Our focus verse today is Deuteronomy 6:4-5 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might."
When asked what was the greatest commandment Jesus answered that these verses were the greatest commandments. Verse 4 is the Shema which is Hebrew for Hear and it is recited morning and evening by Jews. (Reformation Study Bible)
It expresses that Christianity is a monotheistic faith, Christians believe in only one God. The peoples who surrounded Israel were worshippers of Multi-gods and their presentation of the One True God was foreign to the nations around them. This caused many problems for Israel for as we saw last time the True God is a jealous God. He punished Israel repeatedly for profaning His Name among the people they encountered, instead of being a beacon to present the True God, Israel stumbled and brought dishonor on the Name of God. Here is just one example from Ezekiel 36: 22-23 "Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes."
God has great concern for His name. God has great concern and looks over how He is being represented by His people. We (Christians) can not long present the Name of God, (and when we worship Him and live before the world we are representing Him), in a way that is dishonoring to Him, For just as He acted with Israel, can He not also act with us today, if we dishonor His name among the nations?
When Jesus told those who asked Him what the greatest commandment was, He represented the Father rightly. He reinforces it when His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, in Matthew 6 he says pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. The very first thing Christ does is to focus our attention on the Holiness of God. When we pray we should first of all pray that God's name - our God Himself would be honored - the Reformation study Bible states that it not only means that God's creatures may keep it holy, but that God may Himself hallow it by being the holy Judge and Savior.
When God acts it is to hallow His name. When we plead the promises of God to Him in pray, He has concern for our needs of course, but in meeting our needs He is also hallowing His Great Name. We should understand that God is concerned about His Great Name and let that concern govern our conduct.
We cant fulfill the demands of the greatest commandment - for we do not love the LORD our God with all our heart, soul, and might. We are incapable of doing this. Only Jesus Christ has loved God with all His heart, soul and might. Jesus said that it was His food to do the Father's will, and that He always did the Father's will. Although we cannot fulfill this commandment, we can pursue it with all the love soul and might we can under the power of the Holy Spirit, praying for the ability to increase in our desire to always do the Father's will. Thank God we Have Christ's righteousness, His obedience imputed to us.
Encounters with the Holy God as described in the Bible are always shown as frightful, full of dread to human being in their fallen sinful state. Just go back to Adam and Eve, they enjoyed walking with God in the cool of the day, but when sin entered in they were afraid and tried to hide from God. Just about every encounter with God that is recorded in Scripture, those who He encountered are those He drew near too experienced great fear and dread. But we need to continue reading those encounters for we always see God, Christ, or an angel from God, speaking comfort to them, Christ was always telling His disciples "Fear not". God speaks comfort to His people. We still have sin remaining in us and therefore any encounter with the Holy God is going to be like Isaiah's, psychologically distressing (Isaiah 6). That is one of the reasons I speak out against those who under the banner of the religion of the True, and Great God present Him in dishonoring ways such as we see on You-tube and other venues. It is a misrepresentation, it is un-biblical, it is foolishness.
The Bible is our sure record of the True, Great God that governs the universe. Who has provided comfort and hope in Jesus Christ and only in Him. Let us wash and clothe ourselves in the Word of the Great God.
Let us pray much and read much and seek to bring honor to our Great Savior and God. Let us encourage and pray for one another. Let us forgive and seek the best for each other. Let us let the love of Christ guide us. We have been brought nigh to the Great God by the blood of Jesus Christ. He is our Father, He is a stern but loving Father. Each day He gives us blessings, each day He shows His great compassion, each day is another opportunity to confess and repent of sins. Family of God do you know how blessed we are to be able to go to the very Throne room of God and plead for forgiveness of our sins by the blood of Christ, we know that we will experience unspeakable joy for we know as long as it is still today He will forgive and pardon our sins. We serve a Great God - and that is why Deuteronomy 6:5 is the greatest commandment.