The video of this lesson can be viewed on the Sunset International Bible Institute YouTube channel by clicking on this link.
- Our passage is called the “Sh’ma” (pronounced She-MAH, and meaning “Listen” or “hear”). It has been used as a prayer by devout Jewish people since before the time of Jesus.
- It is the first verse in the Torah every Jewish child memorizes.
- It is still the first prayer in the morning and last prayer at night a religious Jewish person offers.
- Moses is speaking to those ready to enter the Land of Canaan under Joshua.
- They and their parents have spent almost 40 years after leaving Egypt learning to fully believe in, trust, and obey the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
- They had to learn that the core of their Law and their obedience was that YHWH was the only God there is!
- “I am YHWH your God, who brought you out of Egypt”
- “You shall have no other gods other than me”
- “You shall not make a carved image… you shall not bow down to them or serve them”
- They had learned many hard lessons in the desert, and a whole generation had died there, because of their idolatry, rebellion, disobedience and grumbling.
- In chapter 4, YHWH says, “Hear… follow… keep… observe” – Deut. 4:1-6
- Again in chapter 5, “Hear, O Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them.” – Deut. 5:1
- Sh’ma in Hebrew meant, “listen, hear, with the intent to obey or do.” It does not mean simply letting the sounds vibrate against the ear drums. Used also in Deuteronomy 6:3-4; 7:12; 8:20.
- Here is the point. Truly obeying God begins by:
- Knowing there is only one God – the One who has delivered us and the One we have entered into covenant with
- Devoting ourselves to loving Him with all of our heart, all of our life, and all of our efforts.
- In other words, only if I am totally convinced that there is a God, and that He is my God, and only if I then commit myself to love Him with all my being… then, and only then will I always be able obey Him.
- The combination of loving and obeying YHWH is found throughout the Old Testament – examples include Exodus 20:6; Joshua 22:5; 23:11; Nehemiah 1:5; Daniel 9:4.
- Through the Old Testament, numerous judgments against Israel came because they did not “listen” to the LORD their God.
- Jesus said this passage is the Greatest Commandment of all – on it all other commands depend. Mark 12:29-30.
CONCLUSION: In closing we know that Jesus then told His disciples (and aren’t we His disciples?), “If you love Me, you will keep My commands!” (John 14:15). “Hear, O Israel. The LORD our God is One. And you shall love the LORD your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your strength.”