A Verse for Meditation

Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:4, 5

 

  • For Hebrews, the heart was the center of a human’s life. It was the locus of the recognition of right and wrong. What would it mean to love God fully in recognition of the difference between all that is right and all that is wrong? To put it another way, knowing that there is a raging battle between good and evil all around us, what does it mean to love God with all your heart?
  • Greeks thought of a human being as a soul within a body; Hebrews thought of the soul and body as one being. To Deuteronomy’s author, humans are integrated, body and soul. What does it mean to love God as a fully integrated human being, a being who does not “have” a body, but rather a being who “is” a body? This concept occurs in Jesus’ teaching when he said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48 NRSV) The word teleios which is translated as “perfect” could more clearly be translated “fully integrated,” and the sense of the word is such that an alternate translation might well be, “Be a person of integrity, as your heavenly Father is a person of integrity.” What does it mean to love God with your complete integrity?
  • The Hebrew word translated might is about the uttermost force and strength of life. It is about being utterly committed. It is about using every ounce of personal power. It is about being all in, giving 100%. What does it mean, therefore, to love God with all your might?
  • To live in today’s world is to be subjected to many calls for your attention at any given moment. Places to go, things to buy, desires, threats, simple everyday tasks. Multi-tasking to achieve multiple objectives in parallel is a highly-valued skill. Can it even be possible that there is one God who has a unique claim on all your priorities at all times? How can you possibly put God first, above all other demands on your attention and your loyalties?
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