5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Jesus referred to this commandment as “the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). The very first thing we notice here is that the LORD our God asks for our love. The Almighty craves the affection of His people. His heart rejoices to see that all whom He has redeemed would love Him. The LORD regards Himself glorified when His people love Him wholeheartedly.
He commands their love because He loves them and presents Himself to each one of them as “the LORD thy God”. The LORD has revealed Himself as the only true God, thus delivering His people from the deception of their own hearts and false religions. It is after the proclamation, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD”, that He commanded that His people love Him. His people must love Him because He has proffered Himself as the true God to them. On their own, they would never have found Him to be the true God. It is His peculiar love for them which made Him declare unto them that the LORD is God, and there is none other.
Oh, how we ought to love our God for He has made Himself known to us and has also reconciled us to Himself through the offer of His Son for the forgiveness of our sins. We have Him now as our God for He has covenanted Himself to us by the blood of His Son. He is no more unknown to us; neither are we alienated from Him. He has given Himself to us that we may enjoy Him forever. His perfections, His power, His providence, His grace, and all His wondrous virtues are for us to delight in. “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
The LORD also instructed His people as to how they ought to love Him. He said that they ought to love Him “with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” He who loves God with all his heart, loves Him above all else. Such a man is ready to give up or suffer anything to please and glorify his God. He is totally dedicated to the LORD with an undivided heart. He who loves God with all his soul and with all his life is ready to give up even his life. He would rather endure his sufferings and accept death than dishonour his God. He who loves God with all his strength exerts all the powers of his body and soul in the service of God. Total submission to God’s glory is the mark of one’s love for God.