Have you ever read the directions on a bottle of shampoo and conditioner?
Massage into wet hair. Let it remain for a minute. Rinse. Repeat as necessary.
I actually used this stuff back in the day. I am not sure why I read the back of a bottle of shampoo recently, but I did. A very simple procedure for an important concept in hair care. I have never been one to concern myself with this sort of hair product as much as others. Yet, I know that it is very critical for some. As I was reading through Deuteronomy these past few days it struck me again the simplicity that Moses used with the people before he turned everything over to Joshua. This book is basically the final sermons of Moses to the people. The most famous of these speeches came near the beginning as he stated what would later be named “The Shema“.
3 Listen, Israel, and be careful to follow [them], so that you may prosper and multiply greatly, because Yahweh, the God of your fathers, has promised you a land flowing with milk and honey.
4 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. 7 Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.
This passage of scripture has been memorized often. In fact, I would encourage you to memorize these verses and tuck them away in your heart and mind as reminders of the importance God places on fidelity in the relationship with Him. Moses lets this sit there for a few days before picking up this theme again. In Deuteronomy 11 Moses, for the most part, repeats what he had told them earlier.
18 “Imprint these words of mine on your hearts and minds, bind them as a sign on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 so that as long as the heavens are above the earth, your days and those of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your fathers.
Not much has changed over the centuries. From shampoo to spirituality we are still down to a simple process for something very important. There is a “preacher story” that has been passed down over the generations about a young pastor who preached a sermon one Sunday and was surprised when God told him to preach it again the next Sunday. A few people realized that this was a repeat sermon but dismissed it as inexperience on the pastor’s part. The third Sunday came along and God had instructed the young man to preach the same message again. This time a few more picked up on it and still disregarded as the young man struggling to find something to say. The fourth time he preached the message the leadership pulled him aside and began to discuss why he was preaching the same message. Did he need help? Was he called to preach or not? Was he overwhelmed? Could he not find something else in the whole Bible? After they said their peace, the pastor calmly responded that God had inspired Him to preach this same message each week until they started practicing its points. In fact, he would repeat it as often as needed until they started living out the message God intended. This is what I see Moses doing with the people in Deuteronomy 6 and 11. He will repeat this same theme again before the end of Deuteronomy.
Were the people slow? Maybe. Was there nothing else to say? No. God wanted the people to get something very simple, yet profound in importance. God is still doing it today.
- Get Wet– God prepares our heart in many ways for the truth He wants us to have. The tragedy, death, struggle, or pain that you have had recently is a possible time of preparation. God has a lesson for you. May we settle down long enough to hear what God is saying. Putting shampoo into dry hair is useless. There has to be something there for it to lather up with to become useful. Like wetting our hair to prepare for the shampoo, God allows things into our lives to prepare us for a productive and developmental moment in our lives.
- Let it Sit– Sometime we want a quick solution and immediate response from God. However, how many times have our “questions” in prayer been left hanging? How often do we get up without a clear answer. If we don;’t have immediate peace, immediate healing, or immediate results we become frustrated and seek alternative answers outside of God and His Will. Meanwhile, God simply needed our faith and trust to develop a bit while the situation permeated our soul. Like that conditioner, if we rinse too soon then it has no lasting effect.
- Rinse and Repeat. How often have we walked through a difficult time and never once opened our hands and hearts to God? How often do we find ourselves right back where we started, only getting more mad at God rather than compliant? If we do not learn the lesson the first time, God will likely rinse and repeat as necessary. That recurring bad choice leads to the same place. Learn what God has for you. That relationship issue you continue to face leads to loneliness again. Learn the lesson from God so that repeating won’t be necessary. Moses repeated the same thoughts over and over because he suspected the people were not getting it. God had already forecast for them the eventual demise of the country because of disobedience. He still offered an alternative if they would only remain faithful.
Shampoo spirituality is not something we should take likely. In fact, every time you wash or condition your hair think about how God wants to work in your life. Have you gotten all wet with life lately? Consider what God is trying to tell you. Do you feel stuck right now? Does it feel like God is not listening to your pleas? Consider asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what you are missing. Stop begging for release and relief and start seeking the truth in the moment. Doing this more often leads to a simpler life with God and less repeating of circumstances to get our attention.