One God, One Love, One Word

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One God, One Love, One Word

A sermon on Deuteronomy 6:4-9 preached at College Church on October 7, 2007

Prayer:  Father, we ask your richest blessing upon the proclamation of your Word.  And so, we ask you, our Lord, to renew our minds, and to revive our hearts, and to enliven our wills –to hear, and believe, and obey your Word.  We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.


Introduction:  A few weeks ago I attended a dialogue between Roman Catholics and Evangelicals.  For me, as someone who lived half of my life as a devout Roman Catholic and the other half as a devout Protestant Evangelical, I was less than satisfied by this “dialogue.”  Less than satisfied because there was only one moment where the two parties talked seriously about their differences.  And that was when the moderator asked the Evangelicals, “Do you believe that explicit faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation?”  Thankfully, both Evangelicals quickly and rightly affirmed that that is the case, however unpopular such a position may be. 

The moderator then turned to the Catholics, represented officially by two Catholic priests, both professors of theology.  Immediately, one of them replied, citing the Second Vatican Council, saying, “Even a sincere atheist, one who has not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, can be saved.” 

Now, as I sat there, sitting next to my brother (my brother who took temporary vows as a Franciscan friar last year, and this year is seeking to enter into the diocesan priesthood), I thought to myself, “O I wish I had a voice in this dialogue, for I think at this point I’d turn it into a debate!”  For to me, the Catholic claim of inclusion of sincere atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and so on, is not only unbiblical, it is anti-catholic (small “c”).    

What I mean is that you would be hard pressed to find anyone anywhere at anytime from the year 33 A.D. to 1933 A.D. who remained part of the universal Church who held to any form of universalism, even the kind Rome does today.  Christians have always believed that Jesus is the only way to God; and that one must believe in Him and Him alone for salvation. 

A few days after this dialogue, after I had some time for my thoughts and emotions to settle, I wondered to myself, “Now, how did the Rome ever arrive at this position?  In light of the clear teaching of Scripture and in light of the clear teaching of their own Tradition, how did they arrive at this view?” 

Now, I know there are complex answers to this question.  But here’s the simple one.  They came to this conclusion (as any of us would be tempted to do) because they let the “Canaanites” get hold of their hearts and minds.  That is, they allowed the ways of the world to intermarry with their theology, and even with historic and biblical Christianity.    

But, think of our situation today.  Today, what is the most detestable doctrine in the world to the world?  Is it not the exclusivity of Christ?  Think about it!  No unbeliever I have ever encountered has a problem with us teaching—God is love.  Everyone likes that!  And few people take issue with us teaching—God is light (that He is holy, and that all people are sinful).  I think most people instinctively know that, and thus agree with us at some point.  But if and when we were to say, God is … ONE and therefore, there is only one way to the one true God, well then … fire up the fiery furnace, open wide the lion’s den!  Here comes the intolerance of even the most tolerant.            


You see, my brothers and sisters, the first verse of our passage this evening walks right into our world, doesn’t it?  It jumps right into the hot seat that we so often sit upon! 

Here is the Shema, the exclusive claim of Israel’s unique God, our unique God—Shema Ya-Israel/Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is … one.” 


The LORD alone is God alone.  That’s the sense of it.  You see, the LORD (YHWH) He is not merely Israel’s national god.  And He is not just the first among Israel’s many gods, like Baal was for the Canaanites.[1]  And He is not just one god among the pantheon of gods throughout the world.  No!  YHWH is “the one absolute God.”[2]  He is the God alone.  There is none beside Him.

Now, this oneness of God (not so much His unity, as His uniqueness) is so well illustrated throughout the Old Testament.  I think of that remarkable scene of the prophet Elijah doing battle with the priests of Baal, or of that wonderful, somewhat humorous, story in 1 Samuel 5 when YHWH is put beside (literally put beside) the so-called god of the Philistines.  Do you remember what happened when their “god” encountered our God? 

This is probably worth you seeing yourselves.  So, turn with me to 1 Samuel (that’s 228 in the Pew Bible); and look with me at those first few verses.  The Philistines had just captured the Ark of the Covenant, which to them symbolized their defeat not only of Israel but also of Israel’s God.  We know, however, that God allowed them to capture it because the foolish Israelites were using the ark like a magic military wand). 

Well, anyway, the Philistines, as we see now in this text, brought the ark into their sacred temple and placed it “beside” (v.2) their god—Dagon was his name, which I must admit is a pretty cool name for a god.  If one is to make up a god at least one should pick a strong-sounding name, like Dagon—Dagon the invisible.  I once saw a movie called, Yor:  The Hunter from the Future.  “Yor” is a great name for a barbarian warrior.  “Dagon” is a great name for a god.          

Well, there was Dagon (Mr. seemingly invisible god), a god made of stone, a man-made god who (surprise, surprise) looks a whole lot like a man—He has a face with eyes and ears and a mouth, and he had a torso, a trunk with arms and hands attached to it.

Well, what happened to Dagon?  Look at v.3.  The next day the Philistines came into his House, and poor “Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the LORD.”  So, the people mustered their strength and lifted old Dagon back in place. 

But then the next morning arrived (v.4), and there he was.  Oh my!  He had fallen again; and this time, his “head … and both his hands were … cut off,” lying there on the floor.  Only his trunk was left.  And sadly this time all the kings’ people and all the kings’ men couldn’t put Dagon back together again.  Why?  Because Dagon was dead!  He was absolutely dead because He was never ever truly alive!  There is only one true and living God!  “Hear O Israel:  the LORD our God, the LORD is one,” exclusively one.


Now [turn Bible], if there is only One God, what then are the ramifications of such a reality?  Well, if this one God is just an unmoved Mover or some absolute independent ethereal entity (a deistic deity), well then I don’t know if there are any clear ramifications.  We can live, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!  But if this one God is personal and present; and if this one God has no eyes, but He sees; no ears, but He hears; no mouth, but He speaks, and no hands, but He has reached out and rescued them and us from bondage/slavery (them to Egypt and us to sin), well then this one God is to be our … one love, our first love above all loves. 

And that of course is what God’s Word teaches us next.  Look at v.5, what our Lord Jesus called, “the first and greatest command”— “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”  If there is one God, there is to be one love; one ultimate allegiance.  Inwardly and outwardly—with “every aspect and element” of what we are[3] —we are to be “covenantally committed” to Him.  Covenantally committed—That’s how Dr. Block put it a few weeks ago, and that is a good way to think of it. 

For you see here, the point is not perfect moral obedience or a perpetual passionate inward desire, but rather an honest and faithful one-heartedness towards this one God.  I’ll put it this way: the command here to love functions not as a kind of marriage vow, but as the marriage itself.  So, it is as if God says, “We are already bound together in the covenant of marriage.  But, if you want to enjoy this relationship we have and sustain it, you will remain faithful to me, as I to you.  You will love me and no other, with heart and soul and strength.”

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me” Jesus once said, “is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37).  God first.  Christ alone. 

One day a young rich ruler came up to Jesus and said, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”  Do you remember what our Lord did?  He took him to the Ten Commandments, walking him through the second half of the Law, those commandments which focus on loving neighbor.  “You know the commandments” He said, “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness …honor your father and mother.”  The young man responded, “Teacher, I have kept all these ever since I was boy.” 

Then, do you remember, what Jesus did next?  He turned on His x-ray vision and looked into this man’s heart of hearts.  And so, next He tested if this man truly loved God more than anything else.  He put before this man a choice:  Do you love God more than… let’s say… money?  “You lack one thing, go and sell all that you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and then come and follow me.”  Isn’t that interesting!  Jesus tells him what?  He tells him, “Give away that one, big idol of yours—money.  “For you cannot love both God and money”—“both” being the key word.  And then, Jesus gives the call to follow, the call to love, the call to put Jesus first—“Come and follow me.”    

And as we know, the man hangs his head and walks away disheartened.  He walks away from the Shema—“Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love Him, with heart and soul and strength.”  There is one God.  Thus, there is to be one love.

In our text in Deuteronomy, the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land.  And once there, Moses warns them, they will be surrounded by other “gods,” by the idols of other people.  He warns them here and everywhere in Deuteronomy not to forsake the one true God. 

Now, our context is not so far removed from that.  The bridge from the wilderness to Wheaton is shorter than we might imagine.  For we live in a land filled with idols, different kinds of idols, but idols nevertheless.  Don’t we?  And the love of fame, the love of pleasure, the love of work, even the love of family (perhaps a spouse or child), and oh yes the love of money—these are real idols, and thus real temptations for us to serve first, aren’t they?  Oh, they are real temptations to me.  Like vultures circling a dying man, these temptations encircle us, waiting to devour us.  So how then, how are we to continue on?  How are we to protect and preserve ourselves and our children and the reputation of our God?


Well, that’s where Moses takes us next.  He takes us to the Word of God.  You see, there is one God, and one love, and one Word—the revealed and written words of God.  This is what we find in vv.6-9.  Here we are taught the importance or even the practical necessity of knowing and teaching the Word of God so that the people of God (as a God-only worshipping community) might be protected and thus preserved.

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Knowing and teaching the Word of God, that’s what these verses teach us.  So, first, we have knowing.  Now, I saying “knowing” because that is what I think it being taught in v.6, where Moses says, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.”  Here, “heart” does not refer to one’s inner seat of emotions (as I first thought, and as we usually think of “heart”).  Rather, it means mostly mind or intellect, which is typical of how it is used elsewhere in the Old Testament, and which perhaps explains why our Lord Jesus thought it necessary to add the word “mind” when He recited this verse. 

So, the idea here is not far removed from on own idiom for memory.  We say, “I know that verse by heart;” that is, I have committed it to memory.  That’s the idea here.  Like the righteous man of Psalm 1, God’s people are to know the Word by heart, so that whether they are sitting and walking or doing whatever whenever they might have it on their mind so as to be ready to speak it out their mouth.

Today we live in an age of information.  We feed on facts all throughout the day.  And yet, ironically, there is a famine of the Word of the Lord.  Not a famine out there (you can find the Bible anywhere and everywhere), but a famine in here [heart/mind]!  As Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed [why?] “for lack of knowledge….” 

Most Christian men I know, including many men in this church, have extraordinary mental capabilities.  And these mental capabilities are shown especially these days in their vast knowledge of certain subjects—computers or cars or sports.  Take for example sports. 

Just the other today I overheard two men, two Christian men, talking about Chicago sports.  They spoke in such detail and with such precision.  And their vocabulary was so astute, readily pronouncing complex terms and complex names, like Zambrano and Urlacher. 

Men today do not lack mental capabilities.  Neither do they lack a love of knowledge.  But some of them (and more and more these days, even in this church), they lack a love of knowledge for the Word of God.  If you are going to memorize obscure baseball statistics and also so many foreign sounding names, well you might as well memorize the Ten Commandments or the Shema or the Beatitudes, or learn something less complex than the ERA of every Major League pitcher … something like Hebrew.  And I’m not kidding.  You might as well get the Word of God into your heart. 

For, fathers, how do you expect to protect your children from the idols of this land if you don’t know the Word of God so that you might rightly apply it, might use it like an arrow to strike at the heart of your children’s hearts?  Men and women, Moms and Dads, people of God, we must know the Word of God.  We must know the very words of God!  They must be “on our hearts.”       

Now, none of the knowledge talked about in v.6 or elsewhere in Scripture is impractical.  No, as vv.7-9 makes clear, such knowledge of the Word by heart is for the sake of teaching, especially teaching children, teaching the next generation.  You see, a true acknowledgment that there is one God and thus one love leads to a commitment to love others, to love them through teaching them. 

Do you remember after our Lord’s resurrection, His encounter with Peter?  Three times He asked him, “Peter do you love me?”  And after Peter trice affirmed that he did in fact love Jesus, what then did Jesus say?  He said, “Feed my sheep”—teach them.  You see, there is no disconnect from the oneness of God, our one-hearted commitment to God (love), and the one Word of God which we are to teach.

So, we are to know and then to teach.  But how so?  Well, first of all through speech, as it only natural.  Just look at v.7.  “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”  So when are we to speak the Word?  Whenever:  whenever active, whenever inactive, whenever inside, whenever outside, whenever the sun rises, and whenever it sets.    

The picture here is one of hard, steady, persistent and consistent work.  You see the image here (and it especially comes out in the Hebrew word used here for “teach” ~T'än>N:viw> *shan/nan- sharpen), the image here is that of an engraver, someone who with hammer and chisel in hand, works some this day and then some the next and so on, until finally, over a long period of time, words have been permanently engraved into that solid slab of granite.[4]

So that’s the picture.  And here, you might say, is the process—the tools of the trade, so to speak.  You have heard of the three R’s—reading, writing, and arithmetic.  Here we have the three C’s— catechism, conversation, and correction.  That is, we are to sharpen our children through catechism (through a structured, systematic way of regular routine instruction), and through conversation (through an unstructured, everyday, as-the-situation-arises talks about the things of God), and finally through correction (through the necessary rebuke of sins and admonishments against evil thoughts and behaviors).  So, through catechism, conversation, and correction, the Word of God is to be engraved upon our children’s hearts.

Now, I did not grow up in a home where all this took place.  Some of it took place.  I had a bit of catechism.  But let me tell you catechism without conversation and correction is a formula for confusion.  There is nothing worse than a person who knows something of the Word of God but knows nothing of how to live it.    

So, I did not grow up in home where the three C’s took place.  But my wife did.  She grew up in a home where nearly everything was seasoned with speaking the Word—not in some sort of awkward or weird, cultish sort of way, but a realistic and real-life sort of way. 

What I mean is her family always talked about the world in light of the Word.  And so, for example, if they were on a family vacation, and they were watching some movie on the hotel television, and something inappropriate or even something theologically incorrect was said or done, some sort of conversation arose.  And some sort of natural catechism and correction occurred.  You see, they wouldn’t just shut off the television and rant and rave about how corrupt the world has become.  And that was the end of it.  No, there might be some of that.  But the bottom line would always be instruction, some sort of reasoning from the Scriptures as to why such thoughts or words or actions were wrong, were displeasing in God’s sight. 

The Word of God—we are to diligently teach our children, anywhere and everywhere and at all times.  We are to open our mouths (speak)—to catechize, converse, and correct.

Now, this element of speaking the Word (v.7) is interestingly supplemented by seeing the Word (vv.8-9).  Look there.  “You shall bind them [these words] as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Now, it is hard to know for certain whether Moses here is speaking figuratively or literally.  Certainly we know from Jewish history and the New Testament that some Jews did take this command literally, as the Pharisees, I believe, wore phylacteries (little boxes on their heads which contained Scripture verses).  But since there is no mention of our Lord Jesus, the ultimate religiously obedient Jew, donning such apparel, I think it would be inappropriate for me to say, “I’ll be coming over to each of your houses tomorrow to check your doorposts.”  No, I don’t think these verses are prescriptive in that sense.  But they are, perhaps, in this sense:  There is real value in seeing the Word of God written—like it is up here; and over there and there.

Now, our God is very careful to tell us, such as in the Second Commandment, that He is not to be represented in certain visual ways.  The Bible is careful with how sight communicates the person and nature of God.  However, here and elsewhere there is a real emphasis, not on seeing God, but on seeing God and His will, if you will, through seeing His words, written here and written there.

In Dr. Machen’s Greek Grammar he talks about learning Greek (quote) “not only by the eye but by the ear.”  Well, here that idea is reversed.  We are to learn about the one God and His one word “not only by the ear, but by the eye.” 

In my house growing up there were plaques with each child’s name, its meaning, and a Bible verse that goes along with it.  You’ve all seen these.  And so my name plaque, which hung right outside the bathroom, this plaque which I saw thousands of times throughout my life, it read:  Douglas/Seeking Heart/“But seek you first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”  So, if there was one Bible verse that I had memorized at a very early age, it was Matthew 6:33—what I saw everyday.        

Now, do you know what I find so interesting about that plaque is that that verse so well summarizes my life, and especially my conversion to Christ!  For 19 years oh I was a seeking heart, seeking everything but God first.  But when I came to my senses, it was as if the vision of that verse was used by the Lord to open my eyes.  You see, don’t underestimate how we can teach the Word through all the senses, even through these eyes.

Speaking the Word and seeing the Word—both ways (we find here) of teaching the Word, of engraving it onto the heart. 

Conclusion:  Last week, my five year old taught me an important saying.  It goes like this:  Right worship of the true God matters.  Well, I think as we have looked at this text before us, we can offer a hearty, “Amen.”  For to believe that there is ONE GOD (That YHWH is unique, there is no God beside Him), and to grasp and live out that there is ONE LOVE (that we are to love God first, with heart and soul and strength), and finally to know and teach this ONE WORD (His one Word, the very words of God)—all this matters, doesn’t it? 

It matters to our personal faith and to the very promises of God for us individually.  It matters for the Church and this church—its very existence, its health, its longevity.  And it matters for the gospel working and moving and growing in the world—the exclusive gospel which is inclusive good news for sincere Hindus and sincere Muslims and sincere Buddhists and even sincere Atheists, all those who are sincerely in need of saving faith in Christ.  “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”  Amen.  Let us pray.

Prayer:  Our Lord, we need your help; your help to believe, to believe that you alone are the one, true, and living God.  And we need your help to love, to love you first and most, with heart and mind and soul and strength.  And we need your help, our good and gracious God, to know and teach faithfully and diligently Your Word.  Give us the grace to believe and love and teach, we ask this in and through our Lord Jesus Christ, the very God of very God.  Amen.  


Benediction:  1 Timothy 1:17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.




























(Set in context of Naperville) You see, the exclusively of Christ (that He is the only way) is the most detestable doctrine in the world today.  Isn’t it?  Not just for the Catholic Church to hold, but for you and I to hold.  Have you ever been talking to someone about the Gospel—speaking of God’s love or perhaps even His holiness, speaking of His loving provision in and through Jesus, His Son, speaking of sin and the forgiveness of sin—and person your talking with is nodding his/her head in some kind of agreement.  But then, if you say or he or she asks something about, “Does this mean Muslims or Hindis or Buddhists cannot get to heaven?” and you reply, “Yes, it does mean that” well then the deal is off, and usually the persecution is on—“How can you believe such a thing.”  No one has a problem if we say God is love or even God is light.  But if we say God is one and therefore, there is only one way to the one true God, well then be ready to take some heat!            

To say—there is one God and therefore one love and that that one God is revealed through one word

I have always found it interesting that when I prayed to receive Christ—the prayer of my conversion—which was certainly no set prayer.  It was very much my own, although it my sound very much like any such prayer.  But here is what I prayed.  After being so convinced for my sin, I first prayed, “Jesus, I know you are real.  I have never doubted your existence.  But I have never asked you for forgiveness.  Will you please forgive me?  Clean me up on the inside (in other words, deliver me from my sin!).”  That was the first part of my prayer—Christ be my Savior, forgive me of my sins.  The second part of that prayer was this.  I prayed, “And I promise from this day forward that I will put you first in my life.”  Which was just my way of saying, “And now, I promise to love you with heart and soul and strength.”

I once read a biography of Sir Thomas More, and in that biography it spoke of the typical medieval education a man like More (an aristocrat) would have received.  At his earliest age his education focused on the memory, and you might say the right side of the brain.  So he learned music and mathematics and languages (Greek and Latin).  I was struck by that.  How can a mere child learn such complex subjects?  Well, they can learn such subjects because at that age their brains are wired for it.  Each morning I spend a bit of time going through Greek or Hebrew or Latin grammar or vocabulary.  My two daughters often sit next to me on the couch as I do this.  While I struggle to remember, they are like little machines.  We look at a Hebrew word.  I say it aloud, and bingo, they’ve got it! 

We so underestimate children’s abilities.  My children and your children can learn certain things (like Bible verses, like complex theological definitions) far more easily then I can.  We are to teach them. 

So catechism or whatever you like to call it.  Then, we have conversion, and with that (I’ll tag this right on to that, correction).  This seems to be the main thrust of this verse, does it?  We are to converse about the things of God inside the house and outside of it, morning, noon, and night. 

Now, you might say, “How do I know if I am doing a good job of this?  How do I know if I am effective?”  Well, one of the best indicators is the questions our children ask.  What are the questions your children pose to you?  There is a pattern in the Torah that goes like this (we see this for example in Deuteronomy 6:20), when your son or daughter ask you, “What’s the deal with these commandments?”

Israel is commanded to know and teach “these words”—which perhaps speaks of all the commandments of the Law of Moses, but more likely (since “these words” are to be written on limited spaces—on doorposts and between eyes—I think they refer specifically to or at least to the Ten Commandments, notably the First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods besides me,” which fits so well with the Shema, “The Lord is one.”

For us, as Christians, as those who lived under the New Covenant in Christ’s blood, “these words”—whether that refers to the Law or just the Ten Commandments—broadens to include the whole of God’s revelation, specifically the commandments of Christ.  I say the commandments of Christ, because it is those which we are commanded to teach.  I’m referring to the Great Commission, where our Lord says, we are to “make disciples … by teaching them to observe everything I have commanded.” 

My brothers and sisters, the world today is so like the Canaanites of Israel’s Promised Land.  Our world, our culture is going to pressure us to forsake the one, true, and living God, and to bow down to idols and to embrace all sorts of other gods. 

I hope you believe that here [point to head].  The world is going to pressure you and pressure you not to believe it.  And it you don’t have it here [head] what follows in the passage will make no sense and you will not at all by compelled by it. 

*2nd person singular (each individual matters; how it goes from person to people—doorposts)-self to children to household to community  

*First command for the people to write (assumes literacy)

Land (v.3, v.10)—Safeguarding the exclusively

Teaching to safeguard the truth (losing children out the back door) 

20 My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not your mother's teaching. 21 Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, 24 to preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.

In a private conversion I had with Dr. Liftin about a month ago, I asked him a number of questions on how to be a good pastor.  One of the questions I asked was about protecting family time.  With a busy schedule, how do I protect family time?  His response was enlightening.  He said something to this effect, “You need to teach your children that the ministry is a great privilege.  And so if you are gone long hours or away at night, when you return, you should share with them


·       How a wrong idea of God can lead to a wrong practice or love of God!!!!

·       I don’t need doctrine, etc.

·       Leith (Christianity without creeds)—give specific historical example/here is first creed

·       “Right worship of the true God matters” (Clapham chapel)

·       I thought about beginning this sermon with something that would rivet your attention, like….  There are at least possible ways to translate v.4.  Now, that I have attracted your attention, let’s see what the Word of God has to teach us tonight.    

·       Twain on repetition

·       (1) Get attention, (2) uncover needs, (3) orient the listeners to the body of the message

·       Could start with testimony:  putting God first

God is one.  Therefore, God and His Word should be first in your heart

Shema—hear and keep/obey:  similar sounding words in Hebrew which suggests “careful, sustained obedience” (McConville, 140)

YHWH our God is one YHWH or YHWH our God, YHWH is one or YHWH is our God; the YHWH is one.  I would like to spend the next ten minutes exploring this… (joke)

Greatest commandment:  Judaism, Jesus, today (see Merrill, 163)

This covenant relationship is an exclusive relationship between God and Israel

“It differs from the First Commandment in that the emphasis falls heavily on the word ‘one’” (McConville, 141)   

“The exposition commences with an explanation and enforcing of the first commandment.  There are two things contained in it:  (1) that Jehovah is the one absolute God; (2) that He requires love with all the heart,” (Keil, 884)

“The primary assertion of v.4 is that there is only one true God” (Kalland, 64)

Uniqueness and unity; but more stress on uniqueness (to Him alone!)—see Merrill, 163—thus no polytheism or syncretism

The LORD is not some abstract concept of deity like “the unmoved Mover” or “the absolute being” or “the absolute idea” but “an absolutely living God” and thus to be loved (see Keil, 884)

“He was not merely first among the gods, as Baal in the Canaanite pantheon, Amon-Re in Egypt, or Marduk in Bablyon; he was the one and only God and as such eh was omnipotent” (Craigie, 169)

How in Paul’s epistles love follows creed (Ephesians—Paul House)

If there is one God there is one love!

The response to this essential truth about God is not mere belief (James) but love!

Dagon illustration:  There is no gods in my presence (Mat Martin idea)

What Moses does with the Golden Calf (see Deut 9)

Idolatry is a big concern in the Law—when the law section starts in chapter 12, it starts here (12:2).

“The Lord alone” (Block)

Commentary on 1st Commandment; see the Monotheistic theology of chapters 4 and 10

“Who is like you” (Exodus 15—see Craigie)

THIS GOD—You Shall Love God

This command repeated often in Deut 4:29; 10:12; 11:1, 13, 22; 19:9; 26:16; 30:2, 6, 10, 16, 20; cf. Josh 22:5)

Heart = mind—The association of hear with intellect is clear from Jeremiah 5:21 and Hosea 7:11

·       “Ephraim is like a dove, silly and without sense….” (Hosea 7:11)

·       “Hear this, O foolish and senseless people….” (Jeremiah 5:21)

“To obey is to love God with every aspect and element of one’s being” (Merrill, 163)

“In covenant terms, then, love is not so much emotive or sensual in its connotation (though it is not excluded in those respects), but it is of the nature of obligation, of legal demand” (Merrill, 164).

Gratitude which leads to obedience

Single minded and complete; inward obedience  

Not a study in faculty psychology (see Kalland, 64)

Excludes half-heartedness

“It is in a very real sense true to say that the entire book is a commentary on the command…” E.W. Nicholson in Craigie, 169.

Can We?  Oh that they had a mind/heart… (5:29) vs. Josiah; Young Rich Ruler (tying in with coveting command); Testimony—“From this day forward I will put you first in my life”; Snow Queen—broken mirror and icy hearts; Council of Orange:  Canon 25 “It is wholly a gift of God to love God” (Leith, 43); trying not to have a negative thought about someone else for a week; Moses’ failure; Josiah?

·       See Keil—“even the gospel knows no higher commandment than this (885)

·       See Merrill, 165

Faith in the OT:  delightful, joyful, adherence to God!

THESE WORDS—You Shall Know and Teach His Word

Command repeated in 11:18-20

The vav in Hebrew (and .. and.. and)—how these commands are pilled up

“These words … shall be on your heart” (v.6)—the idiom for commit it to memory or memorize it/I know them by heart (like Ps 1, 119).  For if you don’t know them by heart how can you teach them all the time (cf. 4:9)

·       “To be upon the heart is to be in one’s constant, conscious reflection” (Merrill, 167)

Note who the teacher is.  Not the priest, etc.

Children—note the emphasis in the Law (cf. Ephesians 6:1)—see Deuteronomy 31:10-13

Illustration:  Potok (how well he knew the Bible)

Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”

Commandments are good (Matthew 28; 1 John)!

Speaking them to children (v.7)


·       A systematic way of teaching.  Do you have a regular routine of instruction

·       How children learn well this way (Medieval education—music, languages, and math)

·       10 Commandments, 10 fingers (Block)

·       The image of an engraver (see Merrill, 167)

·       “This message is made indelible by constant repetition” (Merrill, 167)


·       Dinner table, etc.  (talking about sermon)

·       Trollope:  the Bible game he and the bishop played (start and verse and the other had to finish it)


·       My household when something bad was seen, compared with Emily’s

·       Emily instructing Evelyn on grumbling (uses the Manna story)

Seeing them (vv.8-9)

·       “Our God does not communicate to us by sight” (e-mail to Chris)

·       Learning by sound and sight—how we learn a new language (Machen)

·       Note:  this is not for the wearing to see, but others—as a sign of the covenant; “After ordering that the covenant commandments be worn on the person of the faithful Israelite, Moses expanded the sphere of covenant claim to the house and then to the village.  In this manner the person and his entire family and community become identified as the people of the Lord” (Merrill, 168).  Illustration:  clergy wearing robes

·       What do we put before our eyes?  Television

·       “Douglas” plague:  “Seeking Heart”—how seeing that everyday for years had its effect; through the repetition of sight, I at least memorized it; The value of saying the Creeds:  (1) aids memory of basic truths, (2) immunizes against false doctrine (when we heard something wrong, we instinctively know it)  

·       Literally or metaphorical/figurative—Judaism took it literally (see Merrill, 168); “There is no conflict in Deuteronomy’s understanding, however, between outward sign and inward condition; its concern is that there should be harmony between the two.  Here, the law of God is one with piety and lifestyle” (McConville, 142; cf. Merrill, 168)

·       Annie—painted these verses on her wall (left out v.8 due to lack of space) 

“The commandments were to be the subject of conversation both inside and outside the home, from the beginning of the day to the end of the day.  In summary, the commandments were to permeate every sphere of the life of man” (Craigie, 170).  So too Christ’s commands (Matthew 28)

“….be the constant subject of thought and conversation...everywhere at all times” (Keil, 884)

“Sitting suggests inactivity; and walking, of course, activity.  Together they encompass all the human effort.  Likewise, to retire at night and rise up in the morning speaks of the totality of time” (Merrill, 167)

You can tell what you children think about in two ways:

·       What they play (Lily and Evelyn playing Bible school)

·       What questions they ask (see notes)

Warning:  Knowing doesn’t always equal loving (Saint John’s Bible illustration)

                                                                              5 `dx'(a, Ÿhw"ïhy> WnyheÞl{a/ hw"ïhy> lae_r'f.yI [m;Þv.  

^ßv.p.n:-lk'b.W ^ïb.b'l.-lk'B. ^yh,_l{a/ hw"åhy> taeÞ T'êb.h;a'äw> ~AYàh; ^±W>c;m. ykiónOa' rv,’a] hL,aeªh' ~yrIåb'D>h; Wyùh'w> 6 `^d<)aom.-lk'b.W ‘^t,’ybeB. ^ÜT.b.viB. ~B'_ T'Þr>B;dIw> ^yn<ëb'l. ~T'än>N:viw> 7 `^b<)b'l.-l[; ^d<+y"-l[; tAaßl. ~T'îr>v;q.W 8 `^m<)Wqb.W ^ßB.k.v'b.W* %r,D,êb; ^åT.k.l,b.W ^t<ßyBe tzOðWzm.-l[; ~T'²b.t;k.W 9 `^yn<)y[e !yBeî tpoßj'jol. Wyðh'w>s `^yr,(['v.biW

1 Timothy 6:12-16

12  Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13  I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen

Lily and Evelyn playing school

·       Bible reading from Children’s Bible

·       Sing “All Hail the Power”

·       Don’t underestimate children’s intellect

Teaching the children:  catechism, conversation, and correction

Lily from Clapham chapel, “Right worship of the true God matters”

Council of Orange:  Canon 25 “It is wholly a gift of God to love God” (Leith, 43)

Emily instructing Evelyn on grumbling (manna story)

I work alone—there are no gods in my presence (ask Matt Martin)

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

Illustration:  Family talking about sermon at lunch (so that children could digest it)

Dr. Block on “love” (listen to sermon)

Second, you mentioned about our relationship with God is by faith and He speaks to us as His mode of communication.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  How can they hear except by a preacher.  It is the foolishness of preaching whereby men are saved.  Our God does not communicate to us by sight, but by hearing.  In fact temptation generally comes by sight.  Man gets led away from God by the sight.

You preached that God communicates to us by the hearing and Scriptures clearly teaches He is not a God of Sight.  He communicates by the hearing and we must believe that he exists.  Nothing is by sight.  I then ask you why do you support bring the screen into the worship service.  It is not of God, it is bring sight into the worship and it detracts from the preaching.  If people are watching the screen, they are not listening to the sermon.  It is listening to the sermon that will increase faith.

Trollope:  Bishop knows his Bible (game they played)

Saint John’s Bible (how the main guy isn’t a believer, but how he sees and writes and therefore knows the Word, but doesn’t believe it or life it)

Dr. Block’s Comments (see his documents, on e-mail from Kristen):

The first Psalm is an invitation to having his devotion in the Torah (Deuteronomy)

~ The Law being a delight

~ Because in every turn in Deuteronomy grace comes before law or relationship before commands (e.g., Preamble before 10 Commandments)

~ Need a broader view of the word Torah (not just law, but words, instructions, poems)

What Romans is the NT, Deut is to the OT (systematic theology of Israel)

Why 10 Commandments?  For the value of memory (count on ten fingers)

Hearing the Words of Moses (his summary of the Book, based on 1:1-5)

Faith that works in OT:  delightful, joyful, adherence to God!

*Trying not to think a negative thought about someone else, or lustful thought

The Torah/Law is not the way to salvation; it is the response to salvation


“Douglas” plague:  “But seek ye first”  (how seeing it everyday had its effect—it at least knew it in my head; I memorized it through repetitive seeing

·       The value of saying the Creeds:  (1) aids memory of basic truths, (2) immunizes against false doctrine (when we heard something wrong, we instinctively know it)

See 4:9 and 5:29

Context:  Moses reminds them of the law after God again says “no” to him entering the Promised Land; this adds some personal weight to his teaching (see 3:23-4:1; 4:21-24)

“God is one”—note the concern of idolatry (4:15-28; 6:13-15); note also these statements about ….has any other god…. (see 4:6-8; 4:32-29)

In chapters 3-4, a point Moses is making:

(1)   Why other gods bring trouble

(2)   Why the LORD is best

5:1 “learn and observe”

How do we show we love God?  Keep His commands (see 5:1ff; and John and I John)

Deut 9 illustration:  What Moses does with the golden calf (fine-dust in river)

See 11:13

In chapter 12, the book starts with the laws, first up again is idolatry (see 12:2)

The Chosen (learning the law)

“Hear, O Israel” (6:4; 9:1; 10:12)

Here the whole Book is summarized

Note that Josiah obeyed this perfectly:   2 Kings 23:25 Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him. (cf. 2 Chronicles 25:2)

1 Chronicles 29:19 Grant to Solomon my son a whole heart that he may keep your commandments, your testimonies, and your statutes, performing all, and that he may build the palace for which I have made provision."

“Hear O Israel”

·       Moses, the pastor, not the legislator, calling the congregation for a last word to them

·       Note who is addressed (those who have been saved by grace, see Block’s sermon on chapter Four, the Gospel According to Moses)


·       Block, “the Lord alone” not “one”

·       See immediate context:  First Commandment; “gods”

·       Monotheistic theology (see Chapter 4)  

·       See Book context:  God’s supremacy (see chapter 10)

·       James 2—not just theological


·       Commands in the NT (Matthew 28; 1 John)


·       Questions children ask show:  (1) where their hearts are, (2) how well they have been taught

·       Do your children ask questions like this? (6:20) "When your son asks you in time to come, 'What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?'

·       No child would ask these questions unless they were being taught all the time at home

Deuteronomy 10:12—the wrong place to start is keep the commandments, but in the heart (fear, walk in all His ways, love, serve, keep)

Love—the central characteristic of God’s character in this Book 

Love is always active (not simply an emotion or inner motive)

“Heart” – “Mind”—same in Hebrew thought (Jesus adds mind)

Love from the inside out and totally (from mind/heart—to person—to substance)

V.4 “One” not many “gods” (see 5:7; 6:14, do search for “gods” in Book)

·       Illustrations in Daniel (the supremacy of God); also Dagon

Love Command!  How strange it is to be commanded to love

V.6 “These words”—context is 10 Commandments (5:1ff)

Vv.5-6  inside; vv.7-9 outside

How do we know/learn the commandments?  By hearing, speaking, and seeing them

·       Illustration:  learning a new language (intro in Machen)

v.7  Speaking; vv.8-9 seeing

·       The necessity and importance of good teaching (and teachers, see Acts sermons, et al.)

·       Here it is every man (parent) teaching—our job, not the prophets and apostles, and pastors

Know the commandment (vv.1-2); ideas repeated in (v.3)

“That”—do/fear by keeping/days be long (cf. v.3 “well” and Ephesians)

Do them?  Can we?  (see I John sermon)

*List of Christ’s commands

*How 10 Commandments are repeated in NT

“the commandment” (v.1) is v.4 (The Shema)

Knowing, Loving, and Doing the Commands of God (see Psalm 119:32-33 sermons; cf. I John)

·       Knowing (vv.7-9):  Amos “lack of knowledge” (Calvin’s and Luther’s prefaces); “with mind”

·       Loving (vv.4-6):

·       Doing (vv.1-3)

Introduction:  Quote Jesus’ commands

·       Some think because we don’t live under the Law, there aren’t laws/commands

·       The importance/necessity of commands

1 John 5:21 (idols)

13:1-18; cf. 17:2-7

·       Illustrations

·       How one – gods

·       The seriousness of idolatry—death (for medieval heresy, Mickey Maddox class, “understanding precedes judgment”)

Idols 27:15

Heart = mind:  what about 28:47  (Do “heart” word study)


“Love”—what does it mean to love God (do word study on “love”)

Children—Deuteronomy 31:10-13

Future talk—chapters 30-32


[1] See Craigie, 169.

[2] Keil, 884.

[3] Merrill, 163.

[4] Merrill, 167.

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