Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, March 11, 2023

Shabbat Shalom,

Day 31: Evening
How God Helps Us to Love Him More

by David Harwood

The goal of these meditations is to help us love God. I assume that those reading them take Yeshua’s perspective of reality to be immediately and ultimately authoritative. Let’s take a brief look at the background of the Greatest Command.

It was delivered by Moses to Israel. Israel was on the brink of entering their inheritance. Their deliverer was just like their Deliverer. Both God and Moses longed for things to go well for Israel. Fulfilling the Priority Command was the means to ensure that prosperity. It has an introduction. Here it is:

Hear, therefore, O Israel, and take care to do this, so that it may go well with you and you may increase mightily, as Adonai the God of your fathers has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. (Deuteronomy 6:3 TLV)

Moses called Israel to attention. In the next couple of verses, we find a renewed call to holiness. As they blessed God, they would be blessed: things would “go well with” them and they would “increase mightily.” That is the immediate context to The Command above all commands. Moses said:

Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These words, which I am commanding you today, are to be on your heart. (Deuteronomy 6:4-6 TLV)

Yeshua, answering a scribe, reiterated Moses. Then the scribe affirmed the Messiah’s words. The clergyman got it right. Nothing is more important than really loving God and one’s neighbor.

“Well said, Teacher,” the Torah scholar said to Him. “You have spoken the truth, that He is echad, and besides Him there is no other! 33And ‘to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love the neighbor as oneself,’ is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12:32-33)

That scribe’s words were not rote. They were the result of his meditation. The Lord Yeshua the Messiah gave a prophetic evaluation of the scribe who thoughtfully affirmed His words.

When Yeshua saw that he had answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

And no one dared any longer to question Him. (Mark 12:34)

I love that addendum to verse 34: After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions. I wonder what shut them up. I think it was the spiritual power contained in the Lord’s confirmation of Moses’ command. I wonder what the difference might have been between Yeshua quoting Moses and the scribe saying the same thing. My opinion is that there is a distinction between someone who takes a command so seriously that they actually do it and someone who, recognizing the ordinance is important, cannot accomplish it. Yeshua had inherent authority. He incarnated this command. When they heard the Messiah, they were hearing that command fully realized. Yeshua lived that command. It was a revelation of Who He was. No wonder they didn’t ask Him anything more.

How is your meditation going? I hope you are receiving Yeshua’s heart for His Father as you seek to conform your heart to His command.

My goal is to goad you and “stir you up with a reminder” (2 Peter 1:13 TLV). To “keep reminding you of these things, even though you know them” (2 Peter 1:12 TLV). This command to love God is important and God will help you grow in your love for Him.

How will He help you?

He will communicate with you aspects of His attributes that He loves about Himself that will resonate with you. I’d like us to begin a season of considering Moses’ encounters with the pre-incarnate Messiah.

Here are the verses:

Then Adonai descended in the cloud, (and) stood with him there, as he called on the Name of Adonai.

Then Adonai passed before him, and proclaimed,

Adonai, Adonai, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth, showing mercy to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means leaving the guilty unpunished, but bringing the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:5-7 TLV)

In our next meditation we’ll begin to explore the background to this amazing encounter. Meanwhile, please pray: Living God, please reveal aspects of Your glory that will capture my heart. Thank You so much!

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarsson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)

Sat 11 Mar-2023 18th of Adar, 5783 Parashat Ki Tisa Shabbat Parah

Ex 34:10-35 Nu 19:1-22 Ez 36:16-38 Heb 9:11-15