To Love the Lord Your God
21 October 2021
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Sabbath School Summary

By Elder Dr Masimba Mavaza

To Love the Lord Your God
Lesson 4

Memory Text:
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:5, NKJV

Introduction
In the Jewish religion, one of the most important prayers is taken from Deuteronomy 6. It is known as “the Shema,” based on the first Hebrew word of the prayer, from the root, shama’, which means “to listen,” or even “to obey”—a word that appears again and again, not just in Deuteronomy but all through the Old Testament. The first line of the Shema reads like this:Shema Yisrael Adonai Elohenu Adonai echad.It means: “ ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!’ ”
Deut. 6:4, NKJV). Many times when Jews pray it, they cover their eyes, the idea being to let nothing distract them from thinking about God. This first line of the Shema is deemed an affirmation of the monotheistic nature of Adonai Elohenu, “the Lord our God,” and Israel’s loyalty to Him alone and to no other “god.” In fact, it also could be read as “the Lord is our God.”

SABBATH: One of the daily Jewish prayers, “Shema”, is a confession of their faith in God. This influential prayer is taken from Deuteronomy 6 & means “to listen or obey”. The first line points to the believe in only one true God (Deut. 6:4). In reciting “Shema”, the Jews cover their eyes to focus on only God. “Shema” is an equivalent of the Lord’s prayer. Before Israelites entry into Canaan, Moses recited the prayer to them.

SUNDAY: The love of God was the blueprint to possess the Promised Land, Moses recounted. This love comes with obedience. Israel was to obey (Deut. 6:1, 2, 4, 5). In God’s love, they’d not only enter Canaan, they’d also thrive in it. This love is not built on words but established in deeds. It stems from the soul & heart. Our love for God should triumph over our love for anything. God wants “your” (heart) love.

MONDAY: A substitute for the love of God is the fear of God. This fear does not mean to be afraid of God but reverencing Him (His power, authority, & justice). Moses added that Israel was to fear God by solely depending on Him (Deut. 10:12). As fallen beings condemned to death, we need a Supreme Being. Because God saved us from sin, we ought to fear Him. So was Israel saved from slavery (Eph. 2:1-10, Deut. 5:15).

TUESDAY: “God is love” is inscribed on every miracle God wrought on behalf of Israel. God’s love for their fathers was also made manifest in the lives of the Israelites (Deut. 4:37; 7:7, 8, 13; 10:15; 23:5; 33:3). God first loved them when they felt unloved & hopeless (1 John 4:19). Out of love, He designed a plan of salvation even before the world was formed (Eph. 1:4, DA, p. 22). Love led Christ to the cross (Phil. 2:8).

WEDNESDAY: We’re never saved in a crowd. We’re never saved by a national or family faith. We’re saved individually. Everyone ought to be a Christian for him/herself. The “free will” given to the Israelites meant that each of them had to make a choice to love God by obeying Him (see Deut. 5:10, 7:9, 10:12, 13, 11:1, 19:9, 1 John 5:3, John 14:15). Love for God means obeying His law (e.g. Sabbath), but not in legalism.

THURSDAY: The Bible is a unified book. Both the OT & NT testifies of God’s goodness & love. Separating the OT from the NT will rob the NT of its meaning. Prophecies in the OT is the basis for the NT. Christ therefore repeatedly quoted the OT. When asked by a scribe about the first law of all, Christ summed up the whole law as love for God & man (Mark 12:28-30; Deut. 6:4). It is our “present truth” (Rev. 14:12).

FRIDAY: “The cross of Christ will be the science & the song of the redeemed through all eternity.” It will never be forgotten that the Creator of the universe & the darling of heaven died for humanity. “He humbled Himself to uplift fallen man.” The woes of our sins broke the heart of our Savior & crushed out His life on the cross. Christ laid aside His glory to die to save us. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.

—Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 651, 652.

Keywords

DA- The Desire of Ages

OT- Old Testament

NT- New Testament

Scribe- In Jewish tradition, there were 613 laws (Mark 12:28-30).

Captions

SUNDAY- To Love God
MONDAY- To Fear God
TUESDAY- He First Loved Us
WEDNESDAY- “If You Love Me, Keep My Commandments”
THURSDAY- The First Commandment

Discussion Questions

📌 Read the Ellen G. White statement above. What does it say that should help us understand why our love for God should be the greatest love that we have? Think about what it means that God, the One who “upheld the unnumbered worlds through the vast realms of space” was the One who went to the cross for us. Why should this truth be at the foundation of our relationship with God?

📌 Dwell more on the idea of loving and fearing God at the same time. How do we do both, and why should we do both?

📌 It’s one thing to love God when things are going well in our lives. What about when things aren’t going well, when tragedy strikes? Why, during such times, is loving God even more important than when things are going well?

📌 Go over the final question in Thursday’s study. What are the various approaches that you could take in explaining to someone who isn’t a believer about what it means to love God? How can we human beings love someone whom we’ve never physically seen? Why does it not matter that we have never seen Him, at least in person?

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