The Great Commandment.
“And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” – Deuteronomy 6:5 NLT
Sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it? Here in chapter six of the book of Deuteronomy, we have the words that Jesus quoted in answer to the question, “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38 NLT). But the love of God must include obedience to God. That is what Deuteronomy chapter six is all about. Here Moses unpacks the first commandment to love the Lord your God. He expands on it and gives the Israelites a more in-depth understanding of just what that love must include. It must include a healthy fear of God. The fear of God is the respect that comes from an appreciation of His character. He is holy, righteous, just, pure, and yet faithful, constant, consistent, loving, and forgiving. As we have seen, God is a covenant-keeping God. He follows through on His promises. He can be trusted. The love of God also includes fidelity on our part. We must remain faithful and true. We must not have any other gods, or worship anything other than God Himself. The love of God includes obedience. To love Him is to obey Him. Even Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commandments” (John 14:15 NLT). He went on to say, “Those who obey my commandments are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them, and I will love them. And I will reveal myself to each one of them” (John 14:15 NLT).
Loving God also includes bragging about God. Moses told the people of Israel to tell their children all the wonderful things God had done for them. When their sons and daughters asked them about the meaning behind all the laws and commandments, the people were to respond, “We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with amazing power. Before our eyes the LORD did miraculous signs and wonders, dealing terrifying blows against Egypt and Pharaoh and all his people. He brought us out of Egypt so he could give us this land he had solemnly promised to give our ancestors. And the LORD our God commanded us to obey all these laws and to fear him for our own prosperity and well–being, as is now the case” (Deuteronomy 6:21-24 NLT). And in the same way, we’re to tell our kids about the incredible things God has done in our lives. We obey Him because He delivered us. We obey Him out of delight, not duty.
We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing has changed. That is still the expectation. It is still the Great Commandment. But it is so easy to love other things. It is so easy to give our affections to someone or something else. It is so easy to disobey and to fail to fear God, refusing to show Him the proper respect His character deserves. We can easily become complacent and forgetful of all He has done. We can become self-sufficient and self-satisfied. But He has called us to express our love to Him through obedience, fear, faithfulness, and a desire to talk about Him constantly because of all He has done.
Father, I want to continue to learn what it means to love You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I want to show that love to You in tangible ways. I want to express my love for You in a life of obedience, faith, and fear, telling others of Your powerful presence in my life. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men