Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Totality of Devotion

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 says, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your hear and with all your soul and with all your might." (ESV)
Today's reading was from Deuteronomy 5-7, and by "today's" I mean the left over readings from last year's Bible reading plan. To help my understanding of the Old Testament, I recently purchased "The Message of the Old Testament" by Mark Dever (which is only $6 for the ebook). As I read the introduction in Dever's book, he pointed out that Deuteronomy contains some well-known verses, including a verse in today's passage. Verses 6:4-5 is known in Hebrew as the shema, a famous passage, that is used as a part of Jewish prayer and confession (New Oxford American Dictionary). 

I've heard this verse probably all my life, but what God brought to my attention today is the footnote in my Bible, that the Hebrew in verse 4 may be translated different ways:
"The Lord our God is one Lord" or "The Lord is our God, the Lord is one" or "The Lord is our God, the Lord alone" 
Reading all three of these translations really helped me understand the meaning of this verse more completely. The last translation helped me the most, probably because it is more applicable to my life: there is no room for idols in devotion to the Lord.  

Then, as I went on to read verse 5, I almost glazed over this powerful verse simply because I've heard it so much (Lord, forgive me). But by God's grace, He showed me the weight of this verse through the note in the Reformation Study Bible:
"The Hebrew expresses totality...This is the language of devotion. God does not demand mere outward obedience to a law, but the heartfelt love and commitment of the whole person."
I'm my mind, I thought, "love God with heart (I think I can do that), soul (not sure what that means), and might (um...)," but tonight God showed me He wants my TOTAL devotion. Love Him with everything, in every way, all the time...God give me the grace to follow Your commands, for Your commands are not burdensome.

1 comment:

  1. So true, Leslie.

    And it's a truth that needs to be spoken and written so that we encourage one another. I especially love the third translation in your Bible's footnote - 'The Lord is our God, the Lord alone'. Or 'The Lord is our Mighty One, the Lord alone' (because the Hebrew for 'God' is 'Elohim' which means 'The Mighty One').

    I don't know why, but seeing it written that way just makes it even more special for me.