3.18.2017

Deuteronomy 6:1-15

ppt

Third Test
Reading: Matthew 4:1-11, Deuteronomy 6:1-15

Do you love God?
Yes, you love God, with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind.
So, you find your inner peace and have a sound mind.
So you are beautiful.

It is very good to say to God often:
“I love you God.
I want to love you, God.”

About 3400 years ago, Moses emphasized this as much as he could.
Moses said to his people:
“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.”

Because Moses emphasized this so much, even today, Jewish people recite this in their synagogues.
(3) It is called “Shema” as it starts with a Hebrew word: Shema.
Shema means “listen” or “hear.”

They may sing during their worship:
“Sh'ma Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Eḥad….
שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָֽד...׃‎”

(3) In fact, they place this text in a mezuzah and put it on their doorpost:

(3) Or when they pray, some wear a small box on their head (tefillin) that contains these words of shema from Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
“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.”

They put these on, in order to literally follow what Moses asked them:
Moses said like:
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children.
Talk about this when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

But what Moses asked them is to teach their children about loving God.
Because it is important to love God and obey God for their blessings.
God wants to bless them.
So Moses asked them to obey God and love God.
Then they enter into God’s blessings and experience God’s blessing.

Moses also spoke to his people like this: Deuteronomy 6:6-9
“Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.”

Before they even entered into the promised land, Moses emphasized like this: Deuteronomy 6:10-12
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build; houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide; wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.
When you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

As a prophet, Moses understood when God bless people, they may forget God and backslide.
When God bless people, they may become proud and would not listen anymore or pay attention to God anymore.
So God’s blessings rather become their temptation.

So Moses asks them to listen to God especially when everything goes so well.
Moses asks them to pay attention to God and serve God only, especially when everything goes so well.
At that very moment, they need to give glory and praise only to God.

Moses said again: Deuteronomy 6:13-15
“Fear the Lord your God, serve him only.
Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you.
Because the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you.
He will destroy you from the face of the land.”

However, they were introduced to and served other gods in Old Testament times.
Those who serve other gods introduced their religion like this:
“If you want to have rain for your crops in this land, worship this god.
If you want to have abundance and prosperity in this land, worship that god.
Follow this method.
This is a most scientific method that we have for more crops in this land.
It works.”

This is how they sell their gods.
This is how they introduced their false gods, and false promises.

But then God’s people forgot the God who brought them out of Egypt.
And they sought some spiritual experience in false religions.
They were distracted.
So they didn’t focus on God alone and even disobeyed God.
They didn’t always serve and fear God only.
They didn’t always give glory to God alone.
So they could not enjoy all the blessings that God had for them in Old Testament times.

When they seek something more than God, when they love something more than God, when they want something more than God, they are serving other gods or worshiping other gods.
Then they could not experience God’s blessings.

But God wants to bless them.
So God corrects them and guides them so that they might serve him only.
Because when they serve God, they are ready to experience God’s blessings.

So as a prophet, Moses asked them saying:
“Fear the Lord your God, serve him only.
Do not follow other gods.
Your God is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you.
He will destroy you from the face of the land.”

Now let’s think about Jesus in the wilderness.
About 2000 years ago, before starting his ministry, Jesus was fasting in the desert.

Then Satan came and tempted Jesus to sin.
Then for the third test, the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.

Then the devil was like:
“Do you want this?
I will give you all this, if you bow down and worship me.
Bow down and follow me.
I will give you wealth and power.”

This is how the devil has been tempting people or seducing them.
Satan may tempt people to seek fame, money, power, vainglory.
Satan may offer training programs to serve other false gods.

Then, Satan was even tempting Jesus in the wilderness.
But it was not a temptation for Jesus at all because he loves God and he came to serve God.
It was not a temptation at all.
Jesus came to introduce the only God whom people can love, serve and find the true meaning in life.
Then they who serve God in the name of Jesus will enjoy eternal life.

Besides, those whom God chose for himself could not be happy serving other false gods.
God would not give up on God’s chosen people.
God will bring his chosen people to know the truth.
God will guide them to know the truth.
So God’s chosen people will learn that they are happy when they love and obey God.
Then they experience God who gives and provides everything.
When they come closer to God, God gives everything.

I remember when I studied for my doctoral degree.
At that time, that was my false god: a doctoral degree.
I would like to have it.
But soon I learn it was a vainglory.
I was not happy.
And then especially I felt disgusting when I obtained my doctoral degree.
I felt:
“Is this what I did?
I feel disgusting about this.
I don’t feel good.
I am not happy.”

I thank God for what I felt.
I felt the truth.
Only God can make anyone truly happy.

In the story of Pilgrim's Progress, Mr. Christian and Mr. Faithful arrived at the town of Vanity Fair.
People of this town asked them to buy their products in their marketplaces:
They were selling Fame, Degree, Title, and Honor for showing up and be seen by other people.

But Mr. Christian and Mr. Faithful remembered Ecclesiastes 1:2:
“Everything is meaningless, completely meaningless!
These are pointless and meaningless.”
So Mr. Christian and Mr. Faithful didn’t buy those vainglory.
Instead, they humbled themselves and served God.

Then they were brought to meet the wicked judge and his people.
So Mr. Faithful preached to them saying:
“Serve the living God with all your hearts.
Love God.
Love the truth.
Trust in God.
Then God can bless you and even use your life for his glory.”

Like that when Satan came and tempted Jesus, in the wilderness, Jesus spoke to the devil:
“Away from me, Satan!
The Bible says:
‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Then the devil left him.
Then angels came and served him.

Jesus quoted what Moses said to his people: Deuteronomy 6:13-15:
“Fear the Lord your God, serve him only.
Do not follow other gods.
Because God is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.”

If anyone is about to disobey God, Jesus may encourage them saying:
“God loves you and feels jealousy for you.
Do not serve other gods.
Otherwise, God may chastise you.”

After Jesus started his ministry, a Jewish scholar asked Jesus about what the most important commandment in the Bible is.
Jesus answered him like this:
“The most important one is this:
‘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 mind and with all your strength.”

Here Jesus added to shema these words: Mark 12:28-34
“with all your mind.”
Jesus was asking the man who asked this question to love God with his mind.
Jesus asked him to use his good mind to love God and serve God.

To many smart people, Jesus may say the same thing:
“I want you guys to love God, with your mind.
You have a good mind.
Use it for me and for the gospel.
Then in that process, you may meet God and be able to understand God and serve God with your mind.”

Jesus is guiding us to love God and serve God with our minds.
Jesus is teaching this lesson through his words and through our life experiences.
Then we know that we could not be happy, when we serve a false god.
We could not be happy when we serve a wrong god.
We could not happy when we seek something wrong.
Serving false gods do not help us to have true happiness nor true success.
It could not give us something so meaningful and true.
We need to remember that.

Jesus has never sinned against God.
Jesus is the only person who obeys God for everything: Deuteronomy 6:13-15:
He obeys even when God asks him to die for him on the cross.
Jesus showed his willingness to serve God even at the cross.
Even at the cross, Jesus was like:
“I will love God!
I will serve God only!”

We don’t have power to live like him.
So we want to be in Jesus.
We want to live in the name of Jesus.
Then Jesus will protect us and enable us to love and serve God only.

When we are in Jesus, we can worship Jesus and serve God only.
When we are in Jesus, we are in the word of God.
When we are in God’s words, we have a right mind.
Then we may be able to live in the name of Jesus.
We may understand the truth and follow Jesus and serve God only.

Loving God is the foundational piece for our faith.
Without loving God, we cannot know God, because God is love.
Without loving God, we cannot follow the way of Jesus.
Without loving God, we can not love other people in God’s way.

When we love God, then we may love people like God.
When we love God, then we may know how to love other people in Jesus.
When we love God, then we can love one another as Jesus loves us.

So, let’s keep on loving God.
Then we may be even able to listen to God and obey God.
We may find rest in God.
Then as God bless us, we may bless others.
Amen

Let's pray:
Jesus, help us to love you.
We want to love you.
You are the truth and the life.
Help us to obey you.
May we serve you forever and be yours forever.
Thank you for giving a wonderful life in your mighty name.
In Jesus name, we pray.
Amen