In Deuteronomy 6:4-6, we see Moses talking to Israel about the decrees and laws God had directed him to teach the Israelites when they were about to cross the Jordan River to the Promise Land. This is what we now know the SHEMA:
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.
This eventually became a twice-daily prayer in the Jewish practice, and Jesus probably also grew up praying it which is why when he was asked what was the greatest commandment from the TORAH was, he referred to the SHEMA as the greatest commandment. The second being to loving others.
But what does it really mean to love God? In Hebrew, the term that they used for love in the SHEMA, was אהבה (ahavah) which refers to the kind of affection or care one person shows another. In the context of Deuteronomy, Moses was basically telling the Israelites that He chose them as His people because of His ahavah for them; that this love originated from God’s own character (God is love), not because they did anything to earn or deserve His love. We are then called to respond to God’s ahavah by showing the same ahavah in return.
But loving God doesn’t just mean reflecting the kind of love that he has for us by extending that love to other people (even those that seem unlovable). If you think about it, it’s humanly impossible to love even your enemies, because it is not by our own power and might that we are able to love even the unlovable. We are only able to extend that love if we accepted Jesus Christ in our lives and keep an intimate relationship with Him.
God desires that we have an intimate relationship with Him in the same way that we have an intimate relationship with our spouse. Intimacy and oneness involves keeping an active communication between two people and so the way that we keep that active communication between God and ourselves is when we pray.
Pray about anything. Pray when in distress…pray and intercede for others…and most importantly pray with thanksgiving. No prayer is too small or too big for the Lord. God wants to know that He is part of our day-to-day and so let prayer be your life. And when God hears you through prayer, God will direct your ways and comfort you in His Word.
Like Paul’s encouragement in Philippians 4:6-7, I encourage you, let your requests be made known to God. IN EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving. And His peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
I pray to God—my life a prayer—and wait for what he’ll say and do. My life’s on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning.Psalm 103:5 MSG
Reflect on HOSEA 2:16; 19-20:
The Lord loves you that He called you as His since the beginning of time. You are His betrothed and He desires an intimate relationship with You and calls You to respond to His love.
“And it shall be, in that day,” says the Lord, “That you will call Me ‘My Husband’, and no longer call Me ‘My Master,’” (v. 16) “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindess and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.” (v. 19-20)
Lord, thank You for showering us with Your love. Thank You that even now, You are giving us the desire to have an even more intimate relationship with You. We know that You hear our prayers and that You are guiding our steps through Your Word. Continue to water the seeds that You have planted in us when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior so that we grow deeply rooted in Your Word. Strengthen us and encourage us with Your words so that we are kept far away from what is false. And give us Your grace to always stay true to Your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.