I am sitting here in Panera Bread in Massillon, Ohio, after a long few days of moving and am now trying to adjust living in a basement in a house with my wife and my in-laws, including a sweet, but a very 10 year old sister-in-law. For instance, I learned last night that Heather, my sister-in-law, gets overly excited and hyper when American Idol is on. But what can I say? Last night was Bon Jovi night. I was a little excited too.
This past Friday, April 27, 2007, my wife and I celebrated our five-year anniversary. We celebrated with dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings (her choice and I wasn’t complaining) and then having Hot Fudge Brownie Cake that my mother-in-law had made. All in all, probably not the way I would have chose to celebrate, but with circumstances being the way that they are, I was quite pleased.
These past few weeks have been marked by some real turbulence in my Spirit and in my prayer life. I sometimes feel like I have literally fought with God. Trying to find His exact will is often very tumultuous. I have tried to be a good Christian, a good soldier, and “dig in.” I have tried to continue reading my Bible every day as I am trying to remain on track for reading in all in two years. I am also going through a demanding program at my in-laws church (not ours yet and I’m not sure it will be) called BILD. It’s a good program, from what I can tell, although I haven’t completed the first lesson yet because of that crazy move.
This morning, in my devotions, I read the “Shema.” It is Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
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. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
I have been struggling lately with the idea of people who always talk about God and/or Jesus, like it’s the only conversation they know how to have! With all due respect to their love for Christ, I have noticed that most of these people are more heavenly minded than they are earthly good. I have often thought, rather erroneously, that God should be a component of my life. While that is somewhat true, it is not fully true. The Shema tears down that idea completely. It says that you shall love the Lord (LORD in the KJV; denotes the use of the proper name of God spelled YHWH, often written as “Yahweh” and pronounced “Adonai”) your God with all your heart, soul, and might. While God can remain a component of your life, we are commanded to love Him with everything we have. In the context of this passage, what God was saying is that YHWH was clearly saying that HE is GOD. He was saying this to a people who were prone to embrace multiple gods. God is clearing saying here, “YHWH is God, not a god among many that you can put on your shelf and worship with the others. YHWH is the God.” God is clear that he is not to be a part of a polytheistic culture, but a monotheistic one. He is God, He is the only God and he deserves to be worshiped as the only God with all of our heart, soul, and might and not to be shared with anything else.
You ever asked a question and just had God answer it directly? Well, there you go…
I urge you to do what verse 6 says. Keep these things in your heart. Dwell on them throughout the day. Love YHWH with all your heart, soul, and strength.