“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:” – Deuteronomy 6:4 KJV
The Shema (“Hear, O Israel…”) is the claim of Yahweh over and against the competing claims of the many other gods in the polytheistic environment of the day. It is a declaration and appeal for God’s people to live in loyalty to Him. More than simply “ethical monotheism”, this statement is also an attack on heathen religious polytheism. The Shema has direct and crucial implications: Primarily, it is a call for the Israelites to live their lives under the Lordship of one God and not under the tyranny of many “gods”. In other words, it is a practical call not to live one’s life as if there were a different god for every sphere of life—a god of the field, a god of the river, a god of fertility, a god of the sun and so forth.
Judaism loudly proclaims that there is only one God and he is Lord of every aspect of life. Again, it is here that the concrete and practical nature of Hebraic thinking comes to the forefront. Polytheists tend to compartmentalize life and distribute its many parts among various “lords”. Monotheists (really biblical Christ-Followers) have one reference point. This is the biblical mode of thinking—concrete and practical, as opposed to theoretical and speculative. The implications for those of us who identify with Christ are far reaching. Not merely theologically, but practically, as we consider how to reach a world that is fast becoming entirely secular.
I believe it is essential for us to re-calibrate our understanding of what it means to be a Christ-Follower, and what it means to be a disciple and to make disciples.
I will be teaching the strong biblical emphasis regarding how we, as Christ-Followers, need to integrate our “kingdom faith” into the very fabric of our lives and culture. Surprisingly, this may look more Hebraic than most of us would ever imagine!
Sunday November 20th we will conclude our Life Together gatherings for the year. If you are interested in attending another Life Together in the winter months please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org