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WITH ALL YOUR HEART

Daily Devotional Deuteronomy 6:1–9


St. Augustine is often quoted as saying, “Love God and do whatever you please.” Taken at face value, it sounds like a license to carefree living. However, the second half of the full quote provides an important qualification: “[F]or the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.”


Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

DEUTERONOMY 6:5


In Deuteronomy 6, we find the command to love God with “all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (v. 5). The Israelites were preparing to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land (v. 1). Just one chapter earlier, the Lord had given Moses the Ten Commandments, containing instructions for His people. They were to observe these commandments and teach them to their children. If they obeyed, God would give them prosperity and longevity (vv. 2–3).


In the center of today’s reading, verses 4–5, is what is known in Jewish tradition as the Shema. This prayer, one of the most important to Jewish people, begins with a call to “hear” (or “obey”). The supremacy of Israel’s God is proclaimed, as is the communal life of His people (v. 4). The Shema also asked people to listen and to respond with love. This love would be marked by their obedience to God’s commands. “Love” and “obey” are interchangeable in the Shema. To love is to obey. To obey is to love. Deuteronomy 5:10 made a similar equation.


Loving God means more than just a feeling. He requires our entire “heart” (intellect), entire “soul” (will), and entire “strength” (function). The people of Israel were commanded to love God not just in part, but with their whole being. And so are we. The passage finishes with further instruction to make these commands a permanent and present fixture in their lives and to pass this loving, obedient life on to the next generation.


Go Deeper


What does it mean to love God with all your heart, soul, and strength? What connection is there between love and obedience?


Pray with Us:


Father God, how can we respond to Your everlasting, amazing love? As we study Your Word this month, teach us to love you with our whole being and to obey You not out of obligation, but out of love.

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