Deuteronomy 6:4-6: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.”

“Love command” sounds a bit awkward, doesn’t it? We all know that nobody loves on command. So it’s pretty obvious that the body of law penned down in the Torah is not meant to be obeyed but lived and breathed. It is a gross misunderstanding to think of the Bible as a rule book. The Bible is a testimony of God’s love relationship with His creation, us humans included. It’s meant to encourage and invite all sons and daughters of Adam and Eve back to the Garden of Eden.

Leviticus 22:31-32 explains how we get back to the Garden:

“Keep my commands and follow them. I am the Lord. Do not profane my holy name, for I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the Lord, who made you holy”

The Torah was written to carve God’s personality traits into stone. All His character traits flow into one pool and come under a common denominator: holiness. Holiness has an interesting push-and-pull effect. Drawing close to the Lord we become sanctified and are integrated into His kingdom. We become holy because God is holy. His holiness actively transforms us. And yet, if we are unwilling to change, we will stay apart from the Lord. It is impossible to be with Him and not be transformed.

In the stellar core of the Sun, hydrogen nucleus is merged under incredible pressure to form helium nucleus. Some elements are destroyed in this process called “nuclear fusion” while some are reformed to become part of the Sun’s energy. Comparatively speaking, we either merge into God’s holiness becoming part of His kingdom or we keep separate and get busted. With this imagery in mind, I believe it is no accident that Moses encountered God in a burning bush – a bush that was burning, yet not consumed by fire. That’s what holiness is all about.  It is the paradox of a life-altering (not destroying) fire.

Meanwhile, outside of Eden, death has profoundly damaged and altered our DNA.  We can say that nature has become corrupted. All of creation is subject to that. However, this situation can be reversed.

We stopped trusting in the Lord back in the Garden when we could still taste and see His goodness in an unspoiled creation all around us. Now, outside the Garden, we are called to trust again.  This is a circle that cannot be broken: because of lack of trust we once lost Eden. And by way of trust we’ll get reintroduced.

Posted in Law

5 thoughts on “Deuteronomy 6:4-6: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.”

      1. Israel as I understand it is not an absract term, but primarily the name of the people whom God (El, as you rightly translated) had chosen forever to bring His Light to the world, through abiding those 613 commandments, as we are told in many places in the Torah. In a wider sense it IS also an IDEA which can include other nations, but only through actual Am Israel and their fulfillment of the Torah. For they are Israel. Indeed Rash”i, our great commentator says that the meaning of The Shema, is: Hear o Israel, O Jew(s) hear this : HaShem who is OUR lord now, shall be the lord of everyone and everything at the end of Time, when all comes to Unity – Echad.

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  1. I am definitely looking forward to the blessed unity at the end of Time, not a man-made unity, which never works, but a unity God puts in place, which is more like a reunion because in the beginning we were One with our Creator. What a reunion that will be! Can you imagine the beautiful multi-faceted worship, abounding creativity, the most interesting thought exchange among the people of God and their Creator? That’s the hope of my heart. Thanks for sharing. Love your blog!

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