A Season of Transition, a Season of Prayer — Please join us each day at 11:30 a.m. in offering a personal but collective prayer for our congregation. Today’s focus for prayer is: For all of our military personnel — for their courage, their wisdom, and their safety.
Scripture: Deuteronomy 10:12-22
Key Verses 12-13: 12 So now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you? Only to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the LORD your God and his decrees that I am commanding you today, for your own well-being.
Reflection: I love this English translation of the original Hebrew instructions. What does the Lord require of you, O Israel? And here is the answer: “Only to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD your God and his decrees that I am commanding you today, for your own well-being.” Only that! Shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s all written down, there in the Old Testament.
But maybe the word “only” here doesn’t mean “merely” or “no more than.” Maybe it’s not a suggestion that loving God like that isn’t hard. Maybe the word “only” here in verse 12 means “solely” or “exclusively.” Just love God. Love God first and above all. That too is not an easy thing, but maybe it’s not about difficulty. Maybe it’s a matter of priority.
Jesus said pretty much the same thing. When asked which law was the most important he said, essentially, “Love God.” Then he added, “Love your neighbor.” It’s not easy. Life gets messy, and people are difficult. But with loving God and neighbor as our priority, our guiding principles, perhaps we can get on with following the whole of God’s amazing and redemptive intentions for the world. Start there. Only love God.
Prayer: God, help me love you only, first, and always. Turn my love of you into love of all whom you love, all my neighbors. In the name of the one who showed us what love is, your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].