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  • Chad Werkhoven

Deuteronomy 6:1-9 - The Good Life Begins With Theology

Everyone wants to enjoy long life, but few people truly know how.

Deuteronomy 6:1–9

These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you.

4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Listen to passage & devotional:


Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 1

We all believe in our hearts

and confess with our mouths

that there is a single

and simple spiritual being,

whom we call God—







completely wise,


and good,

and the overflowing source of all good.



What a perfect passage to begin a another year of reading through the Bible with! Moses spoke these words to Israel just as they were about to cross the Jordan river to posess the Promised Land. In these words, God speaking through Moses gives His people (both Israel and us) the key to enjoying long life: that you, your children, and their children "may fear the LORD your God... by keeping all of His decrees and commands (v2)."

These promises of enjoying a long life in which things "go well" and in which "you may increase greatly" clearly are made in general terms. Normally, blessings will follow obedience, but not in every specific situation. Sometimes faithful saints will experience long periods of frustration or even early death, while other times those who have no fear for God will seem to prosper.

What's really interesting about these words is that the key to enjoying the good life doesn't just involve blindly following commands, but rather the good life is rooted in theology. Truly successful people must fear God; that is, they must know both who and what God is, as well as how we as people relate to Him.

Today we begin our year long study of theology with this basic truth that God's people have been reciting since they stood on the banks of the Jordan:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

Dig Deeper

You may not be on the cusp of settling into a new land, but we are beginning a new year, so it's a good time to take stock and reset your course where needed. Notice here that as Moses prepares Israel to move in that he mentions nothing about the hard work or logistics that will be needed to feed and house all of the people. Certainly these things are important and necessary - in fact, if you keep reading this passage, God promises to provide these things (v10-12) - but housing and food production are not the top priorities.

The priority God gives us, His people, is to first of all know Him (which is a lifelong endeavor). This priority is the one which must "be on your hearts." The second priority then is to teach this theology to the subsequent generations. How will your new year reflect these top priorities?

This first, foundational theological lesson - that God is one - doesn't seem complicated or even profound, but understanding this is critical. Sin seeks a multiplicity of gods, all of which have the intent to derail you from these top priorities of knowing the true God and helping the coming generations to know Him. Sin wants to dominate all of your heart, soul and strength.

The best way to stay focused is to do what you're doing right now - learning theology directly from God's Word as you study it throughout the week and hear it preached on the Lord's Day.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that as you end 2023 and begin 2024, that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength;



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