What do you think is the most important commandment God ever gave to us?
In the book of Deuteronomy God gave Moses a prayer to give to the Hebrew people. It’s called the shema (pronounced without the “e” sound – shmah – you can practice saying it together).
The shema gives us a statement about God and then gives us a command to obey. Here is what the shema says, see if you can hear the statement about God and then the command:
Deuteronomy 6:4-5. 4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
The Hebrews (now called the Jewish people) prayed this prayer twice a day every day – at breakfast and at dinner. They prayed it on holidays. They prayed it when special things happened. And they still do! The shema is a really important prayer.
In fact, even Jesus prayed the shema. Not only that, but when he was asked what the most important commandment in all the Bible was can you guess what he said? That’s right, he said the shema was the most important commandment. “Love God” is commandment number one.
But why is loving God the most important commandment? Because we were created by God to be loved by him and to love him in return. God IS love the Bible says. When God made us to be in his image, to reflect him, that means that he made us to love like he loves.
But there’s a really big problem with this commandment from God isn’t there? Do any of us really love God with ALL our heart, ALL our soul, ALL our might? No, we don’t. We all fail at loving God completely.
And it’s even weird that God is commanding us to love him. Can you force someone to love you? Have you ever gone up to your family or friends and said “I command you to love me!” Or, “Love me or else.” Usually forcing someone to love you makes them love you less.
But there is a way that God can command us to love him, and that’s if we are first able to be loved BY him.
In the New Testament it says, “We love God because he first loved us (1 Jn. 4:19).
Never, ever forget this very important truth – God always loves us first. THEN we can love him back. And when we receive his love through Jesus, we have God’s love inside of our hearts now. That means that God’s own love lives inside of us. And that means that God can now command us to love him back, because he knows that love is in our hearts. Love for him and love for others.
Do you know how much God loves you? Think about Jesus.
Do you know how much Jesus loves you? Think about the cross of Jesus.
Did you know that if you are trusting in God’s love through Jesus’ death for you on the cross, then you have Jesus’ own love living inside of you? Now over time you will learn to love God more, and more, and more, until one day when we will all love God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our might, just like Jesus does now.
Because of Jesus even when I fail to love God, God still loves me.
With Jesus we can love God more and more.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Here’s a great song to sing and dance to together!
Because of you, God will always love me first. Help me to learn how to love God with all my thoughts, and feelings, and actions.
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