6 Building on God’s incomparable identity and his demand for absolute loyalty from Israel, Moses addresses how to live out this divine expectation. How will a recognition of Yahweh’s exclusive relationship with Israel and Israel’s total allegiance manifest itself? Those who live in the light of these realities will have transformed lives and invest themselves in passing on those life-changing beliefs to the next generation. They will not be content with leading lives for God’s glory but will earnestly desire to help give to their children a life-changing awareness of their great and mighty God.
Moses delineates the inward perspective (v. 6) and the generational perspective (vv. 7–9) that characterizes a life transformed by undivided allegiance to the incomparable God. God’s people are to internalize God’s expectations of them. The “words” that Yahweh commands them to appropriate do not refer only to the Ten Commandments but also to the sum total of what he expects of them. Those words should be “upon your hearts”—perpetually kept in mind.
Moses here affirms that a clear understanding of God’s character that results in a sincere commitment to one’s relationship with God (loving God wholeheartedly) should strike at the very heart of one’s being (4:9; 10:16; 11:18; Pr 3:1; 4:4; 6:21; Jer 4:4). In other words, understanding who God is (6:4) should lead to absolute loyalty (6:5), which leads to internal transformation (6:6). It is essential to notice that God did not command external conformity to his requirements, nor did he expect this wholehearted obedience just from the religious “elite.”
Many of God’s people get into trouble because they lack a discerning spirit. They walk right into Satan’s traps and never even know what hit them. “I can’t imagine what went wrong,” they might say. But a person with a discerning spirit will be quick to explain, “Here’s the trap Satan set, and here’s how you fell into it.”
Each of us needs to develop a discerning spirit, rooted in the knowledge of right and wrong, and to teach our children how to do the same. The time to begin teaching them discernment is not when they reach adulthood; we teach it to them from the time they are very young. Moses told the Israelites they must thoroughly train their children in God’s commandments:
These words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 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. (Deut. 6:6–9)
We must know right from wrong, not only in theory but in practice. We must know how to apply God’s truth to our lives and how to live in obedience to His commandments. That’s why Moses instructed us to teach our children God’s commandments throughout the day, not just in a half-hour Sunday school lesson. We are to say plainly to them, “This is right behavior; this is wrong behavior. This is God’s commandment. This is the consequence for breaking God’s commandment.” An education in right and wrong must occur twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year.
A child thoroughly trained in God’s commandments, who knows right from wrong, has very little trouble discerning Satan at work. He quickly picks up signals that tell him when things are askew; his conscience remains alive and sensitive. So he avoids becoming a slow-moving target for the enemy.
6:6 These words … on your heart. The people were to think about these commandments and meditate on them so that obedience would not be a matter of formal legalism, but a response based upon understanding. The law written upon the heart would be an essential characteristic of the later New Covenant (see Jer 31:33).
6:6 on your heart. Cf. 4:39. The demand is for a heart that totally loves the Lord. Deuteronomy anticipates the new covenant, when God’s words will be truly and effectively written on the heart (Jer. 31:31–34; also Deut. 30:6–8).
6:6 these words The Ten Commandments, which are literally known in the Hebrew as the “ten words” (Exod 34:28). The phrase “these words” and similar ones refer to the entirety of the law (e.g., Deut 4:2, 40; 6:1–2; 19:9; 28:1, 14–15).
on your heart Israelites must take them to heart—commit them to memory and make them an integral part of their life.
6:6 The Shema must be more than a mere abstraction: it must first be deeply ingrained in the heart (that is, the mind; v. 5) and then put into action.
 Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Dt 6:6). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Dt 6:6). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.