Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NIV)
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.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (MSG)
Attention, Israel! God, our God! God the one and only! Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!
“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one [the only God]! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being].” -AMPLIFIED
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is one of the key passages within the book. In Jewish culture this passage is known as the “Shema”, translated it means “hear”. It is the central prayer within the Jewish faith and is the basic confession of faith for every devout Jew. In fact, they would recite this passage twice a day, when they arose in the morning and as they lay down for rest every night. It was a reminder to them of whom they had pledged their allegiance to. Every child was taught this prayer at the knees of their father, it was their very first prayer, and every Jew repeated this prayer with their last breathe, before they slipped out into eternity.
Deuteronomy 6 is wholly devoted to God instructing the Israelites on where and whom their focus should always be directed, who their faith and trust should be placed in and what they should do to be sure that this happens continuously. A relationship with anyone takes attention and work; even more so with God.
Lest the people forget once again who God was to them; God instructed them to:
1.) Focus on the Almighty and keep your priorities straight (Deut. 6:4-5).
2.) Become familiar with God’s commands so that it is always a part of you. (Deut. 6:6).
3.) Teach your children about Me and look for opportunities to tell them of My love (Deut. 6:7).
4.) Write reminders to yourself of Me and place them in places that you can easily see. (Deut. 6:8-9).
5.) Realize that you will always have a need for Me; accept that fact and enjoy with thanksgiving what health and happiness you have. (Deut. 6:10-11)
God knew how easy it would be for the people to forget and slip into their old ways. He was placing standards in place so that had specifications to follow. They would know what God required of them; lest they quickly forgot.
According to Jewish tradition there are actually 613 commandments within the Torah. Of them all Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is the central command because it called for the people to love God with everything that was within them. Jesus though took this command one step further. Jesus said, ““Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” -Matthew 22:37-40 (MSG)
God wanted the people of Israel to realize that they would need to make a conscious decision day-by-day, moment-by-moment to choose to keep Him on the throne of their heart. God would not tolerate anyone or anything taking His place in their lives, nor in ours either. His command remains the same; we must love Him with everything that is within us.
Lest we forget who God is and what He has done for us, let us too: 1.) Focus on God.
2.) Familiarize with His commands.
3.) Teach our children.
4.) Write reminders to ourselves of Him.
5.) Realize that we are nothing without Him in our lives.
Lest we forget!
God Almighty, my desire is to love you with all my heart, soul and mind; with everything that is within me. Help me to keep my focus always on you and who you are to me. Be number one on the throne of my life. Lest I forget my great need for you; allow your Holy Spirit to remind me moment-by-moment of your great love and faithfulness. I am nothing without You God. I love you. Thank you for loving me even more.