March 8 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“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.” ~Deuteronomy 6:4-5

As I have often pointed out, the glory of God and the good of His creatures are bound together. Or as Jonathan Edwards (d. 1759) put it in his book The End for Which God Created the World, “God’s respect to the creature’s good, and his respect to himself, is not a divided respect; but both are united in one.” Think of creation. Think of the Exodus. Think of the promised land. Think of the restoration of Jerusalem, a story yet to come in our journey through the Old Testament. Think of the cross, the most familiar of Christian stories. Think of the restoration of all things, a promise yet to be fulfilled. What do these events have in common? God acts to glorify His name and bless His people.

God longs for His people to follow Him so that He might bless them. In fact, He returns to this subject throughout chapters 5 and 6 (vv. 5:29, 33; 6:3, 18, 24). Given His resounding call to obedience and His promise of blessing in this reading, it is no coincidence that Scripture’s most central theme is presented here too. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is popularly known as the Shema (pronounced Shi-mah), so named because the first word, “hear” or “listen, “ is the Hebrew word shema. “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.” The list of ways to love is not really a list at all, but rather it is a way of saying that you are to love God with everything you are! Your thoughts, your desires, your daily life. Love God supremely and completely. To devote our whole being to this passion means we worship Him and trust and obey Him. This is the greatest commandment in the entire Bible.

God wants us to be happy, and the path to contentment is loving Him with our entire being, inclining our hearts toward Him (Deut. 5:29), and doing all that He commands us to do. In this we will not be perfect, which is why Israel was given a sacrificial system to cover their sins, and it is why we have been given the final sacrifice for sin through Christ! But loving God with our whole self is the path to blessing. Oh that we would truly believe it! Oh that we would truly live it. God longs to bless us, so let’s love Him with everything we have and follow His ways all of our days!


Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.