We begin our reading with one of the greatest commandments, certainly one of the best known in the entire Scripture, known as the Shema in chapter 6 of Deuteronomy. The title of this commandments comes from the Hebrew: to hear, or to listen. Shema comes from vs.4 which begins: “Hear, Oh Israel” That command to hear, to listen, and which is then followed with a command to not only follow the commandmens of the Lord which were given back in chapter 5, but to teach them to your children for all generations is a reminder that the word of the Lord is not just for us in this time and place, but is for all times and all places and all peoples.
Sometimes I get the question of why did God choose the people of Israel and not another group. We have a sort of answer in chapter 7:8 where God says that it is because of the covenant that he made with the ancestors of the people of Israel that he has maintained his covenant with them. It isn’t because of their power, and certainly not because of their obedience, but because God is loyal and he promised Abraham and those who followed him that their people would be his people.
We get a great warning from God in chapter 8 against giving ourselves too much credit when prosperity comes our way. He tells us not to exalt ourselves. When prosperity comes remember from where it came. This is such a crucial reminder to all of us that we do not think that it is by the power of our own hands and of our own work and skill that we find ourselves where we do today. It is completely up to God as Job reminds us. At any time our lives and our things may be required of us.
In Mark 8 we have a compilation of events from Jesus healing and again telling people to not telling anyone, to Peter’s confession of who Jesus is, the Messiah. He then follows this up with a denial that Jesus will die and Jesus calling him Satan. Not bad for a single day’s work.