When COVID hit last spring, my family joined the throngs signing up for a trial subscription to Disney+. Free and bountiful in choices, the “plus” offerings delighted our kids and sent our family on a movie binge for several weeks until we realized COVID wasn’t a simple two-week, slow-the-curve reality. We canceled our subscription and pushed our sluggish selves out of the house to walk, ride bikes, and swing in the backyard. The “plus” offering hadn’t made us feel any better about our stay-at-home reality, especially as the novelty of the season wore off, and it wasn’t until we delighted in the good, simple gifts God had given us as a family that we realized we didn’t need “plus” offerings to find our contentment in a difficult season.
While a movie subscription is not necessarily a bad thing (we’ve since chosen a God-focused movie service), “plus” offerings abound in this season and illustrate how hard it is to believe that one choice is enough. We want that “plus” and that “plus” and that “plus,” too. And we do the same thing in our worship of God as we say, “God + ______” is enough. We break the first commandment and set ourselves up for a pattern of idolatry hopping as we move from one God+ to another. Yes, we claim undivided devotion to the King of kings and don’t bow down to golden calves, but in practice, we are living with split allegiances.
In Psalm 19:10-11, the psalmist David compares the things of the world that are valuable and sweet to the law of the LORD, concluding that God’s ways can never compare to the fleeting pleasures of this world.
More to be desired are they (God’s laws) than gold, even much find gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
God is enough. Satisfaction will not come with God + pleasure, not God + gold, not God + sweet honey. God alone is enough.
What is your +_____ that your heart tends toward?
Because these + __________ items are visible and loud in our lives, we will likely wrestle with them — and others — throughout our lives, especially in the seasons we wrestled with contentment. We must prepare in advance for how we will live and in who or what we will seek satisfaction. We can do this by setting God’s good words of life before us throughout our days. In the Jewish world, this was done morning and night with recitation of the Shema, a prayer from Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21, Numbers 15:37-41. Shema is the Hebrew word for hear, the first word of Deuteronomy 6:4.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.Deuteronomy 6:4-9
And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full. Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and he will shut up the heavens, so that there will be no rain, and the land will yield no fruit, and you will perish quickly off the good land that the Lord is giving you.
You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.Deuteronomy 11:12-21
The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after. So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the Lord your God.”Numbers 15:37-41
How might you establish daily rhythms in your life and physical reminders in your home to keep God’s law ever before you?
Here are a few ideas:
- Set a morning and evening alarm to meditate on sections of Scripture to remind you of the character of God and who you are in Him. Exodus 20:1-17, Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Psalm 19 are excellent places to begin this rhythm.
- Add these recordings to your daily playlists. Audios are provided below.
- Copy out these verses in a journal multiple times throughout the summer until you have them memorized.
- Post the Shema, especially Deuteronomy 6:4-5, and/or Luke 10:27 in your home. We’re providing printables and coloring sheets below.