Context matters not

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5, NASB)

In the interest of accurate information, let us tag the two concrete elements in this saying: heart (inner, invisible and partial) and soul (outer, visible and total).  Recall that man is a living soul, so “soul” does represent all me me/you.   “With all your might” however,  comes from single Hebrew word, meod, מאד, meaning exceedingly, or with adjectives, simply “very”.  The writer most certainly means that our love can increase to abundant levels, knowing that no matter how much we love there is room to advance with whatever has been revealed and imparted to us.  We cannot claim to have loved precisely as God does.  So we keep increasing.

The very famous saying of Moses that precedes this command and forms the central pillar of the Mosaic legacy – The Shema – should not be separated from the context.  The context includes the love instruction and the following.

  • The time: today
  • The destination of the words: on your heart
  • The duty to teach and talk about constantly  “You shall teach them diligently to your sons…”
  • The duty to devise means to remind oneself of the message package
  • The purpose of remembering why the land of Canaan was a gift
  • The purpose of remembering (not forgetting!) that it was God alone who delivers from bondage (Deuteronomy 6:6-12, NASB)

The narrative of the heart’s function as a container of God’s or Moses’ words is an example of willing ignorance of the facts. Why would God give voice to a letdown antecedent to the Shema (Deuteronomy 5:29, NASB) with “‘Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!”?   The heart being the place where human appreciation of God takes root needs a innovative operation if it going to be home to increasing love.  Until then, fearing God and keeping his commandments can best be portrayed by stone tablets and books.  Some things can be taught and recited but other things, such as exceeding love are the exclusive gifts of the God who acts within the relevant context. Ignoring context is akin to ignition without fuel, preaching apart from eyes on the handwriting of the apostolic witness, access to God without covenant, and dare I say, Christians who prefer the crutches of their favourite translation and commentary to the sturdy legs of unchangeable Scripture.

Wasted Xenophobic Years

“All the earth”, “all the people”, and “all the nations” are phrases we find intriguing because they appears as bright lights then disappear like used toilet paper. The legacy of Abraham and logical conclusion of the Solomonic dynasty are a stiff rebuke to all the religious contention, all the political camps, and all. The common pattern in politics, religion and human traits is the years wasted hating outsiders.

United Europe, Kingdom and States

The visionary and courageous George might be wondering over his wandering children, weeping over the blood spilt over (1) the love of money (unpaid servants), (2) the vanity of a pluralism that features two (count them, 2!) political parties and (3) a Christian coalition aimed at silencing the prayers of Jews, Hindus, Muslims and even Christians with whom they disagree.

Xenophobia is the target of the gospel’s truth

Since Christ is himself the truth we must assign to him at least two primary characteristics. The first is that, as truth, he is the one to whom we look for certainty. This shade of meaning comes from the Hebrew root amn, believe, verify, etc. The second characteristic which we must assign to Christ as truth is that he is the one who is in the open, no longer the mystery concealed (from the foundation of the world) because this is the nature of truth. Truth, to be accessed and applied, needs to be in the open It cannot be hidden, as is the case for a lot of the knowledge that exists as attractive among the major religions. There is always something hidden; always something in the secret place. Not so with the way of Christ. He is the truth right out in the open clear and without controversy.

Yet we have a deafening silence over what the Bible calls the truth of the gospel. All the books and digital broadcasts apparently do not know what the gospel’s truth is. They are, I am sure, going to keep calling wolves lambs and the dragon a lamb. Practically, they will keep pretending to have found revolutionary keys to sinless living when in fact they have neither spade nor trowel for discovering the treasures of God’s written messsge.

14) But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? 15) We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles;

Gal. 2:14-15

Today’s gospel ministers are silent over xenophobia because they have not been convinced that Paul and Peter were in the upward way while people like James were still hateful name calling zealots pushing a Jew-Gentile split in the church.

You can joke about it but for the historical record, the United States, the United Kingdom and the exiled province of Judea have wasted respectively in excess of two hundred years, over four hundred years, and seventy years pursuing supremacist, colonial and xenophobic fantasies. Definitely not a joke!