Commanded to Love

Here’s a question for the theologically astute:

I’m teaching tonight on Deut. 6, the Shema: Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Moses delivers this word from God to the children of Israel as a reminder for them as they enter the promised land. My question is this: how are we to make sense of God’s command that we love Him? If love is demanded, is it really love? I think I have an answer to this, but I wanted to get your thoughts on this. I always appreciate the times you all help collaborate on a passage with me. Help me out here.

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2 Responses to Commanded to Love

  1. Roberto Lindsay says:

    No, if we define “love” as merely an emotional response drawn from nothing but feeling from sovereign individuals.But, what if there is more to love? What if love is not always a natural emotional response, but it was a learned pattern of living from within community? In other words, what if, at times, the experience of love requires learning how to love by watching others?In that sense, an aspect of love is seen through relationship and experience. It is required as an aspect of a deeper relationship (a covenant relationship?). And, that may be why the rest of the Shema includes what it does…Just a thought.

  2. Jason says:

    Roberto,I think you’re right. I think the Biblical command to “love” God refers to an act of the will. Per the words of Deuteronomy, choose God and, in so doing, choose life. This kind of willful obedience to Yahweh is characterized as “loving” God. At least that’s the approach I took last night.

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