“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.” (6:4-6)
This is the central command to our entire faith. Our Creator God loves us and wants a relationship with us. He created us to love Him, so when we are deeply in love with Him, we are the most satisfied we can be possibly be.
The Israelites were still trying to grasp this, “Wow, we can hear God speaking out of the fire and not die! I’ve never heard of this before!” Indeed everything about this aspect of God will fly in the face of other gods. The gods of Egypt and Canaan were known for being indifferent at best. Mostly they were angry and needing to be appeased. Human sacrifice was needed in order for these “gods” to “send rain”. They were ruthless and perverted. Worship of them was detrimental to the human spirit. Most likely because they were powered by our enemy, the accuser of mankind who will always try to kill us in order to hurt God.
Jesus reiterates this commandment in Matthew 22:36-40:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
How does the entire Old Testament get summarized in this way? Let’s start with the 10 Commandments:
- Have no other gods before Him
- Do not make idols
- Do not misuse His name
- Keep His Sabbath holy
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR
- Honor your parents
- Do not murder
- Do not commit adultery
- Do not steal
- Do not lie
- Do not covet
Every law can be found under one of these two categories.
Consider today, then, what it means to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Is your heart divided? Is your soul uneasy? Your mind bouncing between truth and falsehood? Is your energy misdirected?
Look full in His wonderful face. Whenever I lock the eyes of my heart and soul to His, I cannot waver. He is the Everlasting Creator God who loves me and created my heart to love Him. In His great and glorious design, He commands us to love and care for one another. His commands are not burdensome, superfluous, unreasonable or detrimental.
So let’s keep this truth on our hearts, telling our friends, our kids, making notes to ourselves. Never forget the foundational love of God. May it find its home in each of us.