The picture of Yahweh in Deuteronomy 6 shapes the understanding of God’s love and character in the Old Testament in more ways than almost any other passage, except perhaps Exodus 34:6, 7. Here, Yahweh is our God, not some impersonal force far away. He is the God who is close to us, who wants a loving relationship with us. Yahweh longs for our hearts, and this is the main focus of the passage, because true heart change leads naturally to obedience.

When we truly understand the love of God, we will want to think and talk of Him all day long (vv. 5–6). We will not be able to help but involve Him in our every word and action, as well as in our possessions and work. Rather than being a chore, it will be the great desire of our life to bring others into a similar love relationship with God (vv. 7–9).

Yahweh blesses us with so many things we do not deserve (vv. 10, 11). Even when we have the tendency to forget all that He has done for us, He continues to give us material and physical blessings. He also longs to give us spiritual blessings, but so often we are not willing. All these good things are not what we deserve, but God gives to us out of the abundance of His love and grace.

Yahweh loves us so much that He does not want to give us up to anyone else, and He will do whatever it takes to get us back, even if that means allowing difficult and painful circumstances to wake us up and turn us around (vv. 12–15). He has our best in mind, even when we are blinded by sin and cannot see it. And His love is true and deep, not giving up no matter what we do, constantly wooing us back.

Redemption is the basis of our response of gratitude to what Yahweh has done. Our hearts will overflow with thanksgiving when people ask us why we live the way we do (vv. 20–25). Unfortunately, today we too often respond to that question with a legalistic answer, telling people the right things to do, but without the heart relationship that is what God actually wants. Our outward behavior is simply a reflection of what is inside and does not save us in any way. If only Yahweh’s salvation and deliverance could be the focus of our every moment, our witness would be infinitely more powerful and winsome and contagious.