Why were the Jews told to write out scripture on their gates? I get that having God's word written inside our houses would be a great reminder to stay focused on the Lord. But what is the significance of the gates? Is that like "Christian graffiti"?
In Old Testament society, gates
refers to the strategic public space (just by the gates through the city wall) where elders deliberated, cases were tried, important notices were read out, and kings might even set their thrones (Joshua 20:4; 2 Samuel 18:24, 19:8; 1 Kings 22:10; 2 Chronicles 18:9, 32:6; Esther 2:19; Job 29:7; Psalms 9:14; Proverbs 1:21, 8:3, 31:23,31; Jeremiah 1:15, 39:3; Lamentations 5:14).So Deuteronomy 6:9 (and 11:20) means that God's people were to place reminders of his commandments not only in their homes -- and on their own bodies! -- but also in public places. They theoretically lived in a theocracy (one nation under God), a holy commonwealth (see Exodus 19:6). God was the head, and for all intents and purposes the nation was the church. There was to be consensus on the rules for life and morality and worship, and this consensus was to be enforced (for example, Deuteronomy 13:1-18) This is far from the situation today, where Christians never make up more than a small minority of society.
While this means that we lack the warrant to sustain Christianity through the state, force it on others who may not share our convictions, or be "in your face" with our beliefs, it doesn't mean that we should be ashamed of our Lord or back away from strong conviction.
While we have no warrant to insist on posting the 10 Commandments, or any other religious message, in a public place, we do have a command to make the most of our opportunities, pointing others to God with respect and grace.
How about us? Do we stand up for Him? Does this characterize our lives, or do we shrink back (Hebrews 10:38-39)? For, in the words of 2 Timothy 2:11-13,
The saying is sure:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he will also deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.