“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
The Great and Foremost Commandment
(Please read Matthew 22:35-38)
When Jesus answered the lawyer’s question in our text, he was citing a command of God recorded in Deuteronomy 6:5, which had been given to the Jews as they were preparing to enter their promised land. While the Ten Commandments do not specifically command the people to love God, that requirement is obviously necessary in order to follow the commandments about honoring and obeying God. In fact, God mentioned in that connection that he showed loving kindness to thousands, “to those who love Me and keep My commandments” (Deuteronomy 5:10, NAS).
Later God promised peace, prosperity and victory to the Israelites if only they loved him and kept his commandments (see Deuteronomy 11). Clearly certain blessings from God were conditioned on love for him.
God’s greatest commandment demands our greatest commitment. He will not withhold good things from us as long as we don’t cheat him by failing to give him our best.
And look what he promises us in return for all our hearts and souls and minds. He has promised the kingdom and the crown of life to those who love him. And he has promised that all things will work together for good for those same people.
Indeed, the rewards to those who love him are so marvelous as to defy our understanding. Paul, quoting Isaiah, declared, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for those that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9, KJV).
No wonder this is the foremost commandment. Aren’t you glad it’s there for us!