SOAP Journal – 27 April 2017 (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!

Deuteronomy 6:4

In chapter 6, Moses says that he is getting into the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments that God has commanded him to teach to the Israelites (6:1). Moses begins what will be a fairly lengthy lesson — Deuteronomy is 34 chapters long — with this morning’s verse.

Hear. Moses is not merely telling them to listen, which we regularly do. We listen to music. We listen to people talk. We listen to our significant other. Moses wants them to go beyond recognizing that he is speaking and registering that it is Moses talking and to move into the realm of taking the words and mulling them over so that they completely understand what is being said and remember it.

The LORD is our God. All of The Law and obedience to it; all of the statutes and judgments that follow are couched in this context. If the One telling me how to live my life is anyone less than God, then I am under no real obligation to pay that person any mind. Sure, governments can apply coercive force to make people compliant — that is more or less how the punitive measures in the system of law are designed to work — but governments do not make people, people make governments. The atheist would argue that God is also a fabrication of people. And the whole conversation would grind to a halt, because we could not get past that one essential point. For the believer, there is One God and He is owed obedience if for no other reason than because He is our Maker. For the atheist, we are the product of some process or another and a process is owed no allegiance. Moses calls out this fundamental departure point at the outset. He has already reminded the Israelites of the miracles they have seen and the Ten Commandments, which were delivered in a miraculous fashion. If the LORD is not my God, then I can close The Bible and walk away, because I am not obligating myself to hear what it has to say or obey what I find therein. If the LORD is my God, then I am obliged to listen to Him and do what He bids me.

The LORD is one. There are layers to this statement. On one layer, this is a statement that there is only one God. On another layer, this is a statement that God, while being three distinct persons, is One God. I very distinctly see Father, Son, and Spirit all acting independently, yet always toward the same end. On yet another layer, the first layer gives some scope. If God were one of many gods, then I would need to learn how to please all of the gods, as all of the polytheistic beliefs have. But He is not. Because He is the one and only God, I need only learn what pleases Him and act on that.

Because God is my God and because He is one — the only God, three persons in one God, and the only Lawgiver — I need to hear what He commands and act on it. Let me do so.

Thank You, Father, for giving me clear direction and a singular set of directives. Thank You that You later boil it all down to just two things: love You and love others. Simple is good for me. I can remember simple. Please teach me how to and give me the ability to not only remember simple, but to obey it and live it.

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