“Jesus answered him, ‘The foremost of all the commandments is: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” This is the first commandment.'”
This is one of those verses that we love. Most of us are very familiar with its compelling words. I don’t know about you, but just hearing this passage of Scripture drums up feelings of faith – of connectedness to the Body of Christ. If I close my eyes I can hear Jesus declaring, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one!”
Are we so familiar with this commandment that we fail to consider its meaning? Maybe. No condemnation here – just thinking about the fact that this is not a suggestion. It is the most important commandment of all.
Now, that is something to think about.
Do you suppose its importance lies in the fact that Jehovah God is LORD? He is not a nice idea, an adventurous fairy tale, a mythological creature. He is our Lord! He is the Great and Mighty God, Elohim – the Creator of the Universe. He is holy, magnificent and His majesty is beyond description. (I’m taking Him out of that gilded box again. Can you tell?)
Jesus is quoting from Deuteronomy 6:4,5 where Moses has called all the people of Israel together to let them know what the Lord requires of them as they journey into the land flowing with milk and honey – the Promised Land. I think it is awesome that Jesus is teaching these same requirements for entering the Kingdom of God.
Same Promised Land.
Same children of God.
As I studied, I broke down the words in Hebrew and Greek and discovered something that made a difference to my understanding. I hope it will help you also. The word ‘with’ – WITH all your heart, soul, mind and strength – is ek in Greek and means “from the origin of or out of”. We are being told to love the Lord out of the origin of ALL of our being – our heart, our soul, our mind and our strength. Think of a well-spring. Isn’t that beautiful?
Deuteronomy 10:12 (Amplified Study Bible) reads, “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you but reverently to fear the Lord your God, that is to walk in all His ways, and to love Him and to serve the Lord your God with all your mind and heart and with your entire being.”
The Lord would say, “My child, give me your heart for out of it springs rivers of Living Water. Love Me passionately, recognize My Holiness. Live in My love, breathe in My Spirit and taste and see that I AM good.”
We love You, Father. Teach us to love You passionately, with our entire being.