My readings today covered the commands… twice!
Exodus included Moses’ ascent to Mt Sinai and the first receipt of the 10 Commandments.
Jesus shares the 2 greatest commands in Matthew.
Coincidence that these verses were in the same reading? Or Providence? (I’ve seen enough editorial mistakes so far that I can’t imagine the editors planned verses to coincide when they have).
When the Pharisee (who was an expert on the law) asked Jesus to name the greatest command, I find it interesting that Jesus doesn’t quote any of the 10 commands, but instead, he quotes the Shema (meaning “hear”):
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Deuteronomy 6: 4-9
Right after Moses repeated the 10 commandments for Israel, he summarized them with the Shema. Synagogues today include the Shema in morning and evening prayers.
By answering the Pharisee’s question with the Shema, Jesus didn’t pick a single commandment, but the summary of them all. If we love God with our entire being, we won’t have other Gods before him or worship idols or use his name in vain … and we will rest.
Because if Jesus is our ultimate source of satisfaction, then we can stop striving. We will have found the Holiday at Sea.
Love Your Neighbors, Too
And by virtue of obeying the Greatest Command, the Shema, we will obey the second greatest, the one about loving our neighbors…
When God’s love satisfies (as it should), we won’t need to look for love in all the wrong places – turning people into idols. When God’s love satisfies (as it should), we don’t need to find fulfillment in what we do or have (and use people to accomplish or to accumulate). In both cases, people are objects that serve us, not recipients of our service.
When God’s love does NOT satisfy, we either turn people into idols or use people to get idols. We covet what we don’t have. And it all leads to murder, adultery, stealing, lying – and all the sins of our motives and thoughts that are these in seed-form.
When we love God with all our being, we can love our neighbors as ourselves.
And when we are not loving our neighbors, we aren’t loving God with all our being (because we are using them to get what we should be getting from God).
So, I am forced to review my closest relationships for signs of sin – and ask God to show me how I have failed to find my satisfaction in Him.
Readings: Exodus 19:1-20:26, Psalm 18:43-45, Proverbs 6:20-25, Matthew 22:23-46. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts.