I grew up wealthy enough to know how to have a good time. Sunny days beckoned shopping in outdoor malls, lunch at local restaurants and grabbing some ice cream afterwards. A free concert in the park was nice, but couldn’t replace days of browsing at a book store and getting coffee on my way to buy some new shoes.
Moses says to Israel, as they anticipate finding a home in the Promised Land:
“So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors” (Deuteronomy 11:18-21).
Ecclesiastes tells us, as do various proverbs, to enjoy our friends and food during our short existence. But for me, my enjoyment of those things stole away pleasures like walking through cool, wooded paths and thinking about God’s power and creativity. Pleasures like the strength of my little sister’s arms around me before I fly away again to a place far from her.
I think in this section of Deuteronomy Moses is telling the people how important it is to remember God’s words, his laws and promises, throughout the ordinary experiences of their day. I think he’s telling Israel to find God in the most common places and to use those findings to bring their hearts closer to him.
Seeing God in ordinary places will look different for everyone. Some of us will recite the Bible to our children; others will simply talk about truth we observe. Some of us will buy plaques with Bible verses, or write them on post-its, or copy them in journals. The point isn’t how we remind ourselves to find God in the trees and in the everyday rain, but whether or not we do at all.