Dave has written clear, deep, meditative things on the central Jesus-idea of loving God with one's entire being.
Dave has posted 41 entries so far. Here, e.g., is entry #1.
Lesson 1: Love God
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.
These words are the beginning of the Shema Yisrael, the Jewish recitation of Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Deuteronomy 11:13-21, and Numbers 15:37-41 every morning and evening.
More than anything else, God desires our love, a love that involves all our heart, soul and strength. Such love can never find expression in the grudging obedience and legalism that arise from obligation and fear. Nor can such love have its origin within us; our love for God comes in response to what God has said and done for us or for others.
Many identify the death of Jesus as the greatest example of God’s love for us, and the greatest source of our love for God. There is nothing wrong with this, except that it ignores the fact that the command to love God had been given more than 1,000 years earlier.
The focus of this study will be on what God has said and done in the Torah, the first five books of our Bible and the holiest part of the Hebrew Scriptures, that gives rise to our love for God. It is hoped that such an approach will dispel the common idea that the God of the Old Testament is one of wrath while the God of the New Testament is one of love.
The ancient Hebrew concept of “heart” included intellect as well as emotions. We tend to separate these and depend on one more than the other. Are your decisions guided more by thoughts or feelings? Does your love for God favor one of these over the other? What might it look like for you to love God with all your heart in this Hebrew understanding?
The ancient Hebrew concept of “soul” contained all that makes us who we are. (The tri-partite concept of “body, soul and spirit” was Greek, not Hebrew.) To love God with all your soul means that love for God becomes an essential part of your identity. Do you tend to be a different person at church than at work or school? What might it look like for you to love God with all your soul in this Hebrew understanding?
The ancient Hebrew concept of “might” included all the resources at our disposal: personal, social, professional, financial and everything else. What might it look like for you to love God with all your might in this Hebrew understanding?
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who calls us to love you with all that we are.