And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
lords many and gods many." Science here confirms Scripture. The unity of design, running through all natural law and force, indicates clearly unity of the Creator. To know the true God is, for honest minds, to love him. But rebellion of heart has engendered repugnance towards God - dislike, hatred, enmity.
I. THE SOURCE OF ALL AUTHORITY IS A BEING OF ESSENTIAL GOODNESS.
1. He is sole Monarch, incomparable and unapproachable. He dwells alone, higher than the highest creature. The disparity between him and an archangel is immeasurable,
2. He is absolutely perfect. Every attribute and quality that is essential to perfection is found in him. "He is light," having no dark shade anywhere.
3. He is the Source of life: Jehovah - the Living - the Life-giving. All we have, and are, and hope to be, is derived from him.
4. He has deigned to come into intimate relation with us. He has made a voluntary compact with us. He calls us his people. He allows us to call Lira our God. We have a proprietorship in him.
II. THIS GOD DESERVES THE CENTRAL PLACE IN OUR HEARTS. Because of the moral beauty and essential goodness of our God, he is incomparably most worthy of human love. To give to any other a higher place in our affection than we give to God, would be an outrage against righteousness, fitness, and self-interest. For all these faculties and susceptibilities of the human heart have been fashioned by God himself, and have been fashioned for this very purpose, viz. that we should bestow our worthiest love on him. If this eternal design be frustrated, there is violence, disharmony, misery within. Such love is commanded. It is a duty as well as a privilege. Though we cannot instantly and summarily command our love, we can indirectly. We can fix our thought on the worthiest object of love. We can contemplate his charms. We can appreciate his goodness. We can assure ourselves of his love. It is to be an intelligent, reasonable, practical love.
III. THE LOVE OF THE LAWGIVER PRODUCES LOVE TO HIS LAW. Law is a projection of God's thought, a mirror of his mind, an overt act of love. The true child will highly esteem every known wish of its father. To have practical direction from an unseen father will be treasured as a choice token of that father's regard. If children, we shall hide every word of our father in our memory and in our love. Every wish of his heart will be a visible feature in our life. It may be painful to the flesh, but it will be pleasant to the soul. To the dutiful child, obedience is a luxury, a banquet of joy. "Oh! how I love thy Law!" exclaims the pious Psalmist. "Thy Law is within my heart." Thy Word is to me as honey, as the droppings of the honeycomb.
IV. LOVE IS THE MOTIVE-POWER OF SPEECH. The tongue is the servant of the heart. We speak freely and fluently of that which is dear to our hearts. The child will speak freely of its toys anti games, the farmer of his crops, the artist of his works. If men esteemed and valued God's Word, they would spontaneously converse of it, morning, noon, and night. It would be a painful restraint upon our desire if we withheld our speech. This precept of Moses need not be an external law imposed upon us from without; it may become the living law within, "the law of the Spirit of life."
V. LOVE CONSTRUCTS ITS WHOLE LIFE ON THE MODEL OF GOD'S LAW. The hand will become the instrument of righteousness. On it will be written God's Word, viz. industry, honesty, restraint, generous kindness, helpfulness. God's Word will be our ornament. Instead of gold and jewels upon the forehead, "our adornment will be" modesty, chastity, cheerfulness, moral beauty. God's Name will be indelibly inscribed upon our foreheads. Oar domestic affairs will be ordered by the Divine will. We shall write his Word on the posts of our houses. Every home in which love dwells will be a temple. Order, active piety, frugality, peace, mutual service, will be the principles conspicuous in godly homes. And our municipal and political life will be conducted on the same line of obedience. Legislation, justice, taxation, commerce, literature, art, will all be consecrated to God's glory. As the flowers of earth send their fragrance heavenward, so from every act of ours a fragrance of homage should ascend to God. - D.
I. I am to consider THE NATURE AND EXCELLENCY OF THAT TEMPER OF MIND WHICH YOU ARE TO EXERCISE TOWARDS THE JEHOVAH OF ISRAEL. If you are men and have the feelings of humanity, I need not explain to you what love is. Without it, the names of father, son, brother, friend, and every charity of life, are vanity and a lie. But, though I refer to your hearts for the feeling of the temper we speak of, yet remember that as it varies in purity, in strength, and tenderness towards our connections on earth, so will it differ much. more when exercised towards the Lord our God. The love of God is founded in just apprehensions of His character. The very idea of God should contain in it all possible perfection in an infinite degree. There is no weakness in Him that thou shouldest despise Him and cast off His fear. He hath not burdened thee; that thou shouldest be weary of His service. He hath not wronged thee, that thou shouldest hate Him and break His commandments. The love of God is also founded on a due sense of His mercies. He hath given us life, and breath, and all things; and in Him we live, move, and have our being. He is perfectly good in Himself, and perfectly good to us, and to love Him with all our heart and to serve Him with all our strength is our rational service. If we do not, the very stones will cry out against our ingratitude, and evil, as well as good, angels will condemn us when we are judged. Consider how honourable this temper of love is to the blessed God, and to His happy worshippers. It exhibits Him in the lovely and confidential character of the Universal Father, the Father of mercies, and the God of all hope and of all consolations. It sheds the oil of gladness on all the springs and wheels of duty, and makes His service perfect freedom. For love is liberal in its gifts, unwearied in its services; it casts out tormenting fear, and indulges no suspicion in the unlimited confidence it reposes on the God of our salvation. Finally, it is a principle of universal obedience to all God's commandments, to all men, at all times, and under all circumstances. Love is the ruling affection of every soul of man, and, though false to every other principle, to this he will be ever true, as the needle to the pole. For where a man's treasure is, there will his heart be also; and if the love of God exist in the soul, it will regulate and subject to itself every other principle. If we reject this Divine principle, how shall we supply its place? Faith itself is unprofitable but as it worketh by love. Obedience is a lifeless form of godliness but as it is animated by the spirit of love.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.1. This verse is the meeting point of the law and the Gospel. Very wonderful it must have sounded in the ear of Israel. To be bidden, not only or chiefly to fear Him as the God revealed in lightnings and thunderings and voices on Sinai; not only or chiefly to keep themselves from provoking a wrath so awful, a jealousy so sensitive and so terrible; but to love Him, to love Him as the whole of duty, to love Him notwithstanding — nay, partly because of — His incommunicable glory!
2. The words are very strong, very touching: "With all thine heart." Let the affections, even the emotions, find in God their object and satisfaction. "And with all thy soul." Let the immortal thing within thee, let the everlasting being which thou art, come out towards this Lord God, and devote itself, in the central life, in the moving will, to Him as its Creator, Owner, Father, Saviour, Comforter. "And with all thy might." Not with the feeblest, but with the mightiest of all thy faculties of thought and speech and action — with the mightiest of all, at their mightiest, in a devotion of which man is the priest and self the sacrifice.
3. Two things lie on the surface of the text.(1) The first is, the testimony here borne to God. He asks our love. What an idea must this give of His character! We all know how it draws us towards a man to know that, being active, manly, strong, and supporting many burdens of care, and work, and thought, and responsibility, he also has a warm heart — nay, even is womanly in his tenderness; craves affection; is touched by the response of gratitude; loves love; has even a void place within till love fills it. Does not this raise him in your esteem? The tenderness is the complement of the strength.(2) And what is this love which God asks of us? It is not different in kind, it differs only in direction, from that which we give one to another. Think what love is, as you give it to your nearest and best beloved. Think of it in its spring in the heart; think of it in its course day by day; think of it as it prompts the word and the act that shall give pleasure; think of it as it makes presence a delight and separation a sorrow; think of it as it wrings from your soul the sob of anguish when you have vexed or wounded or wronged the object of it — and there, in those experiences common to all of us, you have the affection which God Himself here calls love, and which He asks of us.
4. And now reflect upon the mighty consequences and inferences of this demand. See how it deals with life — the life of men, the life of nations — in so far as it is received.(1) There is a thirst, in all of us, for liberty. Some men idolise liberty; care not if it run to licence; abhor, not tyranny alone, but authority; ask, "Who is Lord over us?" or mingle truth and falsehood, saying, "Even in religion there can be no obligation." See in this text how God offers liberty. He bids us love. He would make us free by one great Abolition Act. He would strike off the fetters of religion itself.(2) There is another cry of the age — and that is, equality. An impatience of differences; an obliteration of distinctions, clamoured for on the one side — on the other, half-yielded, half-resisted, selfishness resisting — vanity, whether the vanity which would discern, or the vanity which would lead, or the vanity which would please this echoing the cry and yielding. This is one cry of equality. Another is the impatience of God in equalities — those, I mean, which He keeps in His own power: differences of constitution, of fortune, or circumstance; differences which make one man prosperous and another unsuccessful, etc. Now we see how the offer of God's love bears upon all these things. If all may have this — and if nothing but this can satisfy, endure, give peace, or survive death — where is inequality? Where, in a moment or two will it be?(3) It is needless, yet delightful, to record, in harmony with the last reflection, the operation of this love of God upon the unity of the human brotherhood. Philanthropists, as well as revolutionists, talk much of fraternity. Christians know that brotherhood hangs upon falsehood; that only they who love from the heart "Him that begat" will ever love from the heart "the begotten of Him."
II. THE MEASURE OF THAT TEMPER YOU ARE COMMANDED TO EXERCISE towards the Lord your God: "Thou shalt love Him with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength." The love so strongly marked is of no ordinary character. It is pure, grateful, strong, affectionate, fervent, and reverent; specifically different from all earthly affection. As the light of the sun darkeneth all other lights, so doth the love of God absorb other principles. It requires us cheerfully to recognise Jehovah as Father of our spirits, the God of our lives, and the Lord of our possessions: as entitled to dispose of us, of our wives, our children, our fortunes, our time, our talents, our reputation, and our influence, when and how He pleaseth. Nor is this requisition unreasonable or unrighteous. For we, and all we have, are His. He loveth us better than we love ourselves. He is wise, under every circumstance of life and death, to know what is best for us, in this world and in the next; and His power is able to effect all His goodness shall prompt and His wisdom shall contrive. In the absolute surrender of ourselves to Him lieth all our honour, our happiness, and our security. What greater honour, then, O ye Jews, can Christians show to the venerable Moses than to make this precept regulate every secret of their souls? This may appear wonderful, and it would be so, indeed, were Christianity opposed to Judaism. But, in truth, they are one and the same religion, as the light of the dawn is the same as the light of the day, as the rough outline is the same as the living picture, finished by the same great Master. It was to establish the law of love, as well as to atone for sin and to procure the Holy Spirit, that our Immanuel sealed His love to God and man on the altar of His Cross. We love Him because He so loved us, and His love constraineth us to love His enemies and ours.
III. APPLY THE SUBJECT TO JEWS AND CHRISTIANS. And, first, I address myself to both. Do you love Jehovah your God with all your heart? That is, better than you love the world and all that is in it? Better than life itself? if any man think he love God, how doth he prove the fact? "If ye love Me, saith God, "keep My commandments." "This is the love of God," saith the true worshipper, "that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous." Ye Jews, ye must be circumcised with the circumcision not made with hands, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; whose praise is not of man, but of God. Ye Christians, ye must be born again, not of water, but of the Spirit. Hearken, O men of Israel. Had your fathers believed Moses, they would have believed Christ. Had they loved God, they would have received Him who came forth from God.
I. With reference to His gracious, external interpositions in behalf of that people.
II. To intimate the gracious tendency of this seemingly severe revelation.
III. And its connection with the offer and communication of God according to the method of His grace. But there are two inferences falsely made from this preface which ought to be avoided.
1. That an assured apprehension of God, as ours, is the beginning of religion, and that this must go before all beneficial knowledge of God and His law, whereas there must be a spiritual knowledge of God and His law in the order of nature necessarily antecedent to any such apprehension of God, otherwise we have no just ideas of Him whom we apprehend (but embrace an idol), nor of the footing on which we do apprehend Him.
2. That, after reconciliation with God, a man hath nothing to do with His law.To overturn such fancies it is to be observed that the doctrine of the law of God is to be learned —
1. In subserviency to the glorification of God by the exercise of justifying faith in Jesus Christ.
2. For the government of one who is justified in walking towards heaven. It is chiefly in order to the first of those uses, to awaken men to flee to Christ, that I mean to speak at this time from the text. There are no Christians on earth exempted from the necessity of exciting themselves to faith in this way, unless there are Christians whose faith needs not to be increased or exercised.
I. I am to OPEN THE SOURCES OF THE OBLIGATION OF THE LAW OF GOD AS THEY ARE EXHIBITED IN THIS EXPRESSION OF THE TEXT, "The Lord our God is one Lord." Two preliminary observations may here be mentioned.(1) That the grounds of the obligation of the law of God upon intelligent creatures are of an unsearchable and incomprehensible nature. I mean not that it is impossible for us to have a sufficient knowledge of this matter. If this were the case, it would be vain to say anything on this subject. But I mean that, after the greatest progress in such resources, faith must be maintained as to the immensity of the glory of God as surpassing all knowledge.(2) That there is in us an exceeding great strength of spiritual darkness or blindness in this matter. They only who have a deep and tender sense of these two things, their own blindness and the mysterious sublimity of these subjects, have such a humility of mind as is suitable to such inquiries.
1. It appears from the text that the chief source of the obligation of the law of God must be searched for and found in God Himself.(1) It is evident, from the nature of the demands of the law of God, that they cannot be justified, unless on supposition of there being such things in the nature and character of God as do of themselves entitle Him to such service.(2) The certainty of this truth concerning the origin of the obligation of the law of God appears from the consideration of the penalty annexed to the violation of this law.(3) Every other argument enforcing the law of God derives its chief force from its connection with this primary source of moral obligation. Because I am created a reasonable being I am bound to love God. But whence is it that my reasonable nature is a precious benefit? Is it not because hereby I am capable of the sight and enjoyment of God in His infinite beauty? In this view the benefit of creation may be said to be infinite.(4) This is expressly adduced in the Scripture as the foundation of the authority of the law of God. So, in the preceding chapter, "I am the Lord thy God." The first and radical idea is, "I am Jehovah." I am what I am.(5) Obligations to obedience from consideration of Divine judgments and mercies are expressly resolved into this when the knowledge of God's being what He is is spoken of as the issue of these things, as is manifest (Ezekiel 28:22-26).
2. It appears from the text that the sources of the obligation of the law of God are to be found in those excellences of the Godhead which are most peculiar and distinguishing. Here it is to be considered that the excellences of God are justly distinguished into those which are called communicable and those which are called incommunicable. With respect to both these sorts of excellency He is incomparable. As to those which are called communicable excellences, because some degree of something like them is imparted to other beings, God is distinguished from His creatures by the degree and manner in which He possesses these excellences. But the most distinguishing quality of the manner in which God possesses communicable perfections is their being united with His incommunicable glories. It is by these last that God is chiefly distinguished from other beings, that He hath an immense fulness of such kinds of beauty as in no degree can be found in any created being.
3. It may also be inferred from the text that the obligation of the law of God is primarily derived from those excellences of the Godhead which chiefly constitute the harmony of all Divine excellences, or the bond of union, in consequence of which all the fulness of the Godhead is one whole. "The Lord our God is one Lord" — that is, in the midst of the immense variety of excellences which are found in Him, there is a marvellous unity and harmony, so that there is no division, jarring, or separation, but one glorious whole, in which all things are compacted.
4. The source of the obligation of the law of God lies in that one essence which is equally and fully possessed by each of the three persons in the Godhead.Application:
1. Beware of despising these truths as abstruse and unintelligible.
2. I call and invite every one of you to employ Jesus Christ, the Prophet of the Church, to instruct you savingly in these things.
3. Let those who have been called into the light attend to these exhortations (1 Peter 2:1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 11, 12).
II. TO GIVE A GENERAL EXPLICATION OF THE NATURE OF THAT LOVE TO GOD WHICH IS DEMANDED AND PRESCRIBED IN HIS LAW. Here the following preliminary remarks are to be attended to:
1. That we are now to speak of the love of God not as it is found in saints on earth, mingled with contrary corruptions, but as it is prescribed in the law of God, and as it is found in such creatures as are perfectly conformed thereto.
2. It is difficult for us to attain just and lively conceptions of the nature of this perfect love, because we never had any experience of it — no, not for a moment.
3. Such a knowledge of it is attainable as is sufficient to answer the purposes of the glory of God which are intended to be answered in this life, such as to excite high thoughts of the glorious excellences of God as appearing in His law, to discover the preciousness of the righteousness of Christ, the imperfection of our present attainments, the necessity of progress, and the amiableness of that state of perfection which is the "prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
4. Our thoughts may be assisted and elevated on this subject by considering the highest attainments of Christians on earth, and adding perfection of purity and continuance thereto.I shall now apply myself to the direct consideration of this most fundamental subject, namely, "What is that perfection of love to God prescribed in His holy law?"
1. What are those views and character of God in which He is contemplated while perfect love is exercised?(1) I observe that God in the whole of His character, so far as in any degree revealed to the creature, is the object of perfect love. "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all — no spots or blemishes, nothing to allay or abate the splendour of His amiableness. "He is altogether lovely."(2) More particularly He is so in His incommunicable fulness of excellence, beauty, and perfection.(3) In His communicable perfections. Whatever amiableness is found in the creation, so far as is consistent with infinite perfection, is found in God in a Divine manner.(4) As He is the author of all that is good in the creation.(5) As He is the last end of all, for the sake of whose glory all things exist and all events happen.(6) As He is the benefactor, lover, and judge of intelligent, created beings.(7) As He is the enemy and avenger of evil.(8) As He is the supporter and recompenser of good.(9) In His unknown, hidden, and unsearchable fulness, which is implicitly loved.
2. The different motions of the faculties of the soul in bringing forth the actings of this love may be represented in this order.(1) The first principle of spiritual motion being the will, or the soul, as choosing and inclining itself towards what is suitable to its taste and inclination, so in this perfect love there is a Divine instinct and disposition of the will by which the whole soul is turned towards God.(2) Hereby the faculties of the understanding are stirred up to inquire after God.(3) There is a disposition to faith concerning what God is, before the soul sensibly sees Him.(4) And to seek and take in that marvellous light by which He is sensibly discovered.(5) Then the will, having, by means of the understanding, found its object, embraces it, and rests in it in such actings as are afterwards to be mentioned.(6) Then the understanding is stilted up to go forward in taking in more of God, and this awakens new actings of the will, and these, again, new exertions of the understanding.
3. In the course of these motions of the faculties of a perfect creature, the various acts of love in their distinct kinds and in their connection with each other are brought forth.(1) Esteem, which is the accounting a thing valuable, excellent, precious.(2) Desire, as to present enjoyment and the securing endless possession, and hence valuing the intimations of Divine love, etc.(3) Delight, complacency, rest.(4) Zeal; delighting in the honour of God. Benevolence.(5) Self-denial; preferring the interest of God to ourselves. Disposition to suffer for Him.(6) Undervaluing the whole creation in comparison of Him.(7) Loving the creation in subordination to Him. Thus the creation is first thrust away; and then embraced.(8) Gratitude for the person's self and others.(9) Disposition to acts of worship and beneficence, in which this love appears clothed with its fruit.Application:
1. Give glory to God, the author of this law.
2. See the greatness of our fall from a state of perfect, uninterrupted love to a state of enmity.
3. See the preciousness of that redemption by which men are restored to a state of perfect, endless conformity to this spotless standard.
(John Love, D. D.)
1. None will dispute for a moment God's right to the affection of all His creatures. Surrounded as we are by the amazing proofs of God's love to us, hourly as we are the recipients of His bounty, it is to the lasting disgrace of every member of the human family that such a command as this should be needed.
2. But will the mere command produce love? No, it will not. The severest injunctions, the most formidable threatenings, are insufficient to produce love in the human heart. The penalties attached to disobedience may excite a slavish fear, but they cannot excite love. A child does not love its parent because commanded to do so; it may obey that parent by the outward act, but to excite love something more is needed than a command. And that something more is found in the affectionate kindness and watchful care of the parent, and this it is which, shown in a thousand varied ways, calls forth the love and affection of the child. If I want my neighbour to love me, it is not by merely expressing the wish for it that I shall gain his affection, but by embracing every opportunity for the exercise of benevolent feelings towards him. And thus it is that the love of God will be awakened within the heart of any one of us. And therefore, in exhorting you to obey the command, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God," we should set before you those dealings of God towards you which are calculated to kindle in your breasts the emotions of love.
II. ITS EXTENT. What is the degree of love which God demands?
1. It must be supreme — with all the heart. You are to love God not as you love your friends, your relatives, your children, but above, all things. He will allow no rival to share with Him the throne of your heart's affections. Not even any lawful affection must be set above that which we give to God, much less the love of sin or of the world.
2. It must be an intelligent love — with all the soul or understanding. By this you will have a clear perception of why you love God, and of the many motives which should excite you to give Him your heart's undivided affections. The thoughtful Christian will see the reasonableness of the adoration he pays to God.
3. It must be also a strong and fervent love — "with all thy might" — a love deeply rooted in the heart, and so closely intertwined with all your thoughts and feelings as to defy the power either of sin or Satan to tear it from your breast.
(R. Allen, M. A.)
(H. W. Beecher.)
(J. R. Illingworth, M. A.)
(John Arndt.)1. We ought to love God. It is our duty to love God. We are commanded to love God. The Old Testament and the New Testament unite in emphasising that. It is not likely, however, that this text ever persuaded anybody into loving God. Love laughs at injunctions, pays no heed to duty, absolutely cannot be commanded. Obedience can be got that way, but love — never! It is of the very nature and essence of love that it must grow in a willing heart. Love is the manifestation of an untrammelled choice.
2. It may be that God set temptation within the reach of man, that He might thus make it possible for us really to love Him. The test of love is preference. Love comes out into the light, and is discovered when there is a choice to be made between two, or for or against. The best way in the whole world for a man to show his love for God is to say "no" to the devil, and to stand up on the side of God. But we must not do that because we are commanded to do it, because we are afraid not to do it, but because we want to do it, if there is to be any real love in it.
3. The purpose of this command is not to establish obedience, but to proclaim an ideal. The spirit of it is not that we must love God because we must, but that God wants us to love Him. "We love Him because He first loved us."
4. Christ is the only authoritative teacher of the love of God.(1) He taught God's love for man in the blessed words that He spoke. He looked up to the great God and called Him, and taught us to call Him, by that loving name "Father."(2) His life, even more than His words, was a revelation of God. God is like Christ, and it is not hard to love Christ. How can anybody help loving Christ? And whoever loves Christ, loves God.(3) He taught the love of God for us in the death that He died. We wonder if pain and love can really go together, and behold! here they are together at the Cross of Jesus.
(George Hodges, D. D.)
(J. Stalker, D. D.)
LinksDeuteronomy 6:5 NIV
Deuteronomy 6:5 NLT
Deuteronomy 6:5 ESV
Deuteronomy 6:5 NASB
Deuteronomy 6:5 KJV
Deuteronomy 6:5 Bible Apps
Deuteronomy 6:5 Parallel
Deuteronomy 6:5 Biblia Paralela
Deuteronomy 6:5 Chinese Bible
Deuteronomy 6:5 French Bible
Deuteronomy 6:5 German Bible
Deuteronomy 6:5 Commentaries