Isn’t it amazing how something you have heard and read many times can all of a sudden just jump out at you or create a whole new meaning in your mind? This is what happened to me last night.
In our Bible study, we referenced Deuteronomy 6, from which Jesus quoted what He said is the greatest commandment. Most of us have heard this verse before, maybe even in a song by Lincoln Brewster: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” This is a powerful statement, and from it we get that the greatest thing we can do is to love God. Pretty awesome.
But what got me thinking last night was the phrase preceding this commandment. The phrase is in Deuteronomy 6:4, which says, “Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (emphasis mine) This simple statement conveys multiple meanings, and they are incredible!
The first one that sticks out to me is the number used to describe the Lord: one. To me, this simple phrase speaks to God’s sole authority. There are no other gods that have dominion and power the way our God does. Allah or Krishna or Baal (which by the way if you pronounce the way we do in western culture it sounds like “bail,” which is pretty funny and somewhat descriptive of this god) cannot do the things that the God of Israel can. The Lord is THE one, which is why Jesus doesn’t say, “I am A way, I am A truth…” but instead says, “I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life.” There is one God, and we believe in His authority.
The other piece to this speaks to God’s perfect unity. Christians are well aware that the Bible speaks to three distinct parts to God’s nature: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. However, a phrase like this speaks to the harmony that exists between these entities. The verb in this phrase is singular: “is”. The word “one” in this sentence is called in parts of speech a “predicate nominative,” which means that it is a noun that refers to the subject of the sentence in a different way (i.e. if you say, “she is my mom,” the words “she” and “mom” refer to the same person). This means that God, being three parts, is also a singular being. This simple phrase also references how these three pieces of the picture work together to make up the one God. That is why there are not three authorities; they are all unified with the same authority.
Man it’s amazing what God can say with just four words. It’s interesting that a lot of times we gloss over these verses as filler verses getting us from one memory verse to the next. It’s becoming increasingly evident to me that as the inspired Word of God, the Bible doesn’t contain words or phrases that aren’t important for us to understand. I thank Him this morning for giving me a reinforcement of His nature, and I hope that the rest of you, like me, will continue to look for these hidden (but not really) gems in the Scriptures.