The Foremost Command

Deuteronomy 6:4 – “Shema Yisra’el, Yahweh Eloheynu, Yahweh echad!
“Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, is one” is how this verse is traditionally translated.  The words translated “the LORD” in Hebrew, however, are actually the proper name of God, i.e. Yahweh.  It is Yahweh who is our God, who is one.

Shema [שָׁמַע H8085]; to hear, to listen to, to obey or yield to, to perceive by hearing, to pay attention to.

I wonder, do people still place this admonition to listen, first or foremost?  Or do they get the cart before the horse and erroneously think that to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind comes first?  Let’s dig deeper and see which command actually comes first:

Older Covenant
Moshe begins by teaching the Hebrews the commandments, statutes, and judgments that Yahweh has given him.  And these teachings were to be accomplished in the land to which he was leading them.  First, and foremost, was the admonition to listen (shema), to be careful to do so!

Newer Covenant
Mark 12:29  – “The foremost command is, ‘Shema Yisra’el, Yahweh Eloheynu, Yahweh echad’.”

Both Matthew 22:35-40 and Mark 12:28-34 record a conversation between Yeshua and one of the scribes in which the scribe asks Yeshua, “Which commandment is the foremost of all?”   The Mark passage is the more descriptive  account, giving Yeshua’s full response.

Note that Yeshua begins his response with the Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4! Yeshua, like Moshe, begins by saying, “the foremost command is to listen!”  And if one listens, hears, pays attention to, and obeys, then the result will be that “you shall love the lord your god with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

If you want to fulfill the requirements of the first and foremost commandment, then: Shut up and listen!  I repeat, “shut up and listen”!  In order to learn who Yahweh is, one has to close the mouth and open the eyes and ears! Both Older and Newer Covenant scriptures agree.

If one is yakking away, one is not listening, and listening is essential to hearing Yahweh’s voice.  I wonder, do people still place this admonition first?  Apparently not! People still tend to rush around, disregarding Yahweh’s command to “Shema”, to stop, be quiet, and listen.  This is step one.  Before one can do great things for Yahweh, one has to listen to hear what it is he wants one to do!  Only then can one truly love him and love others.

Final Thought
Prophecy continues to unfold as foretold by the Hebrew Prophets.  Today we are one day closer to the return of Yeshua than we were yesterday and tomorrow we will be even one day closer.  For almost two thousand years the Jews would proclaim “Next year in Jerusalem!”  I now proclaim “Next Yom Teruah in the clouds!”  Time is short – Yeshua Ha’Mashiach is coming soon – get busy reaching the lost.