October 31 I Thursday
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” —Deuteronomy 6:5
It is quite significant that the opening verse’s command comes from the Book of Deuteronomy. The word, “Deuteronomy,” simply means “second law,” which combines deúteros meaning “second” and nomos meaning “law.” The Book of Deuteronomy is a copy of the law; in fact, it is the amplified version of the law given to Moses in the Book of Exodus. Written in the 40th year of the children of Israel’s journey through the wilderness during the last year of Moses’s life, Deuteronomy was the last thing Moses ever wrote. His death, recorded in the last chapter, was presumably written by someone else.
What is interesting throughout the second version of the law is the repetition of “love the LORD.” We find in chapter 11, “Love the LORD your God and keep His requirements, His decrees, His laws and His commands always….to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul….to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to Him and to hold fast to Him” (Deuteronomy 11:1, 13, 22). In chapter 19, “…to love the LORD your God and to walk always in obedience to Him…” (Deuteronomy 19:9). And in chapter 30, “For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to Him, and to keep His commands, decrees and laws…” (Deuteronomy 30:16).
Deuteronomy is permeated with the reminder to “love the LORD.” Even when Joshua replaced Moses in leading the Israelites, Joshua reminded the tribes with Moses’s words, “…keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to Him, to keep His commands, to hold fast to Him and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Joshua 22:5). And in his farewell address before he died, “So be very careful to love the LORD your God” (Joshua 23:11).
John writes in the New Testament, “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Why do we love the Lord? Because He first loved us. Our love of God is a reciprocated love. As we come to experience His love and know His heart, we release our hearts to love Him in return. As we love the Lord, Paul tells us, “...whoever loves God is known by God” (1 Corinthians 8:3). May our love for the Lord grow daily as we experience and know more of His love in our lives.
Prayer: Lord God,
thank You for loving me. Help me to walk obediently, keeping Your commands, holding fast to You as I serve and love You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.