Greetings all, here is your e-votional for the week…
“Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the ordinances—that the Lord your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy, so that you and your children and your children’s children may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life, and keep all his decrees and his commandments that I am commanding you, so that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe them diligently, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may multiply greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”-Deuteronomy 6: 1-5
The fourth and fifth verses of the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy are amongst the most significant in the Old Testament. For the Jewish people, those passage are at the heart of their theology, and are to be displayed on their doorposts. Known as “The Shema” in reference to the first Hebrew word, this reminder should still carry special weight with us today, so let’s examine it.
“Hear O Israel.” Listen. We live in the midst of so much noise, and we love to add to it. Even as I write this I am listening to the dulcet tones of Van Morrison. Silence is elusive for most of us, and yet God is speaking in this world. It is important that we remember to listen from time to time so we can hear God’s Word in our lives more clearly.
“The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.” There is one God. For the Hebrews, surrounded by polytheistic nations, their monotheism was under constant threat. There can be only one God. Jesus emphasizes this in his ministry and warns not merely of other gods who are worshiped but also of the idols of greed, comfort, and power. Our lives ought to be oriented only toward God, as there is no other source of meaning and being in this world.
“You shall love the Lord your God…” Love is an important word here. As you know, we are often admonished to “fear” God, and that has its place in our thinking, but here we are asked only to love God. Loving God speaks to the relationship we have with God, and reminds us that God wants our love, not our mindless fidelity.
“With all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” These words remind us again of the all-encompassing nature of our faith. We are called to love God fully. God is lord of our entire lives, not just parts, and we respond to God through our heart, soul and might. We are called to give God everything we have.
Prayer: Holy God, we thank you this day for all you have done for us. We ask that you would help us to listen to you, focus upon you, and love you. Give us the strength, wisdom and power to do this. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.