Day 78 | Friday, 5 June 2020
As we have journeyed through the past several days, I was reminded recently of what we have referred to as the great commandment. This may not be the solution to the racism that has caused so much difficulty in our country, but it is a reminder of how we Christians are too behave. I first share a commentary followed by quotes from Deuteronomy and Matthew from both the CEB and the Message.
“Holiness of Heart and Life – The Great Commandment”
“The beginning of the Shema (Deut. 6:4-9) includes the most important commandment. We are to love God with all our being. Jesus links this core truth within Judaism with love of neighbor (see Matt. 22:37-40). John Wesley later described entire sanctification as a heart filled with love for God and neighbor. This love is always rooted in the conviction that God first loved us. Note that the text says Israel will possess the land as a provision of God’s grace. Love is a sign of God’s grace toward us, and love is our obedient response.” (CEB p 235)
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 CEB
“4 Israel, listen! Our God is the Lord! Only the Lord!
5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your being, and all your strength. 6 These words that I am commanding you today must always be on your minds. 7 Recite them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting around your house and when you are out and about, when you are lying down and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them on your hand as a sign. They should be on your forehead as a symbol. 9 Write them on your house’s doorframes and on your city’s gates.”
“37 He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 – The Message
“4 Attention, Israel! God, our God! God the one and only! 5 Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that's in you, love him with all you've got! 6 Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you 7 and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. 8 Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; 9 inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.”
Matthew 22:37-40 – The Message
“37 Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' 38 This is the most important, the first on any list. 39 But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' 40 These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."
Gracious, loving God, we pause today to remember that you have first loved us. We confess that we have not always responded with an obedient love toward others. We are asked to love those whose actions go against our own beliefs. Lord, help us differentiate between liking and loving. Is it possible for us to love, with the love of Christ, and yet not like a person or their actions? These two commands are important in our beliefs. Let it be so. Hear our prayers. Amen
Today: How are you doing with these two commands?