Loving the Lord God
Scriptures: Deuteronomy 5:4-29 (Exodus 20:2-17) Deuteronomy 6:2 John 14:15 1 John 4:7-10
“I don’t know how to love Him.” Many of you will recall this song from the score of ‘JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR’. It points to a feature of the Jewish and Christian faith which makes them stand out from other faiths. Our God, the great Creator, is the God who looks for relationship with His creation.
As we read Deuteronomy 5:4-29 we hear God speaking to the Jews and outlining what being in a Covenant with Him would mean. The amazing thing is that God spells it out directly, speaking to His chosen people because He longs for them to obey for their own sake.
The Decalogue, or Ten Commandments appear for the second time here. See Exodus 20:2-17 for the first occasion. Moses uses this encounter with God to emphasise the importance of passing down these commandments and how they should be worked out.
The people were overwhelmed to find that their God was not some evil tyrant waiting to condemn them and destroy them. The Lord their God loved them passionately and His desire was for their good.
So Moses began to explain to those listening the essential nature of passing on the teaching to coming generations (Deuteronomy 6:2) Following, comes the prayer central to the Jewish faith. It is known as the Shema. This word is the first in the section and it means, ‘hear’. Then follows an expression of the Covenant in a few words.
1. The Lord alone is the God of Israel.
2. The people of God are a unity. When God says, “you” He means everybody.
3. Being God’s children is more than attending synagogue on the Sabbath. It is a relationship involving love and obedience.
John’s gospel tells us most about the final days Jesus spent with His disciples and what He taught them about their future, preaching the Kingdom, performing miracles, and leading the Church. They did not seem to register all He told them but John recorded it and points his readers toward the key to discipleship through the words of Jesus - “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15)
Unlike other religions where the gods were to be worshipped out of fear, Christians obey Jesus the moment our eyes are opened to see His immense love and sacrifice for us.
In his first letter, John writes:-
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:7-10)
It is a thing most wonderful, Almost too wonderful to be, That God’s own son should come from Heaven And die to save a child like me.
I cannot tell how He could love A child so weak and full of sin His love must be most wonderful If He could die, my love to win.
But even could I see Him die, I could but see a little part, Of that great love which like a fire, Is always burning in His heart.
It is most wonderful to know His love for me so free and sure But ‘tis more wonderful to see My love for Him so faint and poor
And yet I want to love Thee Lord O light the flame within my heart And I will love Thee more and more Until I see Thee as Thou art.
(William Walsham How)