WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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LOVE AND OBEY GOD
(Teach all generations to love and obey GOD)
It is my belief, that, we cannot profess to have faith in GOD, and then, turn around and perpetually disobey HIS Word, day in and day out, through our behavior. False religion, by definition, means trying to reach GOD by ways in which GOD HIMSELF did not prescribe. It is one thing to “recognize GOD”, but it is quite another thing, to “obey GOD”. The Christian only becomes “legit” when he or she begins to fear GOD more than they do man, and what man can impose upon their lives in this world.
In Deuteronomy 6, verses 1-9, GOD calls for HIS professed followers to give a wholehearted commitment to HIM. Here Moses tells GOD’s professed people that all of the commands, laws, and regulations that the LORD told him to teach them must be strictly obeyed, when they enter into “the promised land” that GOD was about to give them. They were also to pass down a “legacy of faith” to their children and grandchildren so that they too would learn to fear the LORD as long as they live (Vs.1-3).
In verse 4, Moses begins by reciting the first of three parts of what is now known as “the Shema”. Even today it is recited by devout Jews twice a day (also see Deuteronomy 11:13-21 and Numbers 15:37-41). These verses stress “the unity of GOD” and “the importance of loving HIM and HIS laws”.
Over in Luke 10, verses 25-29, one of the teachers of religious law, probably a Pharisee, stood up and posed this question to JESUS, asking, “What must I do to receive eternal life”. Ironically JESUS gave the same answer that HE had given to the religious teacher who had asked “Which is the most important commandment?” in both Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 22:34-40), and, in Mark’s Gospels (Mark 12:28-34).
There (in Matthew and Mark) JESUS began by reciting the opening line, of the first part of the three-part “Shema”. “Hear O Israel; the LORD is our GOD, the LORD alone. Then JESUS says that we must “love the LORD THY GOD with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength” (JESUS adds the word “mind” to this list, and I’ll explain why in a minute).
This kind of love calls for a thorough commitment to GOD that is both personal, and, whole of heart. In fact, it speaks to the whole of the make-up of the human being, which is as follows;
· “The heart”, which is the center of human life,
· “The soul”, which is the “self-conscience” life of all men,
· “The mind”, which is the entire thought process of man, and
· “The strength”, which is the entire physical power of man.
In other words, we should “love GOD with every fiber of our being”, and it is no accident that this is also what is covered in the first four commandments (see Exodus 20:3-11), where GOD tells us, in effect, that our love for HIM must be;
· Totally loyal (verse 3),
· Totally faithful (verse 6),
· Totally trusting (verse 7),
· And, we must show total reverence for HIM at all times (verse 8).
Next, JESUS states that we should “love our neighbor as we love ourselves”. This calls for a commitment of “the mind”. As only JESUS can, HE quite literally adds this command to the Shema, and brings into focus, the fourth part of the fiber of the human being. It is not a coincidence that HIS commandment also represents the summation of the remaining six commandments of GOD found in Exodus 20, verses 12-17;
· If we love each other, we can certainly begin with honoring our own parents.
· If we love each other, we are not likely to intentionally, or maliciously take another’s life, which by the way, is made in the image of GOD.
· If we love each other, we will not commit adultery against our spouse with another person.
· If we love each other, we won’t steal from each other.
· If we love each other, we won’t lie on each other, or falsely accuse each other.
· And finally, if we love each other, we won’t jealously desire anything that belongs to someone else.
And so, here in this passage JESUS is saying, that, everything GOD commands us to do is of the utmost importance to HIM, and that, the Ten Commandments can really be viewed as being only two. And both of them, or all ten of them, are of equal importance to GOD.
JESUS concludes by saying, “If we do them, we will live”. There HE means that we will live eternally with GOD in Heaven. And here in Deuteronomy 6, verse 2b, Moses tells the people of Israel the same thing about this life right now, “If you obey all HIS laws and commands, you will enjoy a long life” here on earth. Amen.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander