Key Verse: “Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
WHEN CONSIDERING the verses of our lesson, we are to realize and appreciate that faith in, and obedience to, God’s laws and his righteous principles should be of paramount importance to us. Although speaking particularly to Israel, God is here pointing out the type of response to his commands which he desires of all his chosen people. “Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee.” (Deut. 6:3) God had instructed the people of Israel to reverence and respect him, not out of constraint, but from a sincere heart’s desire to do so. He wanted them to love him, giving them the all-important words of our Key Verse. Such love was to emanate from every fiber and power of their being.
Moses, in stating the principles of God’s law, said, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” (Deut. 6:4) This is an important statement, because it implies the unchangeable nature of God, as well as his law. His character and his instructions are always consistent and harmonious—they never change. To those who have entered into covenant relationship with God during the present age, this is especially reassuring. “My son, give me thine heart,” is the invitation we have accepted. (Prov. 23:26) In so doing, we have committed ourselves to daily submit to his leadings in our life, responding in love and obedience.
To properly love and obey God means we are to highly esteem him, and his ways, as being much wiser than our own. What pleasure we should take in knowing that we have such a wonderful, all-knowing Father, who only desires what is eternally best for each of his children, and who provides them with many rich blessings. Our desire, then, must be to reciprocate by offering him our devotion and showing our dependence on and delight in his will for us in our daily experiences. It should be our constant joy to think of God, speak to him in prayer, and have his peace.—Phil. 4:4-7
As God commanded Israel, Jesus has similarly instructed us, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Matt. 22:37,38) Our love for God is to be sincere, and born out in action. The Apostle John says, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” By doing so, John continues, we show that “we are of the truth,” and reassured before God.—I John 3:18,19
Superlative love for God, and as further exhibited towards one another and to all with whom we come in contact, is the “mark,” or goal, toward which we must run diligently if we are to be found faithful. Paul said, “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”—Phil. 3:13,14
Let us love and obey God to the full extent of our ability, desiring to be one with him through our Redeemer, Christ Jesus. The Heavenly Father’s love has been “shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us.” (Rom. 5:5) Thus, may the oneness of love we have with God and his Son guide us continually, and keep us until the end of our earthly sojourn.