Deuteronomy 30:11-14; 32:45-47 "That You May Have Life"

Moses exhorts the people of Israel to remember and be in the Word of God.  It is not too difficult to know; it is not far off.  God’s Word is very near to them, and to us as well.  We need to Engage the Word, to know the voice of the Shepherd, and we will then see the transformative work of the Holy Spirit.

Day 61: Deuteronomy 32-34; It is No Empty Word for You…

When we read the song of Chapter 32, we are tempted to think of all the things that we know about Israel, all the things that they will do and all the disobedience that is to come in their story.  Upon their hearing this though, none of that (except for the wilderness happenings) would have taken place yet.  They didn’t know how bad they were going to be, but God was giving them this song to remember as a way so saying “I know you have sinned, I know you have done evil, but I am faithful and will forgive if you will turn from your wickedness and love me once again.”  Like much of the music that we sing in worship today, this song gains meaning based on the amount of sin they had committed.  Some days I can sing songs like “Amazing Grace” and have little reaction to it… but there are others, when I know I have had a bad week that I cannot help be stand in awe at God’s marvelous grace.  I imagine many in Israel would have had a similar reaction in hearing this song.

Some of my favorite words in the entirety of the Old Testament appear at the end of the book of Deuteronomy.  As we talked about yesterday, it is abundantly clear that these words are inextricably linked to the reading of the Law, and specifically the Shema of Deuteronomy 6.  The end of Deuteronomy makes so little sense without the beginning.  Moses is, in his final words to Israel, impressing on them how important these words are.  They are not just empty, they are the very lifeblood of the Children of God.  These are the words that find fulfillment in this command:

“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 6:6-9

Neither are these words empty for us.  The word of God is our very life, that which roots us to God and teaches us how to love Him.  The people of Israel couldn’t take these words lightly, neither can we take these words lightly.  They are the lifeblood of our faith:

“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.”

Finally, we see again an example of the significance of blessings.  Moses has called Joshua forward and laid his hands on him.  Moses gave Joshua a blessing and we read at the end of Deuteronomy that Joshua is filled with “the spirit of wisdom” and also has the ability to lead the people.  This is, in essence, what it meant to receive a blessing to the Hebrew people; power transferred from one to another.  I wonder what it would be like if we began to bless one another, or viewed the final blessing of a worship service in this manner?  I wonder what would happen if we truly believed that we were being sent out in the power of God given to us in the Holy Spirit to live and to love as God has called us to?  Would we be changed?  I hope so!

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.  Amen!

Day 60: Deuteronomy 30-31; A Matter of Life and Death

“For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off.  It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’  Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’  But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.”

There is so much that is said in these last 5 chapters of Deuteronomy.  This really is Moses farewell address; his last effort to impress upon the people of Israel the importance of the Law and of following God.  Reading this, it doesn’t take long to realize either that this section of Scripture, Deuteronomy 30-34, is inextricably linked to the reading of the Law, and specifically the Shema of Deuteronomy 6.  It is about loving the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength!  God is impressing upon the people what will happen to them if they don’t, but also reassuring them that when they return to Him, His blessing will again be with them.

Again, the distinction is made between the life that comes from following the Lord and the death that comes from not.  These words, spoken some 3000 years ago have held their meaning throughout the ages.  I think of my own life, when I am following God, loving Him as best I can, and trying to stay in tune with Him in my life, I see myself being happier, joyful, and prospering (not necessarily in a monetary sense but within my soul).  When I become disconnected from God, life seems empty and messed up.  Other things try to fill the void that is left to no avail.

God also impresses one more thing on to this command, the point that these things are not too lofty or difficult to do.  He points out that they are not difficult to understand, with some hidden knowledge that people might not be able to comprehend.  It is made clear too that the things being asked of them are not too difficult that some might be unable to accomplish them.  The life that God calls us to live is made abundantly available to us in a manner that is easy and understandable, attainable for all people.  And yet, even this is not enough to get us to God or to get us in right standing with God.  The physical actions must be accompanied by inward transformation (circumcision of the heart).

These people have just come from the wilderness, a place that is often barren and desolate.  The wilderness is a powerful image in Hebrew Scripture.  “Wilderness signals the reversal of creation, a land that moves from the centered, ordered, predictable, secure places of home and city to the de-centered, chaotic, unpredictable, fragile, and sometimes hostile regions beyond the borders of cities and outside the purview of home.  Wilderness features a transition from that which is familiar to that which is unfamiliar, from safety to fragility, from known to unknown, from structured to unstructured, from close cloistered spaces to wide open spaces. The wilderness strips you of everything superfluous and reduces you to that which is most essential, most necessary, most vital for life. In this way the wilderness plays an indispensable role in shaping and forming identity.”  -Travis West

God intentionally led the people of Israel into the wilderness and kept them there for a time, intentionally stripping them of their identity of being slaves to Egypt.  In that time they were re-identified as the people of God, given new purpose through the Laws set down for them.  It is only after this process is “complete” that they were allowed to enter into the promise land… allowed to become what they were intended to be.

In many ways we too face the wilderness in our lives.  In the year of this writing, we are currently in the time of Lent.  This is a time in which we are invited to enter into the wilderness of life, as Israel and Jesus did, to be stripped bare of all those things we don’t need.  We are to be un-identified with all the things that we would use to find our identity in, and then re-identified and re-centered on Christ.  In a way, we choose to be “dis-membered” so that as we approach the time of Easter and remember the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday, we can come and be “re-membered” in Christ as we remember Christ’s death.  And even in this time we hear the words of God through Moses echo in our ears, “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.”

May it be that we choose Life!

Day 59: Deuteronomy 28-29; Covenant Renewal

The first thing that we come upon today is a section of blessings and curses for following and ignoring the law respectively.  Deuteronomy 28 is very similar to the Leviticus 26, we we talked about roughly 3 weeks ago.

Chapter 29 of Deuteronomy begins the final section of the book, or ends the middle section, depending on how you look at it I suppose.  In any case, it is an occasion when the people of Israel got together and renewed the covenant.  This happens many times in the Bible, either after some big event, or in a time when it hasn’t been done in a while and the people have fallen away.  Here, as they prepare to enter into the promised land to take it over, they are coming out of 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.  For them it is a time to come together and say, “we’re in!”  and proclaim together that they will follow the Lord’s commands.  They’ve heard the stipulations and the rewards/punishment for their subsequent attempt to follow the covenant, they know what they are getting themselves into… all there is to do is to say YES!!

A favorite author of mine once said that “all Christian worship is an occasion for covenant renewal.”  It is a time when we can come together and hear God’s word for us; a time when we can collectively say once again, “We’re in!”  The Israelites would have had a sign to signify their obedience.  Usually this would have been a sacrifice, or sometimes a ceremonial meal… we have this too in the Lord’s supper.  It is a sign and a seal of the New Covenant in Jesus blood, and we take it into ourselves and it becomes a part of us.  As St. Augustine said, “be what you see, receive what you are.”

When we gather to worship, do we often think in this manner?  Do we come expecting that God will speak to us?  Do we hear and respond “everything the Lord has said, we will do”?  Or is worship simply a task to be accomplished, a thing to do because we’ve always done it?

The next time you enter into worship, remember that we are renewing once again our covenant relationship with the Lord, sealed in our baptism and confirmed time and again at the Table of Our Lord.

Day 58: Deuteronomy 24-27; Keep the Whole Commandment! "Amen!"

Again we encounter a great deal of “miscellaneous laws” that deal with holy living for Israel.  However, these are followed by a very important section of the reading of these laws as they draw to a close.  Moses says to the people from Mount Ebal, “Keep the whole commandment I am giving you today.”  The Hebrew word present here represents the deepest meaning of totality.  Moses is impressing on the people of Israel the necessity of the whole commandment being kept.  He isn’t saying that they can pick and choose, or accept what they like and reject what doesn’t suit them.  I think this is a very important point that is sometimes lost on us as Christians in America, the “western church.”  We tend to avoid a lot of the Scripture that we don’t necessarily like.  These last 2 or 3 books of the Bible is an example of that.  We set them aside, struggle through them, and even sometimes deny their validity all together because we don’t want to read them, or don’t like to hear them.  Yet they are there for a reason, and as the Word of God, they are alive and active in our hearts through the revelation and work of the Holy Spirit.  I hope that you have found these books a little more palatable this time around.  Honestly, as we come to the end of Deuteronomy, I can say that this is one of two times I have honestly read the whole of these books.  I have been struck very deeply by the incredible depth and breadth of information and meaning that are contained here, and how these things really set the stage for the rest of God’s story.

The other interesting thing that I found in this passage was the continual repetition of the word “Amen.”  This word comes from the Hebrew word “אָמֵֽן” which is literally pronounced “amen.”  The meaning is deep and the impact of the word is equally as deep.  When we say “Amen” at the end of a prayer, sermon, or reading of the Word of God, we aren’t simply sticking a Christian word there as a way of some sort of Christian punctuation, we are echoing the words of the Hebrew people saying “we believe it!” or “we believe it will take place.”  It also means: verily, truly, so be it.  It is a testament, a confession that we are not simply just saying these things, but that they matter and we know that God will act.  At the end of our worship services, Pastor Scott gives a benediction or blessing.  Usually he says, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you… Amen.”  Traditionally, the congregation would either say “amen” with him, or respond by saying “amen.”  It is a way for us to say, “Yes!  We truly believe that the grace of Jesus Christ is with us!”    The same goes for us ending a prayer with the word “amen.”  Conversely, as the people are saying the word “amen” here in this passage, they are acknowledging that if they do the things that they are told not to do, the curse of God will be on them.  For them, they are saying “truly God will make this happen.” A startling acknowledgement?  Perhaps for us.  But from a people so shaped by the presence of God in their everyday life, it seems to be the only logical response.

The next time you say “amen,” keep in mind the confession you are making by using this abundantly common Christian word.

May the Word of God dwell in you richly, and may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the fellowship and power of the Holy Spirit be with you, now and always.  Amen!  Amen!

Day 57: Deuteronomy 20-23; Warfare, and "Miscellaneous" Laws

I don’t seem to remember the rules of engagement being quite like this… but there is a purpose for them.  God knows that His people are subject to the swaying of those around them.  Like the incident with the Golden Calf in Exodus that happened in isolation from other nations, it wouldn’t take long for the people of Israel to turn from God while living in amongst people that worship other gods.  Not only is the worship of idols abominable to God, but He want to protect His chosen people from the sin He knows they will commit should they not fully remove the nations of Canaan.  One thing I did notice here is the initial offer of peace to a city prior to its attack.  While I don’t know if one would rather choose forced servitude over annihilation, I do think that it shows the compassion of God.  Why?  Because, if you have read some of the laws concerning the slaves that Hebrews own, it points very clearly to good treatment and even alludes to their inclusion in the covenant relationship with God.  All males slaves were to be circumcised, which was a sign of the covenant, and they were to be set free at certain times and festivals.

The rest of today’s reading was, again, review of what has already been said.  Remember, Deuteronomy is considered to be a summary book of the Law given by Moses as a sort of “final address” to the people of Israel that He had been leading for over forty years.  Much of what is said here today has been written in what I called the “Holiness Codes” of Leviticus or Exodus, but again points to how God’s people are to be set apart, different from the nations around them.  It is likely that many other nations would have shown such mercy in war, or treated an un-liked wife with any sort of respect.  It is also likely that many of the practices of the nations around them were unclean and sinful in the eyes of the Lord.  God wants His people to be a shining example of what it means to be God’s people.  Again, we use the term “Kingdom of Priests” and “A Holy Nation.”  Interestingly, if we were to go back throughout the whole of the Old Testament that we have read so far and reviewed all of the laws therein, we would find that indeed there is a specific way of living that is commanded by God.  However, that wouldn’t stand up to a hill of beans if there wasn’t some sort of inward transformation that was taking place as well.  Again, we return to the words of the Shema and that of Leviticus 19, on which all the law stands.  It isn’t about upholding the rules and saying that others can’t be like them, its about cultivating a community of grace in which the Love of God is shown in their living and thus extends from each person to the others.

Too often, in the Church, we have kept outsiders out of our walls and communities because they don’t live up to our morals or the codes by which we have defined Christianity…  I wonder though, if that doesn’t make us a little bit more like the Pharisees and religious leaders of Jesus time (the ones that He criticized) and less like the community of grace that God has called us to be.  I wonder if, in our quest to uphold a moral way of living we may have forgotten the true reason for living that way… to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength AND to love your neighbor as yourself.

Day 56: Deuteronomy 16-19; Feasts, Kings, and the Future…

There are some interesting parts of our reading today.  We start off with some more information about the feasts that are to be remembered and the rules that go along with them.  I’m sure a lot of this was familiar, at least on some level, as we have read it in the past couple weeks in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers.  God continues to impress upon His people the importance of living in right relationship with Him and keeping all of the commandments that He has established.  Each of these feasts is designed to direct the attention of the people of Israel toward God.  The Passover reminds them of God’s power, strength, and faithfulness in bringing the people out of Egypt.  The Feast of Weeks reminds them of God’s providence, sustaining work, and faithfulness in the harvest.  The Feast of Booths also reminds them of God’s providence and faithfulness, but also reminds them of how God guided them in the wilderness and kept them even in their disobedience.  This, again, is all about worship and about loving the Lord with your whole self.  Each of these events are major life events in the cycle of the year.  God has set up these times so that the people of Israel may remember always God’s faithfulness towards them.  It is, then, appropriate that this chapter ends by again impressing on the people that they not worship other Gods, ever.

The second thing I noticed in today’s reading was the part about the king.  As you may have noticed, Israel doesn’t have a king currently, and won’t for some time.  In fact, when the people of Israel finally decide that they want a king, there is considerable resistance from Samuel who points to God as their king.  It is important to remember this section, the laws that are for the kings; things like “he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses” and “he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold” will become important later… especially with King Solomon.

Finally, and once again I suppose, there is considerable talk here about the future of Israel.  From kings to future cities, it is important to note that here and now the Lord is telling them all the things that they need to do to obey Him in this new promised land.  In some ways, it was probably easier to follow the Lord when He was right in front of them all the time, leading the way and dwelling in the Tabernacle for all to see.  However, that won’t necessarily be the case once they settle across the vastness of Canaan.  So here and now the Lord is “pre-planning” this out for them, even going so far as to tell them what can and will happen if they don’t follow all these things that He says.  Again, this is a good thing to remember… because they don’t…  However, God is and always will be faithful to His word!

Day 55: Deuteronomy 12-15; Concerning worship…

Well… I’ve never seen an Asherim pole, nor have I seen a high place like is being described today.  Nor has anyone ever claimed to be a prophet to me and told me about something amazing and then tried to get me to follow other gods.  Again, I wonder how relevant to us Scripture like this is.  We’ve talked at great lengths about the Holiness of God and how His people were to be set apart and be a kingdom of priests.  These things are quite important as they continue to set the stage for the rest of Scripture.  Many of these themes are echoed throughout the Bible, both Old and New Testaments.

We’ve also talked about the Sabbath regulations and the need to set aside time for the Lord.  There are many parts of the Law that have to do with setting aside something for the Lord.  Why do we do this?  I think that part of it has to do with the understanding that all things belong to God.  The Lord has given us all of the many blessings that we have, and asks us to be in right mind about them and to trust that the Lord will continue to provide for us.  I think it is also a part of living out the Shema that we talked about on Friday.  Jesus says that all of the laws and prophets hang on this command to Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and strength.  As we discussed, the strength portion of that statement has to do with wealth as well.

But perhaps there is more to this section than just review.  There is a great deal of talk about worship here, especially not worshiping other gods.  Again, I don’t think that we are necessarily tearing down Asherim poles in our spare time, but there are things in our lives that do detract us from God, right?  Maybe it isn’t a profit that tells us some miraculous thing that happen but a news man that tells us of something some celebrity or political person does.  Would a story like that consume our minds… and possibly draw us into gossip about it?  Perhaps we are being warned here to stay away from such trivialities… Or maybe we have gotten really good at carving out time for that special TV show, book, exercise activity, or maybe video games, yet we aren’t so good at carving out time for God… I wonder if our idols are not made of wood and stone anymore, but of processors, screens, “reality” shows, and/or made up dramas that capture our attention and our hijack hearts…

Day 54: Deuteronomy 8-11; Not Because of Righteousness…

Sometimes I read things in the Bible and laugh… the way things are said, the way that God explains something… just seems a bit funny.  I try to imagine myself being one of the original hearers of that message and what I would think.  Deuteronomy 8 starts with this:

“Hear, O Israel: you are to cross over the Jordan today, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, cities great and fortified up to heaven, a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak?’  Know therefore today that he who goes over before you as a consuming fire is the Lord your God. He will destroy them and subdue them before you. So you shall drive them out and make them perish quickly, as the Lord has promised you.”

As I was reading it, I laughed.  Its like telling someone, “you’re going to do this job.  There is no pay and you have to deal with everyone’s complaints and its going to be awful… oh yeah, and God will be with you.”  I was thinking… maybe you could lead with that first part next time… it might make me a bit more willing to hear it!  Haha!

Yet, even in this apparent humor, there is something very important here, which really becomes the basis for the doctrine of salvation by grace (sola gratia) and the doctrine of election.  God says, “Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness.”  One of the sins that Israel falls into later is living in the idea that the covenant is all about them because of who they are, but God is clearly saying here that it doesn’t have anything to do with them. God chose them, not the other way around.  God chooses us… not the other way around.  It doesn’t have anything to do with how good we are, were, or will be.  We are offered the gift of grace, to be united with Christ through His blood because of God’s great love for us!  Because He chose us.

Later in this reading we see something else that is abundantly important.  God tells the people of Israel to “circumcise your hearts.”  The sign of circumcision is something that God commanded the people to do as a sign of their participation in the covenant.  Like our infant baptism, this happens to babies without their say or any action from them… again, the idea of our inclusion not because of our own righteousness.  However, it isn’t the circumcision of the flesh that is important… it is the “circumcision of the heart” that means something.  As part of the covenant, the people are called to “be holy as God is holy.”  They are called to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind.  They are called to keep these things on their hearts, and to make them a part of our everyday lives.  It isn’t about the physical act, its about the spiritual transformation that takes place.

Finally, another rather important thing that comes up here.  As you were reading Deuteronomy 11 you probably noticed the repetition some things that you read from yesterday in Deuteronomy 6.  Repetition in the Bible always indicates something that is very important.  I talk about this in another blog post on my personal blog, Worship Discussions.  This section of Deuteronomy is spoken with the bookends of the words of the Shema, which we talked about yesterday.  These words are very important.  God is impressing upon the people of Israel the importance of placing His Words on their hearts; that these Words need to go with them and be with them, at the center of every aspect of their life.  It is repeated time and again at the beginnings of each paragraph:

“You shall therefore love the Lord your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always…”

“You shall therefore keep the whole commandment that I command you today…”

“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…”

“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…”

And finally to end the chapter and this section of Deuteronomy:

“you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the rules that I am setting before you today.”

Day 53: Deuteronomy 5-7; Shema

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 (lenses) between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

One of the things that is being impressed upon us, yesterday, today, and throughout the book of Deuteronomy, is the importance of remembering the work of God in our lives.  Yesterday we talked about being careful that we don’t forget.  Today we hear the 10 commandments reiterated to us once again.  These are followed very closely by the words of the Hebrew “Shema.”  This is considered, by Hebrews from then through today, to be one of, if not the most important passage in the Hebrew Texts.  For them it was, as it is for us, one of the greatest statements of faith and of living the way God calls us to live, and of the importance that these things should have in our lives.  We don’t just arbitrarily read the Bible… we invest time into it… we immerse ourselves in it.  In many ways, we read the Word and let it read us as we open our hearts and our minds to the things that God is revealing to us about Himself and consequently about ourselves as well.

I could go on and on about this passage!  It is so great!  However, being that we have limited time and space here, I think that there are four words that maybe need defining a little bit in order to make this reading a bit more… meaning-full.  Words from Hebrew do not often translate in a one-to-one ratio.  There are nuanced meanings in English words and Hebrew words that may get lost in translation.  We have to understand that our own words are also packed with meaning that we give them… thus we shall look today at some of the original meanings with their nuances in order to help us better understand what God is calling us to today.

HEAR – שְׁמַ֖ע – “shema” – hear, listen, obey, heed, understand, try, examine – This word carries the meaning of not simply hearing something, but listening to it in a way that it affects you and has an effect on you.  If you think about hearing in today’s terms, our lives are clouded with a vast amount of noise pollution.  We often have music, TV, radio, and a myriad of other things on in the background because of our dislike of silence.  We hear those things, but its just noise.  Here God is saying “LISTEN” to my words, understand and obey them, do not simply let them passively wash over you.

HEART – לְבָבְךָ֥ – “levav” – inner man, mind, will, heart, soul, understanding – Our understanding of the heart as the seat of the emotions and the mind as the logical center is something that is so ingrained in us that we don’t necessarily understand how to live in any other way.  We are often told that we shouldn’t let our emotions get in the way of our thoughts, or that we should just ‘go with our hear.’  In this case, the Hebrew people would have heart the word “levav” and understood it to mean what we know as both the mind and the heart.  In other words, all your ways of knowing the world.  You shall love the Lord your God with all of your thinking and feeling abilities… all of your ways of interacting (on a non-physical level) with the world.  All of your logic, all of emotions, and all of the ways that you process inwardly are to be used for loving God.

SOUL – נַפְשְׁךָ֖ – “nephesh” – soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion – The word “nephesh” as a Hebrew word really has no good translation.  We have transferred its meaning into the word ‘soul’ which is partially appropriate, but also misses a great deal of the nuance of the word.  Nephesh would really be all of the ways of interacting with the world that would have been left out with “levav.”  Your “nephesh” is who you are, what makes you… you.  Your personality, your hobbies, your desires, your work… your whole self.  Emotions and passions tend to be included in this as well because of how we think of those things in relationship to that which we do in our lives.  Simply put… we are to love the Lord our God with our WHOLE SELF!  Even, apparently, our appetites.

MIGHT – מְאֹדֶֽךָ – “Me’od” – power, strength, very, greatly, sore, exceeding, great, exceedingly, much, exceeding , exceedingly, diligently, good, might, mightily – Roughly translated… “me’od” means ‘muchness.’  If you have some sort of a spell checker, you will see that ‘muchness’ isn’t actually a word.  If we look at what we are loving God with so far, it encompasses all of our inward and outward being.  This word indicates then, all of the things that make up our lives.  For Hebrew people, one’s strength and power was related to his (and I say his because it was a patriarchal society) family, his wealth (money, flocks, herds, servants, etc), his house, his land, defenses, etc.  All of these things were to be used to love God completely and bring glory to Him.  While loving God with your exceedingly large biceps is a nice thing, this really means a bit more than that.

There is so much more to this verse… parts that I hope we can come back to as we continue to read.  In the mean time, remember that loving God with our everything is important… however, as we read on, it is also abundantly important to keep the Word of God close to your heart and ever present in your lives.  Teach these words diligently to your children and impress it upon them!  I leave you with a song today, may it remain in your heart and mind as you think on these things today!