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.
This text is called the Shema by Jews. Shema is the Hebrew word for “Hear this!” or “Listen!” This command from Deuteronomy is at the heart of Judaism. Many Jews facing extermination in Nazi camps during World War II quoted this text as they were about to be killed.
There is one God. God exists independently of this world. God made this world. God loves this world. God is the one we should love most.
What do you love most? What do you desire most? Whatever that is will define who you are and what you do.
In his parting words to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy, the prophet Moses leaves no doubt about loving God most. He says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Every aspect of life must aim toward the love of God, even our wallet, our sex life, and our hobbies.
If you love the true God, you will follow his commands with every aspect of your life. In so doing, you will free yourself from the disappointment of serving false gods.
It is not surprising that this text is the principal command for God followers. It directs our entire life.
May we love you, O God—not our idea of you, not an ideology about you, not a controllable caricature of you. Help us to love the one true God, with all our heart, soul, and strength. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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