Deuteronomy 6:5 (HCSB)
5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
Yet again Moses emphasizes the call for obedience on behalf of Israel in the beginning of this passage. The importance of following God’s commands is emphasized with the mention of the multiple generations in Deut 6:2, and what is at stake as the reward for obedience in Deut 6:3.
The Moses gets into some really cool stuff. Right before he gets to what is probably the most memorable verse in Deuteronomy, and the boiled down core of faith, he drops a bomb. Deut 6:4 sets the stage for what follows, and without it v5, it can be argued I think, may just be pointless: “The Lord our God, the Lord is One.” Why is it so significant? Well, first off, Moses reminds us the God is Lord, we all answer to Him, we serve Him, He is over everything. Secondly, Moses points out that God is alone with this title, nobody shares it with Him, He has no equal. So when we say God is our Lord, what we should mean is that God is our only Lord, our supreme Lord. This makes a world of difference as Moses moves to his next line.
Matthew 22:34-36, the Pharisees challenge Jesus, testing Him to see if He knows what the “greatest commandment” is. Jesus replies with a clear reference of Deut 6:5, and apparently the Pharisees are satisfied since there is no rebuttal. But if we think about v5, we must match it with v4: we can only love God with all our heart, soul and strength, if there is but one God. This is total and absolute devotion to God, which is exactly what He deserves from us.
The pericope finishes with reinforcing the importance of obedience to God by providing pictures of how the Israelites should treat the commands from God: keeping them in your heart, teaching them to your children, constantly by talking about them, and having them on you always, even on your house and gates. It seems clear that God’s commands should central to the lives of Israelite believers.
Lord, thank You for Your Word. I pray that we as your children cherish it always, and remain focused on it. I am sorry for not always being obedient, for flat out rebelling against You. Help me to seek after Your full blessings, that come only through full obedience to You, but not for reward, but through obedience rooted in love. Amen.