So last time, I introduced the topic of Love and Torah. Basically, Love is the most important commandment. Above all else. Even if you follow Torah perfectly, if you don’t have love, it’s pointless. But what about Love with Torah? Well, what is Love? Let’s go back to Mark 12.
Now one of the experts in the law came and heard them debating. When he saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”Jesus answered, “The most important is: ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ Mark 12:28-30 NET
Last time I said I was just going to focus on the literal words that Yeshua said. But today I am going to dig deeper into context. When you see someone quoting the Old Testament, they are quoting the whole passage it comes from. So, where does this quote come from? Yeshua is quoting Deuteronomy 6, the Shema. Just before this famous passage, Moses has restated the ten commands with more details about not following idols. And so, in context, this is the whole passage.
“And this is the command, the laws and right-rulings which יהוה your Elohim has commanded, to teach you to do in the land which you are passing over to possess, so that you fear יהוה your Elohim, to guard all His laws and His commands which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days be prolonged. And you shall hear, O Yisra’ĕl, and shall guard to do, that it might be well with you, and that you increase greatly as יהוה Elohim of your fathers has spoken to you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
“Hear, O Yisra’ĕl: יהוה our Elohim, יהוה is one! And you shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your might. And these Words which I am commanding you today shall be in your heart, and you shall impress them upon your children, and shall speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up, and shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deut. 6:1-9 ISR
And then Moses instructs the Israelites not to worship idols, and that YHWH and YHWH only will be their God. The command to Love YHWH your God with all your heart, soul, and strength, is in the context of His commands. So…loving Yahweh means to keep His commands.
What? Come on Genevieve. You’re just twisting that, trying to put us under law. We’re under grace! That can’t be so.
Alright, let’s look at somewhere else in Deuteronomy.
And you shall love יהוה your Elohim and guard His Charge: even His laws, and His right-rulings, and His commands, always. Deut. 11:1 ISR
Could the Word of Elohim be anymore straight forward? Guarding God’s laws is in the context of loving Him. So, loving Yahweh means to keep His commands.
“See, I have set before you today life and good, and death and evil, in that I am commanding you today to love יהוה your Elohim, to walk in His ways, and to guard His commands, and His laws, and His right-rulings. And you shall live and increase, and יהוה your Elohim shall bless you in the land which you go to possess.” Deut. 30:15-16 ISR
Again, to Love YHWH is to walk in His ways and to guard His commands. And YHWH shall bless you if you follow His commands!
But Genevieve, the Old Testament doesn’t apply to us anymore. We can’t be held by that.
And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His commands. The one who says, “I know Him,” and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever guards His Word, truly the love of Elohim has been perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked. Beloved, I write no fresh command to you, but an old command which you have had from the beginning. The old command is the Word which you heard from the beginning. 1 John 2:3-7 ISR
Okay…but John also talks about a new command. You’re taking this out of context.
Yeah, but he also doesn’t say that the old one is obsolete. He’s not talking about new and old as in new and finished. New adds on to the old. If you build a new floor onto your house, do you take out the foundation or the first floor? NO. That’s dangerous.
It is just as dangerous to live in the new commands and ignore the old commands.
I have much much more to say on the importance and meaning of Torah, but I will go into that in future entries.
Getting back to where we started, Yeshua. Yeshua says the most important commandment is to Love God, and the second is to Love your neighbor. But how do you Love God? By walking in His ways, and to guard His commands, His laws, and His right-rulings. Any Jew listening to Jesus speak would know that loving God means following His commands. They are taught that all their lives. They know, they know, they know.
So why would Jesus tell you that the most important command is Love, knowing that to Love God is to obey Him, and then approve of your blatantly breaking the law? And Deuteronomy 13 says that a prophet who adds to or takes away from the law is a false prophet. So what exactly is Jesus doing here?
He’s taking us deeper! Not into a more legalistic adherence to Torah, but into a deeper intimacy with God in our observance of Torah. HalleluYah!
More on this topic, next time.