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Last week I was blessed to write about the S’hema :Hear O’Israel, the LORD our God the LORD is One. These words represent the great declaration that God is the one and only eternal God. I also included the words recited after the S’hema as a response which as a reminder are “blessed be the name of His glorious Kingdom forever and ever.” This gives us the knowledge that God is eternal, He is forever and His Word is forever. This holy God is a triune God, as the Hebrew word Echad for One, implies. So without even knowing it, many Jews around the world are reciting this each week and declaring that God is One, but a unity or plural one. This plural one is known to believers as the Father, Son (Yeshua), and the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh). Most Jews would argue against this interpretation as this goes against the teaching that God is One and the triune definition would reek of idol worship. After this declarative statement is made, generally as an entire congregation reciting these words in unity, the following words are recited from Deuteronomy 6:5-9. They are as follows:
AND YOU SHALL LOVE ADONAI YOU GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, ALL YOUR BEING AND ALL YOUR STRENGTH. THESE WORDS WHICH I AM COMMANDING YOU TODAY SHALL BE ON YOUR HEART, AND YOU ARE TO TEACH THEM TO YOUR CHILDREN.
YOU ARE TO TALK ABOUT THEM WHEN YOU SIT AT HOME, WHEN YOU ARE TRAVELING ON THE ROAD, WHEN YOU LIE DOWN AND WHEN YOU GET UP. TIE THEM ON YOUR HAND AS A SIGN, PUT THEM AT THE FRONT OF YOUR FOREHEAD AND WRITE
THEM ON THE DOOR POSTS OF YOUR HOUSE AND ON YOUR GATES.
As you can plainly see, loving God with all our heart are not just words found in the Old Testament, they are commandments by God Almighty. They are not suggestions or some Old Testament scripture that has no meaning for us today. When God commands us to do something, it is not to be ignored. Loving the LORD with all our heart should also not be difficult. Loving the LORD with all our heart should be joyous and part of daily worship. Yeshua also repeated this command in the New Covenant (Matthew 22:37) when asked what are the two greatest commandments and later firmly added that if you love me you will keep my commandments. In reality when you read all of the times we are to place God first, they should be simple for us to carry out. Certainly teaching God’s Word to our children should be something we feel urged by the Spirit to do because as parents we want our children to know the LORD, to have a relationship with God and to be obedient and thereby blessed. Who among us would not want their children to live a blessed life? Well that starts at home, not a Sunday School or Shabbat School,but by children watching and learning from their parents. Parents should be caught praying, reading their bibles and discussing God on a routine basis. When then is there not a good time to be reminded of God’s grace, mercy, love and instruction? Apparently never. We are to place God above all things, always putting Him first. There is not one exception to this commandment where we should put anything or anyone before Him. When we are treating others around us with love and respect we are following this commandment. Tying these words on your hand and on our foreheads was done in Orthodox circles is still done today by wearing Phalacteries, a leather strap is tied from the hand, up the arm and a box is placed on the forehead, then the leather continues down the other arm and tied to the other hand. In the box is scripture from the S’hema. Then there is the commandment to write them on the doorposts and the gates of the house. Each door is to have a Mezzuzah attached to it, and inside the Mezzuzah is again, scripture. This is to remind us as we go into and out of our houses, or even in and out of each room, we are to be reminded of this commandment. God truly desires our love. We are His creation and even though He does not need our love to exist, He desires that we show our love and adoration for Him, every minute of every day. We are not to take our eyes, lips or ears or hearts away from God. He showed His love for us in such a powerful, loving, unfathomable way by sending His one and only Son to die for us, so that by His death we might have life, eternal life and forgiveness of sin. Sin is what separates us from God and He knows we are all sinners in need of repentance, which He made possible through the crucifixion of Yeshua. As you can see this is more then an Old Testament command but it carries over into the New Testament at the cross. Yeshua, the lamb of God that came to take away the sins of the world, deserves our attention, our focus and for us to surrender our lives to Him each day. Every decision, thought, action and our attitudes are a reflection of this commandment. To be obedient to this commandment is sown each day in the way we live our lives. We may at times fail, that is expected but we can get up from each failure and get a new start from a God that so wants us to call upon Him, cry out to Him for forgiveness and gratitude. This is the God we serve, He has done many signs ands wonders in ancient days in our lives today. We can choose to obey and be blessed, or we can choose to ignore His commandment and face the consequences. Each moment we get to make that choice, all day every day. What are you prepared to do for Him after all He has done for you?
Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the LORD. (Baruch Haba b’shem ADONAI)
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