Key Verse: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord’” Mark 12:29b.
What’s the most important thing God wants us to do? That’s the question posed to Jesus in Mark 12. Without hesitation, Jesus zeroed in on Deuteronomy 6:4-5. While the heart of the Greatest Commandment is about loving God, let’s not skip over the Lord’s instructions to listen to what He’s about to say. Listening is obviously important. Jesus repeats, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” fifteen times in the New Testament. So before we go further into the Greatest Commandment, I need to ask, “Are you listening?”
There’s a lot of noise in the world competing for our attention. Most of it is just clamor, promising us some kind of fulfillment or satisfaction. If we truly desire to follow Christ, then we have to choose to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Despite what any other voice says, Jesus Christ is the only one Who can provide what our hearts, souls, minds, and bodies crave.
That’s why the next part of the command tells us, “The Lord our God is one Lord.” Of all the world religions, the God of the Bible is unique. He alone is Lord over creation and He alone desires to have a relationship with us based on mutual love. Do your current circumstances cause you to doubt that God is paying attention or that He loves you? The Bible says that God knows the number of hairs on your head and every tear you shed. He is very aware of your situation. The question is, are you aware of His presence in the midst of your circumstances? Are you listening for His voice?
God speaks to us primarily through Scripture. While biblical preaching and teaching are extremely important, be careful not to neglect spending time alone reading God’s Word. The Holy Spirit will teach you deep truths and guide you into God’s will. The Lord also speaks through our circumstances and through the Holy Spirit, but He never contradicts the Bible, which is how we know it’s God speaking.
Listening and loving are two sides of the same coin. If we’re going to love God with all that we are and love others as we love ourselves, then we’ve got to pay attention to what the One true God says. He can be heard by anyone listening for Him to speak. Are you listening today?