"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).
Do you love God? How do you express your love for God and how often do you speak of your love for God? Is it really necessary to express our love for God since God knows all things and He certainly knows what is going on in our hearts and the feelings we have for him?
As Moses continues his farewell speech to those of the children of Israel who are about to enter the Promised Land, he reminds them of the importance of their loving God with all their being. Moses was concerned that once they entered the Promised Land, the children of Israel would forget it was God who brought them there (Deuteronomy 6:12), that they would no longer fear God (Deuteronomy 6:13), and that their hearts would be led astray and begin going after the gods of the nations they had conquered (Deuteronomy 6:14). Sadly, when one studies the history of God’s people following the conquering of the Promised Land, this is exactly what happened. They went astray from God.
Although future generations of the children of Israel failed to heed this message of Moses, there are some important insights for us to glean here from this passage of Scripture. God’s people were to make a FOCUSED EFFORT to LOVE GOD. After Moses tells them to love God with all their being (Deuteronomy 6:4-5), notice what he instructs them to do: He says, “"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). He adds that they were to put God’s Word’s on the clothing they wore (i.e. “bind them as a sign on your hand”, “frontlets between your eyes”, Deuteronomy 6:8) and they were to write them around their houses (i.e. “doorposts” and “gates”, Deuteronomy 6:9).
We should not view this as just some ritualistic exercise that God wanted them to perform. The picture we should take away from this is they were to be continually expressing the love they had for God by speaking of Him throughout the day and having His Word’s all around them as reminders of His love for them. God wanted all this to be done for the future welfare of His people: “And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may be well with you, and that you may go in and possess the good land of which the Lord swore to your fathers” (Deuteronomy 6:18).
As Christians, Jesus tells us, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Again, Jesus doesn’t tell us this as some kind of a ritualistic exercise or an attempt to “earn our salvation”. He loves us so much He gave His life for us (John 3:16). Jesus knows that if we want to have a great relationship with Him it involves not only Him showing love for us, but also our showing love for Him! We do this by keeping His commandments which are for our own welfare.
As with the children of Israel of old, so it is with us today: It takes a focused effort on our parts to love God. There are many things which distract us from loving God and which compete for our love. This is why it is important for us to study God’s Word daily and for us to speak of our love for God and how He has blessed us throughout each day of our lives. Sharing the good news of Christ not only benefits those lost souls we are trying to reach for Christ, but it also benefits us by helping us to keep our minds focused on God’s love. Today, I will celebrate God’s great love for me and focus my mind on showing my love for God by striving to keep His commandments!
“I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life” (Psalm 119:93).