Shema Yisrael, or " Hear, O Israel,
" Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God,the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your strength."
Deuteronomy 6 : 4-5
I was Sitting in Church this past Sunday, next to a friend from Summer staff who made the journey from LA all the way across the country to little ole Greenville SC, I couldn't have been more content in that moment. The sermon that morning was being preached by a pastor that i was not used to, and honestly I was a little disappointed it was not the "usual pastor," because I wanted Lauren to get the "full effect" of my church and experience a great message, but who am I am to sit and think that God can not speak equally deep through one just as he does another? Silly of me, because hear I am almost a week later and the message will not leave my head. Lauren has come and gone, and yes, she enjoyed the message probably as much as I, which is impressive considering Francis Chan is her local pastor. ( pretty neat.) He spoke out of Deuteronomy chapter 6, and began by asking us what does it mean to know God vs. know about God? He goes on to make a few points, including, ( where do I get my vision of God, created by me? or discovered by me? aka is my vision of God a free spirit like me, a straight edge judging God, a God who doesn't care, and so on, and really challenges us to not make our vision of God out to be similar to us in Personality or something he is not, but to really discover who HE is. pretty cool, if you take the time to think about your own perception of God.
The one thing that really stuck out to me though was this word. "Shema," and it means to listen or hear in Hebrew. I wanted to look more into this and see what it meant maybe in the Hebrew context, and ah, yes, it has a little deeper meaning in Hebrew, Shema doesn't only mean, " hey guys, listen to me, or heeyyyy can you HEAR me?"
"The possible usages are: “hear,” “listen to,” “heed,” “hear=understand,” “be heard,” and “be(come) obedient." It can also mean “hear with attention, interest, listen to.” Any proper handling of the Shema must be demonstrated by the willingness of the listener to respond to the
words of the Lord. He tells us how He wants us to respond to Him in Deuteronomy 6:4-9: "
God is speaking to Israel, and he isn't just saying hey listen up, he isn't just trying to grab their attention, a lot of times I think that God is just trying to get my attention for a short second to get me back to where I need to be and make sure I am not " forgetting" him, but really he is asking much much more of me. Isn't that what I wanted/want??, when I made this binding commitment to follow Christ to wherever he lead me, and die to myself daily just so I could be filled with more of him, did I really think that would come with minimal expectations??
HE is asking me to understand him, to BECOME obedient, to heed his words with attention and interest, and he is asking for my willingness to respond to the incredible mission he has called me on. Deuteronomy 6 goes on to tell, that he wants me to love him with all of my heart, all of my soul and all of my strength, his commandments are to be on my heart everywhere I go, not just kept inside but he says to talk about them, think about them when I lie down, and wake up. Some may become overwhelmed with the thought of constantly thinking about the commandments of God, but I think God means more than just memorize and repeat, if the words " to hear" have a deeper meaning, then I can only imagine what he means when he says all this. I want to be more and more filled.. I want to LISTEN, I was just discussing this with a friend last night, and affirming her gift to LISTEN to others, and how beautiful that is, and that most of the time, speaking is not what God calls us to, but it is to listen and wait patiently. I want to learn to listen so I can actually discern what is of God and what is not, so I can hear where his spirit is leading me, and just hear his response, because he DESIRES for us to HEAR him and understand him, He says that plain as day right in his word. So, for the week, that is my prayer, I would like to become a better listener, I want to be a little more still, and take things in, enjoy what is going on around me, enjoy my community, and all the joy that it brings. I want to become quiet and maybe a little more reserved, not necessarily in my personality, but just in my spirit. Probably doesn't all make since, but we will see. So this first blog was a little deep, but just thought I would share what was on my mind.
" Oh give me Samuel's ear, Oh Lord, an open ear, alive and quick to hear each whisper of your word, like him to answer at your call, and to obey thee first of all."
- A Prayer from David