Sunday, March 21

The Attentive Life

Scripture: Deuteronomy 5-6, Matthew 21

Deuteronomy 6:4–5 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  (NIV)

Deuteronomy 6:4–5 Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.

Observation

Verse 4 is known as the Shema, which is the first word in Hebrew, translated “hear” or “listen”.  The word means “to hear, to listen, to obey.”  Think of a parent urging a child, “Listen to me…” in order to convince the child not just to hear what’s being said, but to listen carefully in order to obey.  That’s the force here: “Listen and obey!”

The next sentence is the core confession of the Jewish faith: The Lord (Yahweh) is our God and is unique, the one and only.  The Lord alone is our God.  Jewish (and Christian) faith is monotheistic: one God and one God only.  

Verse 5 is the Great Commandment: Love the Lord your God with all you’ve got—heart, soul (and mind) and strength.  When Jesus was asked what was the most important of all the commands (613 in the OT), He quoted this verse.  

You can see why this verse is so important and central to both the Jewish and Christian faiths!

Application

I want to focus on the first word: listen!  These important words start with one very important word: listen!  All the crucial words that follow (monotheism—the Lord alone is God; the great commandment—love God with all you’ve got) would be wasted if we’re not listening with a desire to obey.  

One of the books I’m eager to read is The Attentive Life, by Leighton Ford.  I want to read it because I respect Dr. Ford, but also because I want that to be true of me.  I want to be attentive, listening, and ready to obey.  

James 1:19 “Let everyone be quick to listen…”

Prayer: Lord, help me be a good listener, and be attentive to You!