Deuteronomy 6:5 – And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy strength, and with all thy might.
I know all scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16), and thus, it is all the words of Jesus Christ because He is GOD (John 10:30, John 8:58). But for some reason, and maybe it’s a good reason, the fact that He actually referred to this verse while walking as a man seems significant. If you are a red-letter Bible reader, you’ll see this verse quoted loosely, by the King himself in Matthew 22:37.
In context (Matthew 22:35-40), Jesus was responding to questions concering the law. The law of God is an exhibition of His perfection. Let me note for you, dear reader, that God DOES NOT OBEY THE LAW. God is not subject to anything…the law is, rather, a manifestion of that which He essentially is. His perfect standard is not arbitrary either; it emanates from His perfect attributes of faithfulness, love, mercy, grace, justice, humility and righteousness to name a few…all controlled by His incomprehensible holiness, His altogether “different-from-everythingness,” if you will.
Nevertheless, Christ says the whole law of God can be summed up in two phrases, love the Lord thy God with all your heart, soul, strength and might and love your neighbor as you love yourself. Taking just the verse at hand for this week, we can see how the first 4 of the 10 commandments very clearly are encapsulated by this simple phrase. Having no other gods, not worhshipping idols, using God’s name with respect (see my blog about commandment #3 Exodus 20:7) and honoring the sabbath (resting in God’s provision and not the works of our own hands); these are all examples of loving God as commanded in Deuteronomy 6:5.
In fact, the rest of the commandments all show a love for God as well, for without Love for Him, how would you love and obey His law anyway? His commands are not burdensome (1 John 5:3-5) BECAUSE regenerate hearts LOVE the law, because the law reflects His glory and perfection. Loving God means loving the things He loves, taking delights in the things in which He takes delight and, contrary to much of the teaching of today, hating that which He also hates.
Dear Christian reader, do not fall into the “God is love so he cannot hate” trap set by wolves and the devil himself. Humans have made a mess of everything that God has made, hate included. The fact that we hate with a self-centered self-righteous hatred makes it so ugly that we cannot imagine a God that acts as we do. And He does not! He hates, as we do, but with a perfect hatred, a Holy hatred. A hatred that gives us hope that the wrath poured out on Christ is actually effectual for the souls of His dear elect. A hatred that gives us hope in this life that there is redemption and vindication for His children who suffer. (1 Corinthians 15:19 ) Oh yes, God hates, thank God for that! Ps 7:11, Ps 5:5, Proverbs 6:16
Finally, dear brother or sister, I want you to be encouraged. If God has saved you, you do love Him, not as much as you will tomorrow, I hope, but you do. And as hard as it is to see through your own sin, you must know that your imperfect love for him is perfect in Christ, where you rest today (in obedience to the 4th commandment, mind you!) So pray the prayer I prayed for a week straight a few years ago. It is not a magic prayer, but it was answered for me. I was listening to a teaching on Revelation and the preacher was discussing the church at Ephesus, in chapter 2. The preacher was teaching that the “first love” which had been lost in that church was a love for the Savior, that the people of the church were too busy doing the work of God, and had lost their love for God. He encouraged us to pray daily that God would cause us to love Him more. I prayed that prayer for a week straight. I meant it. And God answered it. Praise His Holy name today for answering prayers according to His perfect will. I trust He will answer that prayer for you too.