In response to Yahweh’s call, Moses led Yahweh’s people out of Egypt, to Mount Sinai, through forty years of living in the wilderness, and finally to the very edge of the Promised Land. Sadly, Moses was to die before leading Yahweh’s people that last step across the Jordan River.
Not wanting to leave anything to chance or the Olympian gods, Moses chose, during his final days, to remind Yahweh’s people of all they had learned of Yahweh’s relationship to them and of theirs to Yahweh. He reminded them of Yahweh’s supremacy over all other gods and gave them a great confession of faith: “Hear, O Israel: Yahweh is our god, Yahweh alone” (Deuteronomy 6:4).
Moses then gave us what Jesus later would call the first and greatest commandment: “You shall love [Yahweh] your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (6:5, English Standard Version, here and following). Jesus would add that we should also love Yahweh with all our mind (Mark 12:30).
How might we express this total love for Yahweh? To begin with, by making his words the center of all we talked about.
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 (6:6-9).
The words of the Bible are the written Word of God (as Karl Barth put it). Today they form the structure and substance of our tufluvian personality. When we speak words consistent with the written Word of God, Jesus—the incarnate Word of God—may take and make them his own spoken Word of God (Barth again).
Of course we want to teach the words of the Bible to our children so that they, too, may form a sturdy good tufluvian personality. As Moses commanded, we want to keep these words the substance of all our words whether we are speaking at home or out in our community. We want to speak them from the moment we awaken until we go to sleep again. We want to keep our mind focused on them and express their meaning in all that we do.
Sadly, we Christians are not doing this. The words we share with one another as we gather on Sundays, any spontaneous words expressed during the liturgy, the words of the sermon, and finally the words we again exchange after worship, generally all these words are not from the Bible or centered on Jesus Christ. Usually they come from the Olympian media and are unintentionally but actually about the gods. Next Sunday, when you go to worship, listen to what your fellow Christians are talking about. Are the words, the topics of conversation, about the Bible or the media? Are the words about Jesus Christ or about politics, war, technology, sex, money, and consumption?
This then is our reality. We are immersing ourselves, day and night, in the Olympian media. We may refer to the Olympian media as a whole as the Anti-bible. Constantly making the Anti-bible the substance of our conversations means forming sturdy evil Olympian personalities in our children. It means strengthening the anti-Christian nature of our homes, communities, and even churches.
Jesus is the narrow gate through which we pass to enter the difficult path of freedom which is based on truth, expressed through love, and leads to fullness of life. The Bible is our best witness to him and to life following him on that path. Even today he most enjoys speaking to us his life-transforming words through the words of the Bible.
Satan is the wide gate through which we enter the popular highway of power which is based on falsehood, expressed through indifference, and ends in despair, destruction, and death. The Anti-bible is our best witness to him and to life with him on that highway. If we make the Anti-bible the substance of our thought and action, Satan happily keeps us enslaved to him through our devotion to the six false yet conventional gods we keep constantly talking about.
May we Christians repent of our immersion in the Anti-bible and devotion to the false gods who star in it. May we instead rejoice in immersing ourselves again in words of the Bible, getting those words once again in our head and heart, so that we may again share the light, love, and life of Christ with one another.
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