Go Vols! Ok, I think I got that out of my system. Eh not really. For those of you who may not know, I am a Tennessee Volunteers fan. I know that doesn’t necessarily strike a chord with a lot of you, but it may with a few. I bring this up not to tell you that I am not really a fan of all Tennessee sports, but I consider myself to bleed orange and white specifically when it comes to UT football. I count myself among the myriad of rednecks who wear orange on Saturdays in the fall for football and on other days as a tacky fashion choice. You have to understand, there are a lot of weird traditions that encircle Tennessee football. Some make sense, and some…well. But my favorite of these occurs on home game days at Robert Neyland stadium (you can put your hat back on your head now). As the Tennessee players exit the locker room to take the field they tap a sign above the door frame that happens to be likened unto the shape of the great state of Tennessee and that sign reads, “I will give my all for Tennessee today.”
Now there are times in the past when I have wondered whether or not the players on the field took that seriously. But I love the expression behind it. In the immediate moments prior to their physical engagement with their opponent, a UT athlete is reminded of the reason he competes and who he is representing. It kind of reminds me of this verse found in Deuteronomy 6:5-6, “Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” In this passage, God is reminding Israel that the commands he gives them are to always be before them; on their heads, their hands, and even on their door frames. This practice of putting the law on the doorframes of the houses came to be known as the Mezuzah (the Hebrew word for door frame) and in many Jewish homes today you will even see a little box on the side of the doorframe as you exit the house. This little box contains some of the law from Deuteronomy and it serves as a reminder. What does it remind us of? That question is answered later in the chapter, “In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” tell him: ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt…'” – Deuteronomy 6:20-21. The mezuzah, the law itself was a reminder of who God was, who we had been and ultimately what God had done for us.
Now think about this with me for a moment. Every time a faithful Israelite exited his/her home they were reminded of their identity. Every time a Tennessee player exits the locker room they are reminded of their identity. What mezuzah do we have established in our homes. Do we just exit our house without a thought as to who we are and who we represent? Are we in such a rush that we forget to remember what God has done for us and how it should effect our entire state of being? I myself have found that taking a moment before I leave my home to remind myself of my identity has reshaped my life in amazing ways. May we find the time to establish a mezuzah for ourselves and for our children before we forget who we are.