March 24

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

The Jewish people refer to this passage as the Shema (to hear). Jesus said it was the greatest of all the laws of God. He also said that all the Law could be summed up in this passage. First it tells us that YHWH (LORD in all caps) is our Elohim (plural for God in Hebrew). Then it tells us YHWH is one. Here we have the mystery of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are one. There is no difference amongst them. Religions with many gods distinguish the differences and purposes for each god, but the God of the Hebrews is one. We refer to that as monotheism. A perfect God can only be complete unity. If any other were perfect, they would be the same.

Then we are commanded to love our YHWH our Elohim with all our heart. That is all our desire should be focused upon Him. In Hebrew this word includes our thoughts. We should love our God with all our soul. That is all our will and emotions, our very life. We should love the LORD our God with all our strength. Our best and most diligent efforts should be exerted in glorifying Him out of love. It seems impossible to do one of these completely without combining all the other parts of our makeup. An abbreviated form of this command might be expressed as, "love your God with all you are!"

As we focus on just what this is saying, we should get a sense of just how short we fall and of areas in our lives that are competing with the first place in our hearts. The Jews put this verse in a small container and put it on the entryway of their homes. When the orthodox Jews worship, they put it in a box on their foreheads. We should keep it before us always as a check on where our heart, soul, and strength are being exerted.

Admonition: Do all to the glory of God.