Matthew 22:35-38 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”
About five years ago, before my husband and I were married, he challenged me to read a book about love languages. It is a great book, and gives the reader a chance to look at themselves and how they perceive and understand love. My only disagreement with it was this— people change. At least most people do. People grow, mature and understand more as they progress through life. My love language at eighteen was vastly different than my love language was at twenty-eight. Hopefully, if I have learned more and become better, it will be vastly different at thirty-eight. It’s been my experience that the human condition is selfishly based; meaning that even when they love someone, it is because of what they do or could do for you. Even if that isn’t the truth ten years into a marriage, it probably started out that way. Your spouse made you feel good. They made you feel smart or sexy or special in a way that no one else could or would. YHWH willing, at year ten they still make you feel that way and always will, but it has grown into what can I do for them to make them feel the same way or better than I do with them. How can I show my appreciation for the feelings they give me?
We as humans are always changing. So, we have to adapt and relearn how to love our spouse, children, family, and friends because everyone changes and grows. For this reason, we tend to view God through those same glasses.
We believe how He feels love changes, because we as a society have changed. We now have Him accepting practices and conditions that a thousand years ago He wouldn’t have accepted, because OUR views have changed. But what does the Bible say about that?
Numbers 23:19 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind? Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Malachi 3:6-7 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?
So, what can we determine from these verses? YHWH (LORD in your Bibles always stands for YHWH/YHVH) does not change. He doesn’t need to; He is Alpha and Omega. He has seen what is coming and saw it before the Earth was formed. He is not like us in that way. He doesn’t have to learn, grow or become better than how He started. He doesn’t need to learn how to love us because He already knows how. We need to learn to love Him. Luckily for us, He is unchanging, and He gave us the love instructions in the Bible.
At the start of this chapter, I added Matthew 22:35-38, what Yeshua (Jesus) Himself said was the greatest of the commandments, to love YHWH. It doesn’t say that the greatest is His love of us or the grace of his love, but to Love HIM. So how do we love him? Over the next few pages, we will discover the Bible verses that tell us exactly how to do so.
John 14:15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
Well, that seems pretty straight forward doesn’t it? Close the book.
You are probably saying to yourself, “Well I got ripped off just to learn I need to follow the ten commandments! I do that already!”
If it were that easy, I wouldn’t be writing this book. So, let’s continue, shall we? There are eight different scripture passages that specifically tell you the same thing. The two already stated and the following:
John 14:21 “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
John 14:23-24 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s, who sent me.”
So, Jesus himself says the words He speaks and the commandments He follows are those of his Father, not his own. He also states if you love him you will keep his commandments, which are whose? — His Father’s.
John 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
1 John 2:2-6 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
Full stop! Re-read this passage at least two more times. I would ask that you really think about this. Yeshua (Jesus) walked without sin. He followed the commandments of YHWH perfectly and didn’t change or break them. And we are to walk in the same way in which He walked! We will cover what this means more in-depth in the next chapter.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.
As you can see, the Bible does state unequivocally and undoubtedly how to love YHWH. The entirety of Psalms 119 talks about the love of YHWH and how to love Him. Loving Him as defined by the Bible is obeying the commandments of YHWH. Now, there is no way I could possibly mean obeying the commandments given to Moses, right?
Yes, that is what I mean. Now you have three choices: you can either close the book and give me a bad review based on just this paragraph; you can continue to read just so you can write a review, YouTube video or counter novel to prove me wrong; or you can continue to read, be open to what is written, and research it for yourself. Test it against the scriptures and love YHWH as HE tells you to. Please keep reminding yourself throughout this book and whenever you read your Bible that it was written not with a Western/Greek mindset, but with an Eastern/Hebrew mindset. At the time the Bible was written and the time the writers lived, they were in eastern culture, and there was only one testament. The law, writings, and prophets in the Old Testament were all they had. So, when the Apostles in the New Testament refer to “the scriptures” or state something about them, they are talking about the Torah, writings, and prophets before Matthew. I am in no way dismissing the New Testament. What I am saying is the New Testament confirms and compliments the Old Testament instead of eradicating it as we have been taught.
Go back to the first paragraph in this chapter. We talked about the love languages book. Say you read the book with your spouse. You learned your love languages and theirs, and the odds are you both had separate ones. How do you think you would feel if your spouse knew your love language but decided to ignore it and love you only how they wanted to? Wasn’t the premise of the book to learn how to love your partner in the way they want you to? How would they feel if your love language was expressed as acts of servitude and theirs with gifts and you never gave gifts, but instead always did things for them? Yes, they may feel it’s nice, but it is not speaking to their hearts. You are ignoring how they want to be loved for your own understanding. It isn’t our understanding but THEIRS that matters. So, keep this in mind the next time you are praying over your pork chops and thanking YHWH for them.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
By now you are probably on your computer writing me a scathing email calling me a heretic. Before you hit send, re-read that verse from Proverbs. Whose understanding are you leaning on? We are to lean on the scriptures to tell us how to understand. Your minister was taught the same things he is teaching you. And there are many videos about how seminary school no longer focuses on the scriptures but on growing the church and running it like a business. Yes, these leaders put a lot of time and effort into their education. But what are they being taught? When you are first saved and baptized, you were probably given a Bible or booklet telling you where to start. For me it was Romans—Romans road to salvation. For some it is John. Why are we never taught to start at Genesis? The Bible and school textbooks are the only books you are ever told to skip parts and ignore others. Why? It all matters and applies. Reading the Old Testament won’t change how you understand the New—will it?
If you were to give a Bible to the chieftain of a remote village understanding that he only knew the Bible was true and applicable today, a year later would the village remain unchanged? Remember that he knew nothing about dispensationalism or other theologies. He simply read and accepted the book as written. Would the village under his leadership keep eating what they had been eating, celebrate their own holy days as they had before? Would they do this with the understanding that it was not what the book stated, but that they would always be forgiven without changing any of their old ways? I believe in this situation, the village would be following the complete Torah as stated in the Bible. They would understand not only that Yeshua died for their sins, providing salvation, but that following the Torah was an act of love and obedience to Yeshua and YHWH. They would no longer be eating everything they wanted or celebrating false gods. They would be leaning not on their own understanding but what is stated and set forth in the scriptures.