Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)
After relating the Ten Commandments to the next generation of Israelites, Moses proceeded to declare to them the fundamental creed of Israel — six Hebrew words that are collectively known as the Sh’ma. In those few words, the most fundamental and essential of beliefs is proclaimed — the Oneness of God and Israel’s loyalty to Him. It is so essential, in fact, that the Messiah Himself, when asked to name the most important commandment of all, He said, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.'”
Sh’ma שמע is the Hebrew word that means “Hear” emphasizing the need for us to be able to hear with ears that listen and have a heart willing to internalize what is being spoken. That is why, in the previous verse, Moses said, “Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you” (Deuteronomy 6:3). Thus we are encouraged in the strongest of terms to truly embrace this reality — there is only One God; there is none beside Him nor are there any gods that can compare to Him. Because He alone is God, then we should honor Him as such with our whole hearts.
Recall that, in Judaism, the first of the ten commandments, sequentially, is “I am the LORD your God who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” It was not the gods of Egypt or the gods of any other nation who delivered them — the God of Israel redeemed them. So we should not be surprised to learn that, according to the Messiah, the “first” command in regards to importance is, “Hear O Israel; the LORD is One.” When we acknowledge that He is the One and Only God — when we truly hear what He is saying — then we will place Him in our lives where He rightfully belongs — within our hearts. For if He reigns in our hearts, He will reign in our minds and in our bodies.
Blessings and Shalom,