Shema – Listen! (Part 1)

.שְׁמַע, יִשְׂרָאֵל:  יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ, יְהוָה אֶחָד
.וְאָהַבְתָּ, אֵת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, בְּכָל-לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל-נַפְשְׁךָ, וּבְכָל-מְאֹדֶךָ

~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ~

4 “Sh’ma, Yisra’el! Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad [Hear, Isra’el! Adonai our God, Adonai is one]; 5 and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources.

~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5 — CJB~

o_shema_na_foto_hebreia_ver_3_deut_6_4_5-rc2a2691bf92b46ec941fed77e4428240_fk9n_8byvr_324This is one of the most powerful and important scripture passages in the bible. It is of such great import that all of Israel was commanded to keep these words on his heart. They were to meditate on these words, to teach them to their children, to talk about them at home and when they traveled, when they were in bed and when they got up…

6 These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your heart; 7 and you are to teach them carefully to your children. You are to talk about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them on your hand as a sign, put them at the front of a headband around your forehead, 9 and write them on the door-frames of your house and on your gates.

~ Deuteronomy 6:6-9 — CJB ~

Image Credit; churchinthecanyon.org
Image Credit;
churchinthecanyon.org

In other words, the people of Israel were (and still are) to love the Lord with their whole heart. “Shema Yisra’el!” Moses told the people. “Listen to me! Hear me!” Whenever we have something important to share with someone, we often preface it with the words, “Listen to me or  Hear me!” It is the same with the Lord, when He wants our attention, so He can share something with us. He tells us…

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

~ Revelation 3:22 — NKJV ~

Open your ears, and come to Me;
listen well, and you will live —
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
the grace I assured David.

~ Isaiah 55:3 — CJB ~

Beloved, this word is not just for Israel. This word is for every man, woman and child that lives, that ever has lived and that ever will live. The word that I share with you today is life, so I entreat you, Shema! Listen to me! Hear me!

4 “Sh’ma, Yisra’el! Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad [Hear, Isra’el! Adonai our God, Adonai is one]; 5 and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 — CJB~

Image Credit: gabriella50.wordpress.com
Image Credit:
gabriella50.wordpress.com

As a mother, when I told my children to listen, I didn’t just mean that I wanted them to hear me, because all too often, children hear what we’re saying, as the words go into one ear and out through the other. When I told my children, or when I tell my grandchildren, or when I am telling you to listen, I don’t just want you to hear my words. I want you to heed my words. I want you to take these words to heart and ponder them. I want you to act on these words. 

Shema Beloved Reader! There is only One God, and you must love Him with all of your heart… So, what does it mean to love with our whole heart?

The Hebrew word for heart used here is lebab (pronounced lā·väv’)

I.     inner man, mind, will, heart, soul, understanding

A.     inner part, midst

i.     midst (of things)
ii.    heart (of man)
iii.   soul, heart (of man)
iv.   mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory
v.    inclination, resolution, determination (of will)
vi.   conscience
vii.  heart (of moral character)
viii. as seat of appetites
ix.   as seat of emotions and passions
x.    as seat of courage

Shema Beloved Readers! There is only One God, and you must love the Him with all of your heart… your inner man… your mind… your will… your soul… your understanding… Shema! Hear me – this is not a half-hearted act on your part. You are commanded to love the Lord your God with ALL your heart.

Image Credit: inovizion.co.za
Image Credit:
inovizion.co.za

This means that you are to love Him with your entire inmost being. I love digging deeply into the word, so that I can understand more fully what it is that the Lord is commanding us to do. The Lord commands us to love Him with our full heart, in the midst of everything… 

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to love God when everything is going your way? It’s really easy to love Him when you have plenty of food in your pantry, and plenty of money in the bank. It’s easy to love Him when your loved ones love you back. Loving God is easy when you and your loved ones have your health. It is good to love the Lord your God in these circumstances…

But how do you feel when all hell breaks loose around you? Do you continue to love God when you and your loved ones suffer all sorts of trauma and pain? Do you continue to love the Lord your God when you are despised, rejected and abused? Do you love the Lord your God when your children or your grandchildren have been misused and abused? Do you love Him with all of your inmost being, when someone you love suffers and dies, in spite of all your heartfelt prayers? Shema Beloved! This is the kind of love the Lord commands us to give Him.

Do you set your heart on Him, giving Him all of your love, even though you watch all that you hoped and dreamed for come crashing and burning at your feet? You see, this is what it means to love the Lord with your whole heart, and He will not settle for less. When you’re going through hell, and it seems that all is lost, while people advise you to just curse God and die, do you begin to reflect on the goodness of God? In the midst of your suffering, are you able to remember the many times when God showed Himself strong on your behalf? As the pain threatens to destroy you, do you determine in your will (heart) that you will still love Him… still worship Him… still  serve Him… still praise Him, as the sons of Korah did?

My soul, why are you so downcast?
Why are you groaning inside me?
Hope in God, since I will praise Him again
for being my Savior and God.

~ Psalm 42:11 — CJB ~

Shema Beloved Readers! Hear me! Do you love the Lord your God with all of your passion? For too long, the church has taught that love is a verb, an act of the will and nothing more. The fact is that love is a verb. It is an act of will… but it is so much more than that! You see, the church also taught that love is not a feeling, and that is a lie. Love is indeed a feeling, as well as an act of will. You see, my friends, I choose to love the Lord my God with all my heart, no matter what my circumstances are, and no matter how bad the pain is. 

I choose to love Him by remembering all that He is… He is the One who loved me when no one else did… He is the One who has never left me nor forsaken me… He is the One who died to pay for my sins… He is the One who loved me long before I ever loved Him… He is the One who chose me… He is the One who redeemed me and called me by name… He is the One who suffered for my sake… He is the One who saved me… delivered me… set me free… gives me hope…

You see, as I remember who He is and all that He’s done for me, my love for Elohim is no longer simply an act of will. With each remembrance, I feel a stirring within my soul, and my passion for my Maker is kindled. Shema Beloved Readers! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart…

Do you love Him? Beloved Readers, meditate on this passage. There’s so much more to it, that we’ll continue another day, but for now, Shema Beloved Reader! Love the Lord your God with all your heart!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

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