The Great Commandment
Deuteronomy 6:4, 5
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

I. THE GROUND OF IT. A just view of God. The view given in ver. 4 is as comprehensive as it is sublime. It embraces two parts mutually complementary.

1. God's absoluteness and unity - "Jehovah one."

2. God's personal relation to Israel - "Your God." The two are combined:

3. In the covenant name - "Jehovah." This, on the one hand, denotes God as the Eternal - the ever-living, the self-existent, and therefore self-consistent One. On the other, it gathers into its rich significance the love, and truth, and faithfulness of centuries of gracious revelation. It will not awaken love to God to think of him merely as absolute Deity. It is the discovery of what else is contained in the Divine essence; above all, the revelation of his love, grace, and covenant-keeping faithfulness, which attracts affection. While, without the revelation of God as one and absolute - exclusive, self-subsisting Deity - it would be impossible to raise the demand for love to the requisite moral height. In Jesus Christ the revelation of God reaches its highest point. Only the Son could reveal him in the fullness of his glory and love.

II. THE HEIGHT OF IT. It requires not merely that God should be loved, but loved with all the powers of our being, and with all the energy of these powers.

1. With clear intelligence - "mind" (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:33).

2. With undivided affection ? "heart."

3. With entire self-surrender - "soul."

4. With strenuous energy - "might."

The right view of God is obviously presupposed in the command to love him. The command would be unmeaning as addressed to a polytheist, a pantheist, an agnostic, or even to a deist disbelieving in revelation. But this view of God being given, the demand, as obviously, could not be placed lower. God as Creator and Savior cannot accept a place in our affections lower than the supreme one. He will have this or none. It is due to our morally perverted state that this demand should ever be felt by us to be unreasonable. Pure beings would not feel it to be so. They would delight in the exercise of love to God, and find it natural and easy. The angels, Christ, the just made perfect, love the Father thus. Nor ought the height of this demand unduly to discourage us. Love to God is truly begotten, though not yet perfected, in every heart which has made choice of God as its supreme Portion, and cleaves to him with constancy. God has the ruling place in such a heart, and it needs but growth to raise our love to its required purity and vigor. What is left unattained on earth will be attained in heaven. - J.O.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

WEB: Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is one:

One God
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