God means what He says. When He was giving the nation of Israel instructions for life, He told them to commit to Him wholeheartedly. Completely. Without distraction. Without wavering. He gives us the same instruction.
God made humans, so He knows their limitations. They are fallible with their leaky memories. So He offered this instruction to help them keep His laws. He told them to bind His instructions to their hands and wear them on their foreheads as reminders.
Let’s think about that. If we have something bound to our hand, we see it no matter what we do, but the one on our forehead? We don’t usually see that unless we’re looking in a mirror. I think that requirement has a twofold purpose:
- so that others will see it and be reminded to commit themselves to the Lord, and
- so that when one looks at their reflection, they remember that they are not God, and thus not the One to be worshipped and followed.
Thousands of years ago, the Jewish people came up with phylacteries. Merriam-Webster defines that as, “either of two small square leather boxes containing slips inscribed with scriptural passages and traditionally worn on the left arm and on the head by observant Jewish men and especially adherents of Orthodox Judaism during morning weekday prayers.” Brittanica shares a bit more information about this tool created in answer to these words from God.
I have thought this is such an amazing way to hold fast to this scripture! In the picture above, you see Jewish men wearing the phylacteries. You can see the one on the arm of the man at the top of the photo.
We who are followers of Jesus don’t generally wear phylacteries, but we sometimes wear things that are meant to help guide our focus back to the Creator. A cross on a chain around our neck, a WWJD bracelet, a blue cord around our wrist, a ring — all things initiated with the thought to remind us of our commitment to the Almighty One.
As with most everything, however, our leaky memories and distracted minds enjoy the beauty of the jewelry without a second thought as to the reason for it.
It’s time to corral our thoughts and govern our minds.
Where do you find yourself most distracted from your commitment to God? What kind of phylactery can you put into place to remind you that you’re not God and that you’ve made an eternal covenant with Him?
Today is the day to stop thinking about it and do it. Take the steps to confess and repent of your choices to bypass Him, to ignore Him, to choose you over Him and repent — determine the new path you’re taking with Him and start walking it.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.