Last semester, I learned a Hebrew prayer known as the Shema.
Jews view the Shema in a similar way that Christians view the Lord’s Prayer. But there’s certainly a difference. Devout Jews actually recite the Shema twice a day. You may be wondering where this prayer comes from. It’s actually in your Bible!
Moses says, “‘Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might’” (Deut. 6:4-5 ESV).
I can actually recite those two verses in Hebrew. The Jews recite more than two verses, but those two verses are the essence of the Shema.
“Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. ‘Abraham!’ God called.
‘Yes,’ he replied. ‘Here I am.’
‘Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you’” (Gen. 22:1-2 NLT).
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? God is asking Abraham to kill his own son! But love is sacrifice, not control. Don’t be surprised when God asks you to sacrifice what you love. Because God can’t fully bless what you’re unwilling to let go of.
I can say for certain today, “I am loved.”
I hope you feel the same. Maybe you don’t. But nonetheless, you are loved. The Bible says it over and over again. No matter if you feel loved much or hardly at all, stay with me. There is greater love waiting to be revealed: the love of Jesus.
“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…” Indeed he does and he loves you too. Many years ago, the Apostle Paul said, “And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is” (Ephesians 3:18).
“Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law” (Romans 13:8, NLT).
Thanks, Paul. It’s not like I have a whole list of responsibilities already. My homework needs finished. My messages need prepared. My guitar strings need changed. My eyes need expansion clips. And now, Apostle, you’re telling me that I need to love people.
“I admire people who love.” The words lay in the pages of my journal, but they cry out from the depths of my heart.
“Why?” you ask. “Love is easy. Give a hug, kiss, and box of chocolates!”
But Godly love is so much more than that. In fact, it should encompass every avenue of our lives, leading and directing our footsteps. Love is to God as oxygen is to humans—inseparable!