“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5).
Jesus calls it “the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:38), situated right in the middle of God’s laws. Yet, it has nothing to do with how much good we can do or how well we can follow rules. What God wants the most from us is for us to love Him.
Merriam-Webster defines love as “(1) strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties, or (2) warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion.” To love God means that we know Him as well as we know family, that we’re filled with joy and excitement to spend time with Him, and that we’re dedicated to Him. It is an emotion, but even more so, a commitment that requires action even when feelings ebb and flow.
We can’t love God without first knowing Him. So how do we get to know God? We read His Word, written by Him for all people during all times. In it the Holy Spirit can reveal to us His character, His desires, His plans, His standard of righteousness, and His love for each of us. After all, “we love Him, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Deuteronomy 6:6 goes on to tell us that when we love God, His Words find their home in our hearts. But do we then hide them “under a bushel” (Matthew 5:15) so that they are profitable only for ourselves? By no means! We are to teach God’s Word to our children so that they may do what is right and good in the sight of God that it may go well for them (Deuteronomy 6:18). This isn’t an empty command given by a controlling God; it’s a promise that when we follow God’s Word, our lives are better for it.
Jesus widens this responsibility in Matthew 28:19-20 to teach all nations “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” This instruction also comes with a promise: “and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” What better gift could God give us than Himself? It comes full circle: God desires our love we love God by knowing Him through reading and following His Word we pass that love and knowledge on to others God’s presence will be with us always. How beautiful are the ways of God!
So who can you teach God’s Word to today? Obey God: pass it along!
This week’s blog was inspired by March 1st’s reading from Through the Bible in a Year, a Bible reading guide offered free of charge by Family Radio.