by John Sainsbury
7 April 2021« Previous Day | Next Day »
These verses of Scripture are the beginnings of what is known as the Shema, which is Hebrew for “Hear”. It has become known as the Jewish confession of faith and is recited every day by pious Jews and every Sabbath day in the synagogue. It is a reminder that there is one God, the God who created all things. That must have been a great relief to the Jews at the time it was first recorded. Unlike the nations that surrounded them, they didn’t have to worry about keeping a multiplicity of different gods happy. They only had to concentrate on the one true God.
In our day too there are multiple voices calling for our attention. Every time we watch TV or use social media there are competing voices calling for us to buy this product or use this service. Each voice promises that our lives will be better if we simply trust their voice. Funny then how discontented so many of us feel even after we’ve acted on these voices!
But the Shema reminds us that a better way to live our lives is to focus on just one voice, the voice of the LORD our God. He doesn’t ask us to buy this or that, rather He simply asks one thing of us: that we love Him. God’s love is not one that demands we do anything for Him, save one, that we love Him. And that love is to be with our whole being: our heart, our soul, and our strength.
But why should we love Him, we might ask? Because, the bible tells us, He first loved us! In Jesus the one true God is fully made known to us. Jesus came to fully reveal God to us. And in his death on the cross the fullness of God’s love for us is made known for all to see. On the cross it was as if Jesus stretched wide His arms and invited any who’d believe to receive His love for them. Jesus couldn’t have made His love for us any clearer. The Shema invites us to accept that love and give him ours in return – in every aspect of our being.
Maybe that simple, daily repetition of this phrase would help us hear the only voice that really counts: ‘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’.
Prayer: Dear LORD God, thank You that You are the only true God, the maker of heaven and earth. Thank You that You so clearly demonstrated Your love for us when Jesus gave Himself fully for us in His death upon the cross. Thank You, LORD Jesus, that You made that incredible sacrifice even for me. I offer You afresh this day my love in return, the love of my heart, my soul and my strength. Amen.
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