Greatest Commandment

Greatest Commandment

Here in Mark 12:28-30, one of the scribes apprehended the wisdom and knowledge of Jesus. He then seized the opportunity to ask one of the greatest questions facing mankind: What is the greatest commandment of God for ME? Without hesitation, Jesus responded by quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5: “ 4 " Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

Whatever you do in life, the most important thing is to love God. For most of us, life gets in the way! We are busy, too busy. Like Martha in Luke 10:40-42, we are bothered by things of lesser importance that keep us from the ultimate life: loving God.

This love was qualified: it is to be with ALL our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Every aspect of your being. All parts of your life. Every fiber of your being. It permeates your thoughts, your dreams, your goals, your actions, your relationships.

The nature of such love involves many different qualities of our being. These include an affection for Him, a desire to be with Him, consideration of Him, and a constant thinking about Him.  

Such love of God is to also love WHAT/WHO God Loves. John writes: “20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also” (1 John 4:20-21).

AND the reciprocal aspect, learning to HATE what God hates. The Psalmist declares: “1 Do I not hate those who hate Thee, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against Thee? 22 I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies” (Psalms 139:21-22). (Notice this hatred in the Psalmist: Psa. 26:5; 31:6; 97:10; 101:3; 119:104, 113, 128, 163 – printed below)

We are to love God ABOVE all else – including self and life. “26 " If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26-27).

Love necessitates knowledge: we must know WHO He is, What HE does and what He has done. The more we know and comprehend about God, the more we are drawn to Him. The greater our knowledge, the greater our desire for Him.

This should cause us to read to learn ABOUT God. A great deal of our reading and study is about US, what we should or should not do/think/be. While no one can successfully deny or downplay such response from us, the response itself is to be based upon our Love OF HIM.

Such love ‘constrains us’: “14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). It changes both our mindset AND our actions.

In response to Jesus’ declaration: do you love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength?  

Hugh DeLong

Psalmist passages on hating what God hates:

Psalms 26:5 5 I hate the assembly of evildoers, And I will not sit with the wicked.

Psalms 31:6 6 I hate those who regard vain idols; But I trust in the Lord.

Psalms 97:10 10 Hate evil, you who love the Lord, Who preserves the souls of His godly ones; He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

Psalms 101:3 3 I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me.

Psalms 119:104 104 From Thy precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.

Psalms 119:113 113 I hate those who are double-minded, But I love Thy law.

Psalms 119:128 128 Therefore I esteem right all Thy precepts concerning everything, I hate every false way.

Psalms 119:163 163 I hate and despise falsehood, But I love Thy law.