Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, October 3, 2020

Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom,

Whole Hearted Devotion Part 2 by David Harwood

Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) has begun. This is a remarkable festival that reminds us of our time in the wilderness, foretells the end-time “harvest of humanity” and anticipates the glories of the age-to-come. The coming age (olam ha-ba) is a time of humanity’s joyous, loyal love towards God and one another. The current era contains the foreshadowing of the next in the way the believing community receives God’s love, and in return, loves God, our brethren, neighbors, and even our enemies. It is written that we love God and other people because God first loved us.

We ourselves love now because he loved us first. (1 John 4:19 TLV)

Let’s continue last week’s meditation on the nature of God’s love for us. Today our concentration is on this truth: our King is wholeheartedly devoted to us. Once again, here is Yeshua’s version of the V’ahavta found in Mark:

And you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your understanding and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30 TLV)

I believe that, in the same way we established in last week’s meditation that God loves us with all His heart and soul, so, also, I believe the Lord would want to communicate, “I love you with all My mind.”


King David is generally believed to be the author of Psalm 1. He followed the example of holy men and meditated on God’s Torah day and night. Did he believe that God paid attention to him? Yes, of course he did. In fact, he was in awe of God’s thoughts toward him.

What is man, that You are mindful of him? And the son of man, that You care for him? (Psalm 8:5 TLV)

What are the nature of God’s thoughts? They are good, and there are plenty of them. The number of them towards each of us is staggering. Think of counting the sand in the desert…

17 How precious are Your thoughts, O God! How great is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand! When I awake, I am still with You. (Psalm 139:17-18 TLV)

If the vast quantity of His thoughts are any indication, the Creator is a Father-Friend who is really concerned about each of us. In addition, your Father loves you so much that He has made plans for you.

But as it is written, “Things no eye has seen and no ear has heard, that have not entered the heart of mankind— these things God has prepared for those who love Him. (1 Corinthians 2:9 TLV)

He is adjusting all of creation and every instance of everything-that-ever-happened for your benefit.

Now we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 TLV)

God is omniscient and God is wise. The Scriptures are clear: God knows. God thinks. God concentrates. 

How great are Your works, Adonai! How profound are Your thoughts! (Psalm 92:6 TLV)

His sense of knowing, His use of imagination and His focus is akin to ours. We are the image of God. Of course(!), the Creator is on a whole other plane of existence. We are like a selfie on a cell phone compared to the subject of the photo. As His image, our love for Him mirrors His love for us.

We are not being asked to concentrate upon Him while His attention wanders far from us. No, the text is clear:

You observe my journeying and my resting and You are familiar with all my ways. (Psalm 139:3 TLV)

He loves us so much that He is concentrating upon us. He loves us with all His mind.

This is the Greatest Commandment:

And you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your understanding and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30 TLV)

The Greatest Command is a call to reciprocal, corresponding love.

Along those lines let us consider this: In the light of the command to love God with all our heart, with all of our soul, with all our understanding and with all our strength (Mark 12:30 TLV) I believe it is accurate to say that the Lord wants us to know, “I love you with all My strength.” 

How could this possibly be proven? How might the All-Mighty make known this expression of love? How? By limiting His power when God was fully made flesh. 

5 Have this attitude in yourselves, which also was in Messiah Yeshua, 6 Who, though existing in the form of God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be grasped. 7 But He emptied Himself— taking on the form of a slave, becoming the likeness of men and being found in appearance as a man. 8 He humbled Himself— becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8 TLV)

God Incarnate offered Himself up for us at Golgotha. It was then that He expended all His strength because He loved us. The enfleshed Creator loved us past the limit of His power when Yeshua surrendered His spirit to the Father. Consider these verses:

And Yeshua, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I entrust My spirit.’ ” When He had said this, He breathed His last. (Luke 23:46 TLV)

Ben-Elohim—who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20c TLV)

Father also showed His love and power when He raised Yeshua from the dead. This was an awe-provoking revelation of “the surpassing greatness of His power.” 

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what is the richness of His glorious inheritance in the kedoshim, 19and what is His exceedingly great power toward us who keep trusting Him—in keeping with the working of His mighty strength.  20 This power He exercised in Messiah when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in heaven. 21 He is far above any ruler, authority, power, leader, and every name that is named—not only in the olam ha-zeh but also in the olam ha-ba. (Ephesians 1:18-21 TLV)

How will He demonstrate the strength of His love for us? In the same way He demonstrated His power in the Messiah’s resurrection.

20 For our citizenship is in heaven, and from there we eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 21 He will transform this humble body of ours into the likeness of His glorious body, through the power that enables Him even to put all things in subjection to Himself.  (Philippians 3:20-21 TLV)

We’re called to this amazing marriage. The One who loves us with all His heart, soul, mind and strength is enabling His wife (the Believing Community) to love Him the same way.

The Community of Disciples says, “We love You with all our strength because You love us with all Your might.”

We love, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19 TLV)

This greatest of all commands is a call to corresponding love which begins now and extends into eternity.

May the seed of this word bear fruit in your life. Receive this instruction, cultivate it, and may God receive a harvest of your heart’s reciprocal devotion.