“For this commandment which I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it far away. It is not in heaven, that you could say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us and get it for us, and proclaim it to us, so that we may follow it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you could say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us and get it for us and proclaim it to us, so that we may follow it?’ On the contrary, the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may follow it” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14 NASB).
Did you ever play hide-and-seek as a child? The goal, of course, was not to get caught. Playing it outdoors during summer nights was the best. We sometimes act like we’re in a game of hide-and-seek with God. He hides Himself from us and His will.
The book of Deuteronomy says differently. God’s commands are not too baffling or distant. His Word is near; it’s in your mouth and heart to do it. God does not seek to confuse us or hide His will from us. He wants us to understand what pleases Him and what He desires from us. That’s why He gave us His Word.
But in the same breath that Deuteronomy states that His Word is near us, it describes the nature of its nearness, in our mouth and heart.
Throughout the book of Deuteronomy, the children of Israel are told to “repeat these words” that they are being commanded. This reflects the oral repetition common in ancient cultures. Repeat these words. The repetition of God’s commands makes His Word near in our mouths.
Within the Bible, the heart was not seen as the seat of human emotion, as in English today. Rather, the heart was seen as the seat of reason and cognitive function. The action of the heart, then, was to think, to meditate instead of feel. God’s Word being in your heart means that you think on it, meditate on it. This brings His Word near to us.
The repetition of His Word brings it near, which leads us to observe it and to do it. God’s Word is not esoteric or abstract. In fact, we perceive it when we repeat it, meditate upon it, and do it. We cannot know God’s Word and meditate upon it if we do not learn it.
Devotionals are helpful in stimulating our thinking, but they do not bring God’s Word near to us. For that, we must continually speak God’s Word, meditate on it, and live it out each day.
Father, Your Word is life; it gives life; it instructs us. May we know it and You better as we study it, meditate upon it, and do it. Amen.