Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Theological Education For the Confirmation of FaithYou shall love the LORD your God
The English title of the book, Deuteronomy, comes from two Greek words ‘deutros’ means second and ‘nomos’ means law. This title, meaning "second law," arose from a misunderstanding of the term in 17:18, where it means "a copy of the law." The Hebrew name ‘elleh hadevarim, (These are the words), comes from the opening phrase: (These are the words...) and another prevalent name for the book is Mishne-Torah. This book is the fifth and final book of the Pentateuch or the Torah, which is believed to written by Moses.
Here God is giving a map to Israel that leads them to God and that map contains God’s commandments. The starting point of the map is the great commandment, “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.”
This is not a commandment given to some people at a certain point of time in history but it is imperative for all believers at all times. The great commandment is designated so the whole faith community can follow to be known and remain as the people of God. This is the identity card, that shows who we are. “Hear, O Israel” is known as Shema, the Shema expresses the essence of Judaism, that God must be loved and obeyed at all times. These words are inscribed on small scrolls contained in a box called a mezuzah fastened to the doorpost of Jewish homes. The wearing of a small mezuzah (usually a cylinder) around the neck on a chain is a modern adaptation of the ancient custom. (6: 8-9)
Why it is a custom so that the people of God can be constantly reminded of their identity and teach all the generations to live in the ways of LORD our God. In every moment, every turn, every thought God wants us to keep these words. This imperative is the top priority for the people of God to follow God’s word constantly.
From v10-v13, God reminds them how God became the God of their ancestors, Abraham, Issac and Jacob and the gifts of God given to them that are not the fruits of their labour. When God reminds them about what God has done, there is a possibility, that we may think that our God is boastful. Never, does God highlights these because our loving God does not want His children to live away from Him. In v12, God says “take care that you do not forget the LORD.” Our Lord our God who sees all time knows that His people are vulnerable to sin that is living a life away from God.
When we study the word of God, our understanding of the covenantal love of God multiplies and culminates in the extreme form of God’s love through Jesus Christ. Jesus fulfils the covenant by giving us the second greatest commandment and that is “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22: 39). Christ followed these commandments till His death and became the model for all of us to follow. We are called Christians for this reason, we all are bound to live our life in triune God. Let us submit ourselves once again to God in prayer.
Our Lord our God, we are grateful to you to be called as your people. O Lord, we repent that we have sinned in numerous ways but your everlasting love in Jesus Christ binds us with you over our sins. Help us O triune God to love you by obeying your word and love our neighbour as ourselves. In Jesus’ name, your humble people pray…Amen.
Dan Thomas George
Mar Thoma Theological Seminary,