Text: Deuteronomy 6:1-9
I do not know certainly what tradition in public reading of the Holy Scriptures you belong but as we read God’s Word and finished it reading, I am requesting you to respond after I close it with this remark, “This is the Word of the Lord.” And you will reply, “Praise be to God for His Word.”
Let me read to you Deuteronomy 6:1-9. In your church bulletin, this specific portion of the Scripture is called the shema. Let me read God’s Word for you today.
Perhaps a little background to help us understand what transpired the writing of this greatest commandment. The promise of God through Abraham is being fulfilled slowly. Exodus 1:7 reminded us how faithful God is in keeping his covenant with Abraham. . . it reads:
But the people of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.
God is faithful to keep his promise even though he knew that the next generation is no better than the first. And yet, by grace, God gave them again His law and His Word. The re-giving of the law literally means Deuteronomy or second law. In this book, it is divided into 3 long sermons. The text we have read a while ago falls on the second. And from here we see, the exclusivity of love expressed to YHWH as Israel’s only object of affection.
The first driving point that we need to see is the unchangeable nature of God’s design to flourish our faith. Let us look at verse 4, shema. In most of the translations it says, “Hear.” But that word does not completely capture the essence of how it is used in almost all part of this book. Using some tools, the word shema is used for more than a thousand times in the Old Testament.
The unchangeable nature of God’s design to flourish our faith is for us to hear, learn, and obey what God is saying. In this second law, YHWH is instructing His people that the problem is not about not knowing what God wants them to do to fulfill their side of the covenant. The problem is their heart. The problem is that they do not obey God. They do not learn what God is saying. They do not pay attention to what God is saying.
Number two. The undivided attention God yearns to flourish our faith. Why is it that God is very particular by saying in loving him, we should give our all? Because failure to observe this loving him in a divided way will always lead to idolatry. And it is bad for our souls. Their hearts are always prone to wander.
Loving God with an undivided attention means obedience to God. Israel always fail. It is a pattern that makes us sad as we continue to read the following books. Somehow, it feels like our depravity is without hope. But God, in His grace, puts up a new covenant. It is in Christ that we see how we are ought to love God completely.
I will be brief with this one, the unrelenting passion God desires to flourish our faith. Everyday with unrelenting passion, we love God. It happens together. God gave this command both to his people (Israel and church). The idea of loving him is expressed by how our communities love him through our passionate commitment to help others love God with all our heart, soul, and might. By this, the world will know that we are God’s people.
You see. Only committed people do this. In everything we do, whether in home or at work, loving God should be the unrelenting passion that we should have.
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
When was the time that you are not with your hand? Or perhaps, the time you did not bring your head? The commitment of God’s people in loving him should be as natural as it gets. It should be our desire for us not to possibly love God all the time. It should be always.
Union Community Bible Church, may the Word of God flourish in your life as a church as a testament of God’s glory to all nations in our pursuit as you love God with all your heart, soul, and might. May the Lord richly bless you
by Ptr. Jerome Ocampo
Muntinlupa Baptist Church
May 9, 2021
*This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.