Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 29, 2001


We’re going to look at one of the great foundation passages in the Bible. In it we will see the greatest declaration about God and the greatest commandment from God.

Deuteronomy 6

:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

dxa hwhy wnyhla hwhy larvy ems

(shmah yisrael adonai elohenu adonai echad)

This is what is known as the great Shema, the basic cry of a Jew. Shema comes from the first word, “hear”. This is to be recited by the Jews morning and evening.

“On this verse the Jews lay great stress; it is one of the four passages which they write on their phylacteries, and they write the last letter in the first and last words very large, for the purpose of exciting attention to the weighty truth it contains.” (Adam Clarke)

According to rabbinical tradition, the Shema originally consisted only of verse 4 but was later expanded to include verses 5-9; 11:13-21; and Num. 15:37-41. According to verse 7, it was to be recited morning and night.

There are two emphases in this verse.

1) Yahweh is unique, and the only God of the Jews.

The word “LORD” in your English Bibles (with all capital letters) is the translators’ way of translating the name Yahweh.  The translators do this to follow the Jewish custom of saying the word “Lord” whenever they come to God’s Holy Name.  The Jews will read “adonai” instead of “Yahweh” out of respect to God.  But the underlying Hebrew text contains God’s name, Yahweh.
It could be translated, “Yahweh is our God, Yahweh alone.”

2) He is one God.

He is one in nature and essence.
This doesn’t contradict the doctrine of the Trinity, which describes God as “three persons in one”. The word for “God” (Elohim) is a plural word, and the word for “one” (echad) can be used to describe a “compound unity”, as it is also used of the union of Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:24) to describe two persons becoming one flesh.
This also carries the idea that there is no other god besides Him.
(Deu 4:35 KJV)  that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.

:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

love‘ahab – to love; human love for another, includes family; human love for God

Jesus said this was the GREATEST COMMANDMENT. (Mark 12:30).

Everything in life flows from this. God desires that we have a strong, intense, love relationship with Him!

A.W. Tozer said, “We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God.”

heartlebab – inner man, mind, will, heart, soul, understanding

soulnephesh – soul, self, mind, desire, emotion, passion

These two words are very close in their definitions, yet in comparing other Scriptures where these two words are found together, it would seem that the word for “heart” might indicate more things like emotions and passion, while the word for “soul” might indicate things like the mind and understanding. (Deut. 19:6; 4:9; Ps. 13:2)

Loving God isn’t the only thing we’re supposed to do with our heart and soul, we are also to seek Him (Deut. 4:29), serve Him (Deut. 10:12), and put God’s Word into our heart and soul (Deut. 11:18).

might m@`od – force, abundance, strength

While the other two words are talking about inner qualities, this word is speaking of our outward physical person.


Love Him with your heart

God wants us to have a passion for Him. He has a passion for us.
For some people, they just don’t seem to get passionate about anything.
What do you get emotional over? Is it your computer? Your football team? A romantic movie? A famous person?


In 1990 a woman entered a Haagen-Dazs in the Kansas City Plaza for an ice-cream cone. While she was ordering another customer entered the store. She placed her order, turned and found herself staring face to face with Paul Newman. He was in town filming Mr. and Mrs. Bridge. His blue eyes made her knees buckle. She finished paying and quickly walked out of the store with her heart still pounding. Gaining her composure she suddenly realized she didn’t have her cone; she turned to go back in. At the door she met Paul Newman who was coming out. He said to her, “Are you looking for your ice-cream cone?” Unable to utter a word she nodded yes. “You put it in your purse with your change.”

When was the last time the presence of God made you forget what was going on around you? Made you forget the dishes? Made you forget the ball game? Made you forget the bank account? Made you forget put your ice cream cone?

If we get emotional over anything at all, we ought to be more emotional over our relationship with God.


Love Him with your mind.

Our love for the Lord shouldn’t just be an emotional thing. It’s not just about having “warm fuzzies” for God.
I choose to love Him with my mind, with my will.
I grow in my understanding of God as I read His Word. I understand how awesome He is. I understand how loving He is. I understand how faithful He is.
And as a result I grow in choosing to value Him above all.


Love Him with your actions

Our outward actions ought to match the things we claim to have on the inside.
If your sweetheart says he loves you, but you catch them kissing another girl, how strong is that love toward you?
Jesus said,
(John 14:15 KJV) If ye love me, keep my commandments.
We aren’t supposed to love God with just one little part of us, but with all of us.


How to fall in love with God

It all starts with this – Let God love you.
1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

I can only begin to understand how to love God with my heart, mind, and strength when I begin to understand how much God loves me.

Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

God’s love for me isn’t dependent upon me cleaning up my life. He knows I can’t do it by myself. His love isn’t conditional upon me being perfect. He loves me just as I am, a sinner.

1 John 3:16a Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us …

God’s love for me is demonstrated by the greatest act of love the world has ever known. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, laid aside His glory in heaven and chose to take on human flesh. He became a human for one purpose, to be led to a Roman cross where He would die a cruel death in order to lay down His own life as a sacrifice to pay for my sins. I should have been the one on that cross. But Jesus took my place. He did it because He loves me. He did it so that my sins could be forgiven. He did it so I could know God.

:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:


Some men in a pickup truck drove into a lumberyard. One of the men walked in the office and said, “We need some four-by-twos.” The clerk asked, “You mean two-by-fours, don’t you?” The man said, “I’ll go check,” and went back to the truck. He returned and said, “Yeah, I meant two-by-four.” “All right. How long do you need them?” The customer paused for a minute and said, “I’d better go check.” After a while, the customer returned to the office and said, “A long time. We’re gonna build a house.”


You’re building for a long time

God wants you to put His Word into your heart. He wants you to have it for “a long time”. You’ve got a “house” to build.
(Mat 7:24-27 KJV) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: {25} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. {26} And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: {27} And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
The purpose of having God’s Word in our heart is not to have large volumes of Bible verses memorized, but to have God’s Word available to build your life upon. The value of God’s Word only comes when it affects the way you live.

:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently

teach them diligentlyshanan to sharpen, whet (as in sharpen a knife); when in the “intensive” form (as it is here), it means “to teach incisively”. It’s not just running the knife blade a few times over the pumice stone, it’s going over and over and over it until it’s razor sharp. The idea is that we are to keep going over and over and over God’s Word with our children until they’re “razor sharp” in God’s Word.


Sharpen your kids with the Word.

It’s not about learning to be a great Sunday school teacher at home. It’s learning to talk about God’s Word at home. It’s making God’s Word a part of your vocabulary.
God’s Word isn’t going to be a part of your vocabulary with your kids unless it’s a part of your life. You need to spend time in God’s Word. You be sure to be hearing what God is saying to you.
In Paul’s teaching, he wrote,
(1 Cor 11:23 KJV) For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you …
Have you received from the Lord? Do you have anything to share with the kids?

:7 unto thy children


Parents raise children

Every once in a while I see a disturbing situation where it appears that a child is raising itself. Instead of a parent setting the rules and teaching the child to learn to obey those rules, the child is basically the one in control. If a child pushes hard enough or cries loud enough, they can get the parent to give them anything.
It is a parent’s responsibility to teach God’s ways to their children.
The late J. Edgar Hoover was once asked, “Should I make my child go to Sunday school and church?” His reply was both Scriptural and practical. “Yes,” said the former head of the FBI, “you certainly should, and with no further discussion about the matter. You may be startled by my answer, but what do you say to Junior when he comes to breakfast on Monday morning and announces he isn’t going to school anymore? You know! He goes! How do you answer him when he comes home covered with mud and says, ‘I’m not going to take a bath.’ Junior bathes, doesn’t he? Why all this timidity, then, in the realm of spiritual guidance and growth? You say you’re going to let him wait and decide what church he wants to go to when he is old enough? Quit your kidding! You wouldn’t wait until he’s grown up to choose whether he wishes to be clean or dirty, would you? Do you let him decide for himself whether to take medicine when he’s sick? Do you? How shall we respond, then, when Junior says he doesn’t want to go to Sunday school and church? That’s easy! Just be consistent. Tell him, ‘Son, in our house we ALL go to Sunday school and church, and that includes you!’ Your firmness and example will furnish a bridge over which youthful rebellion will then travel into many rich and satisfying spiritual experiences.”

:7 when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.


Ready to share

In reality, this isn’t just about passing our faith on to our kids, but passing our faith on to all those around us. God’s desire is that we be ready to share.
Peter wrote,
(1 Pet 3:15 NIV) But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
Josh McDowell shares the following story:

An executive hirer, a “head-hunter” who goes out and hires corporation executives for other firms, once told me, “When I get an executive that I’m trying to hire for someone else, I like to disarm him. I offer him a drink, take my coat off, then my vest, undo my tie, throw up my feet and talk about baseball, football, family, whatever, until he’s all relaxed. Then, when I think I’ve got him relaxed, I lean over, look him square in the eye and say, “What’s your purpose in life?” It’s amazing how top executives fall apart at that question. “Well, I was interviewing this fellow the other day, had him all disarmed, with my feet up on his desk, talking about football. Then I leaned up and said, ‘What’s your purpose in life, Bob?’ And he said, without blinking an eye, ‘To go to heaven and take as many people with me as I can.’ For the first time in my career I was speechless.”

:8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

The Jews took this literally, and developed “phylacteries”, which are little leather boxes with a bit of scripture inside. They wear them on the hand or on the forehead. They were originally intended as ways of reminding people to think about God’s Word but eventually became a religious ritual kind of thing, where you make a show of how spiritual you are to impress others.

:9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

This too has been taken literally. When Calvary Anaheim used to meet that the Jewish Community Center, you would see these little clay scroll things with Hebrew lettering on them nailed to the doorframes. It is called a “mezuzah” (= doorpost)


Which Jesus lives at your house?

It’s not uncommon for us to be giving our kids the wrong idea about who Jesus is or where Jesus lives.
We can give them the impression that church is where Jesus lives because that’s where Mommy and Daddy are nice to each other.  They can yell at each other all the way to church, but when they get out of the car at church, everything turns “nice”.
A priest and a nun were lost in a snowstorm. After a while, they came upon a small cabin. Being exhausted, they prepared to go to sleep. There was a stack of blankets and a sleeping bag on the floor but only one bed. Being a gentleman, the priest said, “Sister, you sleep on the bed. I’ll sleep on the floor in the sleeping bag.” Just as he got zipped up in the bag and was beginning to fall asleep, the nun said “Father, I’m cold.” He unzipped the sleeping bag, got up, got the blanket and put it on her. Once again, he got into the sleeping bag, zipped it up and started to drift off to sleep when the nun once again said, “Father, I’m still very cold.” He unzipped the bag, got up again, put another blanket on her and got into the sleeping bag once again. Just as his eyes closed, she said, “Father, I’m sooooo cold.” This time, he remained there and said, “Sister, I have an idea. We’re out here in the wilderness where no one will ever know what happened. Let’s pretend we’re married.” The nun said, “That’s fine by me.” The priest yelled out, “Get up and get your own stupid blanket!”

Your kids will learn most about Jesus not by how you act at church, but by watching what you do at home when you relax in front of them.