Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
How many children (and maybe even a few adults!) have received a much anticipated toy or gadget and promptly tossed the manual aside? Rather than reading the directions, we plunge ahead to enjoy the new gift. Only later, when the item fails to work properly, do we stop and read the instructions.
In Deuteronomy 6, Moses had just finished delivering the Ten Commandments to the nation of Israel. This Law provided a guidebook for how God created His people to live. Following the Law brought blessing. Failure to follow it caused suffering. Now, Israel stood on the verge of the Promised Land, and they were to follow God’s leading even after they finally possessed it (v. 1). They were to teach God’s laws to their children and their children’s children.
We know from reading the rest of the Old Testament that the Israelites did not always follow God’s commands. Again and again they disobeyed His instructions. Moses reminded them that they had plenty of reasons to live life as God intended. They would experience longevity and enjoy their lives (v. 2). As a nation, they would experience God’s blessing and increase in number as God had promised Abraham.
The heart of each commandment could be summed up in verse 5: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Following the commands of the Lord should be a natural result of their love for Him. All their identity and all their activity should flow from this love. Filled with this love, they were to talk about God’s Law, teach it to their children, and even wear it as a symbol of their devotion. Their God, whom they loved and who loved them, was with them always.
Apply the Word
Do you think about God when you wake and when you sleep? What spiritual habit can you begin that will help keep your mind focused on God? You might start each day with Bible reading, listen to a Christian radio program, or sing a hymn in the car. These can help us keep our identity rooted in God’s love.