Tag Archives: the greatest commandment

Deuteronomy 21-24; God Makes Sense

As Moses teaches God’s Law to the young Jews ready to take the Promised Land, I am struck by the sense and sensibility of it all. (I just watched that movie on TCM this week)

Oh sure, we could dissect the verses concerning divorce, or agriculture, or fashion, parenting, or even using the latrine. But don’t all these chapters fall under the Greatest Commandment Jesus talked about in Matthew 22? Love God, love others? Don’t these verses in Deuteronomy fit under the umbrella of the Golden Rule?

I think our world is in the state it is in because we aren’t living with the good sense God gave us. Love Him. Worship Him only. Be kind. Have integrity. Be honest. Have compassion. Eliminate sin. Don’t think of yourself more highly than you think of others. It just makes sense.

God makes sense.

Deuteronomy 4-6; The Greatest Commandment

I was reading Moses’ re-teaching of the Ten Commandments, and was struck by the simplicity of them:

  1. Don’t worship other gods
  2. Don’t make idols
  3. Don’t misuse God’s Name
  4. Keep the Sabbath
  5. Honor your parents
  6. Don’t murder anyone
  7. Don’t commit adultery
  8. Don’t steal
  9. Don’t lie
  10. Don’t covet

Moses elaborated on these commandments later, but in a nutshell, these are the condensed version of God’s commandments to His people.

Do you remember how Jesus answered the young man who asked what the most important commandment is? Jesus said: Love God. Love each other.

Love is the umbrella over which all the other commandments exist. And God Himself IS love. (I John 4:8)

Now, I am by no means an authority on world religions. I have scratched only the surface in my study of them. But I can’t think of another religion whose god says, “Love me.” Or even one who claims to love its followers.

The God of the Bible demands obedience, for sure. But when you understand His love, those demands don’t seem so daunting. In fact, obedience becomes a privilege, not a ritual. Worshiping Him out of love produces love. And when I break a commandment, when I sin, I can receive forgiveness through the precious blood of God Himself, Jesus Christ.

Holy God, thank you for telling us, and retelling us what it is You require of us as Your people. As straightforward as those commandments are, I have broken them more than once. So, Father, I thank You for giving Your Son to pay the consequence for my sin. He did what I can never hope to do. And His perfection is mine through His blood. God, I thank You for love. First for Your love of me, then for the privilege of loving You in return, and lastly for the love that I share with Your people. May my life be lived in such a way that Your love is evident, and enticing. And may I obey You today, out of love.

 

October 29

Mark 12:18-40; Matthew 22:23-46, 23:1-36; Luke 20:27-47, 10:25-37

What word would your family and friends say describes you best? Would it be ‘religious’ or ‘giving’, ‘athletic’ or ‘musical’, ‘parent’ or ‘grandparent’? Would they name your occupation? ‘Teacher’, ‘accountant’, ‘preacher’, ‘mechanic’? I hope it wouldn’t be things like ‘mean’ or ‘selfish’ or ‘gossip’. But I wonder what they would say.

After reading this Scripture today I realize I want the word ‘love’ to describe me. First of all, love for God. I want the people closest to me to know without a doubt that I am totally, passionately in love with my Lord. I want that love to be evident in my face, in the words I speak, and the things I do. I want to talk about him, share him, and please him so that everyone knows I love God with my heart, my soul, and my mind.

Then I want my family and friends to know I love them unconditionally. That doesn’t mean I’ll always agree with them or even approve of some of their choices. But I want them to know I love them no matter what so that they will understand God loves them, too.

And I want people I meet in all walks of life, in all skin colors, in all beliefs to feel God’s love through me. I want to see them through Jesus’ eyes.

Jesus tells us the greatest commandment is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your minds and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

May it be true in me.

Father, I love you. But I want to love you more. I love my family and friends. I want to love them better. I see people for whom you died. May I love them because you do. I pray that your love will flow in and through me today. And may I love you with all my heart, my soul, my mind and my strength. You are worthy of all my love.