The Shema: A Call to Love Yahweh with All

Posted: October 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

The Shema is found in Deuteronomy 6:4–9. In that text Israel is called to “hear” (שְׁמַע) that the Lord is “one.” Exactly what the “one” means is a matter of debate. It is likely both quantitative and qualitative. That is, there is no other God besides Yahweh (quantity) and he stands above all other so-called gods and lords (qualitative; cf. Deut. 10:17). Once Israel hears (and we know that they need divine enabling to hear!), the result should be that they love Yahweh with all their “heart,” “soul,” and “strength.” In other words, they are to love the Lord with all their being and all their resources.

Here is my attempt to capture the flow of thought through

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 10.39.42 AM

Or you can view the outline here: Deut_6_4-9_Edited

If Israel is given ears to hear, then the result will be that they love Yahweh with all. Loving Yahweh with all (the action) means loving Yahweh in private (6:6), family life (6:7–8), and public life (6:9). Though the exact way in which we apply the Shema is different in our New Covenant context, the principle has not changed. As those who have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, we are called to love God with all. In private, in the life of our family, and in public we live as those who love Yahweh with all.


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