“Hear, O Israel: YHWH our God, Yahweh is one. Love YHWH your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Above are some of the most important words in all of the Old Testament Scriptures. At the center of all the Israelites were meant to do and to be was the realization that there was no God but the one true God, as well as their genuine and obedient love for Him. It isn’t surprising that of all the hundreds of commandments that God gave to His people, Jesus singled out this command to wholly love God as the most important one of all. Without a devoted love for God, what makes God’s people His people?
It’s important to notice, though, that Moses didn’t speak of loving God primarily in terms of feelings or sentiments. No, he immediately elaborated on the call to wholly love God by emphasizing the devotion they were to show toward His Word and commands. Loving God, he implied, largely means loving His ways and obeying them. He was even more explicit about the connection between love and obedience later on in his message to them when he said, “Love YHWH your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always” (Deuteronomy 11:1).
This reminds me very solidly of what our Master Jesus told His first disciples:
“If you love me, keep my commands…Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me… Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching…Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.”John 15:21,23,24
Obedience demonstrates more than mindless compliance in a love relationship. In genuine love, obedience shows trust and confidence in the one commanding. Obedience communicates release of my own will and the embrace of another’s. Obedience is our living prayer, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Obedience is our unspoken declaration of love to the One who has won our hearts. This is why we do not just obey the commands we know, we eagerly desire to learn the commands we do not yet know. We talk about them, pass them on, recite them and keep them close to us. They are not just demands from the Boss to us; they are the expressions of our Master’s wisdom, goodness, and promises. Taken all together, they are His vision of what life can and will ultimately be for His beloved.
You aren’t called to live by rules, Disciple; you’re called to live by faith. So let that faith (i.e. trust) in your Father lead you toward obedience to all He has commanded through His Son so that you might demonstrate your deep love and walk in the fullness of the life He envisions for you. Trust Him even when the command seems risky and dangerous. He will stand with you when you obey, and He will see to it that you are blessed!
Showing my love through obedience with you,