About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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chapter 6

Love The Lord Your God (ch. 6:1 - 25)     


In verses 1 and 2 we see that God gave Moses His decrees to teach to Israel, who were to pass them on to their children "so they may fear the Lord your God".  Note the word fear.  Yes, fear means to reverence, but I think it means more than that.  In once sense of the word we should be afraid of God.  This is seldom taught today.  We are to be both afraid of God and love Him at the same time.  The one we fear is the one we are drawn to.  It's a paradox.   The almighty power of God makes us want to run from Him, but His love draws us right back to Him.  I've always said that we cannot begin to understand the love of God without first understanding the almighty and holy nature of who He is.


These laws were given to Israel so when they crossed the Jordan River and possessed the promised land, they'd be a nation with land and laws for their existence in the land of Canaan.


The result of keeping these commands would be "long life" while in the land. It has been said that the only commandment with a promise is the one that says to honour your father and mother so you will live long in the land.  That is really only partly so.  Here, the living long applies to all the commands, not just to one.


In verse 3 there is yet another result of obeying the commands of God, and that is, Israel would increase in number.  God had said on a number of occasions that if Israel did not obey Him, He would move them from the land, so that is why He says that obedience would cause them to grow in number while in the land.


Verse 4 is one well known verse.  Jesus Himself quotes this text.  It says, "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one".  If you look at the bottom of your page in the NIV, you will notice varying renderings of this verse.  The text simply means, "Yahweh is Elohim, and He is one".   The word "Elohim" is actually a plural word, suggesting more than one God.  But the text says that Elohim is one.  Israel was a monotheistic people.  Their God was one God.  Yet by the fact that "Elohim" is plural, that shows some kind of plurality to the nature of God.   From this we can begin to attempt to understand the doctrine of the Trinity, although this verse in itself does not prove the Trinity.  It only proves the plural nature of God and His oneness. 


The reason why God tells Israel that He is one might well be because of the plural form of the word "Elohim".  He wants Israel to know they are not like the polytheistic pagan nations that surround them.     


Verse 5 continues by saying, love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, and strength.  Some attempt to use this verse to support the idea that man consists of three parts, spirit, soul, and body.  I'm not convinced you can deduct that from this verse.  I just think it means to love God with all you have, and all you are.  That's it. 


Jesus quoted this verse when asked what the greatest commandment was.  Of  course, He also added, "love your neighbour as yourself", and we all love ourselves.   


In verses 6 through 9 Moses tells his people to write the commands of the Lord on their hearts, put them on their door frames, around their foreheads and wrists, teach them to your children. Talk about them at home and anywhere you go.  The point is simple.  God's words must be in the forefront of your lives, both individually and collectively.  For the Christian today, I think this is very important, but it is becoming something foreign to the modern Christian.  We'll talk about all sorts of things but fail to talk about the Word of God.  When you put the Bible on the shelf as many churches have these days, there is no way you will stay on the proper path the Lord has for you.  You will eventually fail to be a church.   


In verses 10 and 11 Moses reminds Israel that all the things they see in the land that they will soon possess  was not a result of them, but others.  The cities, the olive groves, the vineyards, and everything was put their by others.  All they needed to do was to go and take it.  These things were put in the land by pagan societies and Israel was simply redeeming them for God.  This was just as much God's land as it was Israel's land.  Joel 2:3 says that.  You might compare this to salvation.  Our salvation was nothing that we did.  We only possessed it by trusting Jesus.  This might also be a type of what will happen at the end of this age when Jesus sets up His kingdom in Israel, and hands the land over to them.  Jesus will be king of the world, and the nations that were once, will now be His and everything in them will belong to Jesus and His people, both Jews and Christians.


In verses 13 and 14 Moses tells Israel to serve God the best they can and do not serve the gods of those around them.  Israel, when they possess the land will be in the midst of pagans.  The temptation will be to serve their gods, which, they often did.  Christians find themselves in the same situation.  We live among the world, and the temptation for us is to live as the world lives.  That has been one of our problems.  That's why the church is not as strong as it should be.


Verse 15 tells us that God is a jealous God.  He is jealous because He loves us.  Some jealousy is wrong, some jealousy is good.  If jealousy is expressed from a heart of love, it is good.  If a husband loves his wife, and she flirts with other men, and if he is jealous, his jealousy is appropriate.  Jealousy based on possessiveness is not good.


Moses said that God's anger would rise if they served other gods and that He would ban them from the land, which He finally did in 70 A. D..  That being said, the promises of God stand.  He will cause Israel to return to the land and in a sprit of repentance Israel will be the nation they were always meant to be.


Verse 16 says, "don't test God'.  What does that mean?  Israel tested God in the desert.  They disobeyed God thinking He would be tolerant and not do anything about it.  That wasn't the case, and it still isn't.  If we sin and know it, there will be consequences, and that is another reason why the church is not as strong as it should be.


In verses 17 through 19 Moses says to obey God, kick out the enemies in land, so that you will be able to both possess the land and live in the land.  Obedience is key to receiving what God promises.  If there is no obedience, there will be no promises received.  Receiving anything from God is more than a matter of faith.  It is also a matter of obedience.  As a matter of fact, trusting God is a matter of obedience, because He commands that we trust our lives with Him.   


In verses 20 to 25 Moses addresses the issue concerning future generations asking why they needed to obey these decrees.  This is a good point because this question will surely arise, as it does today in Christian families.  Moses linked the obedience to the Law with God rescuing Israel from Egypt .  The reason why God brought the descendents of Abraham out of Egypt was to give them the promised land where they could be a nation, and a great one at that.  A nation needed laws, and these were the laws God gave for Israel to be successful.


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