8-10) In the life of a believer, love is an act of will. You choose to relate to God and to other persons in a loving way, no matter how you feel. You should not be controlled by feelings.
  2. Moses gave Israel specific directions about diligently teaching God’s Commandments to their children. (Deuteronomy 6:7-9) List six actions he told Israel to take. Then give an example of how three of those actions might be implemented in families today.

    The six instructions were:

    •Talk of them when sitting in your houses.
    •Talk of them when walking by the way.
    •Talk of them when lying down.
    •Talk of them when getting up.
    •Put a sign on the hand or before the eyes.
    •Put a sign on the posts and gates of the house.

    Make a list of the students’ suggestions on how to teach children today. This list could include:

    •Make the Gospel a subject of dinner-table conversation — discuss a missionary story or recount someone’s testimony.
    •As you go about the activities of life, apply Christian truths.
    •Have daily devotions. Study the Bible!
    •Bring your children to Sunday school and church.
    •Put a Scripture verse on a card and stick it in your lunch sack or car visor.
    •Post verses in your home on the wall, bathroom mirror, refrigerator magnets, etc.
  3. A literal understanding of Deuteronomy 6:8 has led many people to place copies of verses 4-9 on their foreheads, hands, or doorposts. What was Moses’ intent? How does that intent relate to us today?

    Moses’ intent was that Israel would know the Law of God so well that it would become impressed on their minds and be in their hearts (6:6). God wants to write His Word upon our hearts and make us “living epistles” for others to read. Then our lives can influence them to trust Christ.
  4. What steps can we take to pass on the history of God’s Word to the next generation?

    Answers could include: teaching your children or grandchildren the Bible, teaching Sunday school, and giving your testimony. You could amplify this discussion by asking students to relate lessons they have learned from members of the previous generation.
  5. God knew the temptations Israel would face in the Promised Land, and His commandments to them were for their protection. List four of God’s commands. (Deuteronomy 7:2,3,5,25) Name two commands that God has given us that could result in spiritual protection in our day.

    God commanded that Israel:

    •Destroy the inhabitants
    •Not allow marriages with the inhabitants
    •Destroy their idolatrous paraphernalia
    •Not take the silver or gold from the idols

    Class discussion should compile a list of numerous commands God gave for our protection. These may include:

    •Not marrying unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14)
    •Not owing money (Romans 13:8)
    •Seeking God first (Matthew 6:33)
  6. What was one reason that God said the inhabitants of the land of Canaan should be destroyed? (Deuteronomy 7:4)

    God said intermarriage would turn Israel away from following Him. It may seem that God’s judgments on these inhabitants were cruel and unmerciful. However, these people had defiled the land with their wickedness and idolatry.

    More than four hundred years had expired since the time God had made the covenant with Abraham to give him this land. During that time, if even one of these seven nations had made any overture toward repentance, it would surely have been noted by the ever-merciful God. Yet no instance of repentance on their part was ever shown, and so God decreed that these people should be cut off from the earth. This severity was appointed to prevent the mischief they would do to Israel if they were left alive.
  7. List three of the blessings that God promised Israel if they would obey. (Deuteronomy 7:13-24)

    God promised offspring, healing, and miraculous deliverance from their enemies. Ask your class: Does God give similar promises today?
  8. Chapter 8 contains more warnings to remember God. Why do you think so many warnings were necessary? Do you think people today need fewer or more warnings? Why?

    God knew how easy it would be for Israel to forget when the good things of this life surrounded them. Forgetting is just as easy today. An old adage is: “Prosperity is no friend to grace.” Discuss with your class ways we might help ourselves remember to keep God first.
  9. Several themes are repeated throughout these three chapters of Deuteronomy. Note two of those themes and tell how they apply today.

    The four major themes include:

    •Love God first.
    •Destroy the inhabitants and all their idols or they will be a snare.
    •Teach your children.
    •Obey and be blessed, or disobey and be punished.

    Class discussion should revolve around why and how these principles apply to our lives today.


Love for God is the first and greatest commandment of all, and it is the summary of all the commandments. Our love for Him must be a strong love. We must love him in the most intense degree, with all that is within us. He that is our all must have our all. To love Him this way will bring rest and satisfaction to the soul. If we obey and walk in God’s good way, we will find His benefits and blessings.