The Lord Is ONE
Hear, O Israel! The LORD is 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. (Dt. 6:4-5)
Throughout the world, devout Jews begin (Morning Blessing) and end (Evening Prayer) their day with the Shema, three passages from the Torah: 1. Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 2. Deuteronomy 11:13-21; and 3. Num- bers 15:37-41. Shema, translated “hear,” is the first word of the first text.
In Deuteronomy 6:4, the Shema fills the following blank: The LORD is one .
Wouldn’t nouns like “consuming fire” (Dt. 4:24), “righteous judge” (Ps. 7:11), “spirit” (Jn. 4:24), or “love” (1 Jn. 4:8) have been better than a number? Wouldn’t adjectives like “mighty” (Job 36:5), “holy” (Ps. 99:9), or “faithful” (1 Cor. 1:9) have been more impressive?
Looks can be deceiving. According to mathematics, one is irreducible, a whole number, the smallest integer that has a positive value. Theologically, therefore, the number one highlights the unity of God. He is indivisible.
Conditions could not be more favorable for a personal relationship with God. He, being “one,” does not hold back. His commitment is total, never half-hearted.
The “Great Commandment” (Dt. 6:5) thus follows the fact that “the Lord is one.” If, in personal rela- tionships, He withholds nothing, then the proper response is to give Him our all always (the gist of steward- ship): heart, soul, and might (SEE Mk. 12:41-44; Lk. 21:1-4).
Love does not keep score. It isn’t a transaction.