When we think of the Greatest commandment we jump directly to A PART of what Jesus said when He summarized the commandments. We quote first "Love the Lord...then love your neighbor...then sometimes we add to the Bible to love ourselves. Sadly, emphasis on loving our neighbor and loving ourselves are prevalent these days while neglecting the greatest and number one commandment which is to Love the Lord above all else. To understand more we will dig deep into these commandments which was emphasized in both Old and New Testaments.
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
Mark 12:29-30 KJV
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 KJV
I. The LORD is ONE
This is the central affirmation of Deuteronomy that there’s only one God and his name is Yahweh. Yahweh is not some collection of tribal gods. The Canaanites had their Baal and Ashera. The Egyptians had their Ra and so many others. But for the children of Israel, for the people of God, there is only one who is God and his name is Yahweh, his name is the Lord.
A. Confession of faith (Shema)
There is a difference with just hearing and listening. One is passive another is active. The Shema is a call not just to hear, It's a call to listen, pay attention, and respond with action to what is heard.
B. Abolition of Polytheism
Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
Deuteronomy 4:15-16 KJV
The Idols in biblical times where made of wood and stone. Nowadays it can still be made of wood (house) or stone (buildings), paper (money) or flesh (ourselves/relationships). Anything that we lift up and value has a possibility to be our idols. We may say the YHWH/Jesus is our God but we might have a pantheon of smaller gods that we still cherish and that is still idolatry.
II. The LORD deserves our all
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
John 14:15 KJV
The entire Bible is unanimous that what God wants is my heart. And then out of a heart of love to him pours forth obedience to his will. Both sides are necessary
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
James 2:17 KJV