What Does It Mean To “Love God”?

The first reference in the Bible that teaches us to love God (Yahweh) is found in Exodus 20:4-6 where Yahweh is giving Israel the “Ten Commandments”.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I Yahweh thy Elohim (God) am a jealous El, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

The use of the word “and” in the phrase, “and keep my commandments” can be interpreted as meaning keeping His commandments is a separate thing from “loving me”. Indeed, that is how many understand these words. Therefore, let’s look for a clearer passage that teaches us what it truly means to “love Yahweh”.

For this is the love of Elohim, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3 

Dear reader, it doesn’t get any clearer than that. To love Elohim (Yahweh, God) is to keep His commandments. Another verse teaching us the same thing is found in 2 John 1:6:

And this is love, that we walk after His commandments. This is the commandment, That, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

Two witnesses, two clear didactic verses, teach us this great truth; If you love Yahweh, you will show it by keeping His commandments. To love Yahweh is to keep His commandments. Therefore, our first reference in Exodus 20:6 does not show “loving Yahweh” and “keeping His commandments” as being mutually exclusive things. They are, in fact, one. We cannot love Yahweh without keeping His commandments.

And you shall love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5 

These words take on a whole new meaning when we understand what it means to truly “love Yahweh”. It means to keep His commandments with all our heart, soul and mind. For that is how we show our love for Him. In fact, that is how we show our love for His Son Yeshua (Jesus) as well. Yeshua said;

 If you love me, keep my commandments. John 14:15

The following words were also spoken by Yeshua, but they apply to the Father as well.

He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. . . . Yeshua answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

He that loves me not keeps not my sayings: and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. John 14:21,23-24 

If you love Yahweh and Yeshua, then keep their commandments and obey their words.

Some may say, “But didn’t the Apostle Paul teach the law is abolished”? Absolutely not!

Do we then make void the law through faith? Elohim forbid: yea, we establish the law. Romans 3:31 

To “establish” the law is to make it stand firm. It does not mean destroy it. If we destroy the law, we destroy the very thing that tells us when we are walking contrary to Yahweh’s will (sinning).

“for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20b

No law = no knowledge of sin. No law against idolatry means it is not a sin to commit idolatry. No law against dishonoring parents means it is not a sin to dishonor one’s parents. However, we all know these behaviors are sin. Why? Because these laws still stand firm for all believers who live by faith. The same holds true for all Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath of the 4th commandment.

If we do away with Yahweh’s commandments, statutes and laws, we will unlawfully break these laws thinking we are free to do so. That causes us to not only sin (for sin is the transgression of the law – 1 John 3:4), but to demonstrate that we do not love Yahweh. “For this is the love of Elohim, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3.

When we obey Yahweh’s commandments, we not only show our love for him, but our love for our neighbors and fellow believers as well.

By this we know that we love the children of Elohim, when we love Elohim and observe His commandments. 1 John 5:2 

If we steal from our neighbor, we show our lack of love for him (and Yahweh). If we make our neighbor work for us on the Holy Sabbath Day, we proclaim our lack of love for him (and Yahweh).

But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of Elohim abide in him? 1 John 3:17 

If a man say, I love Elohim, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love Elohim whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loves Elohim love his brother also. 1 John 4:20-21

If we have a love for Yahweh made evident by keeping His commandments, we will love our brother as well. We show our hate for our brother by breaking Yahweh’s commandments concerning how we are to relate with our neighbors. For example, the last six of the Ten Commandments teach us how to relate to our neighbors. We should not dishonor our parents, murder, commit adultery with, steal from, bear false witness against, or covet the things of our neighbors.

This kind of love does not originate within ourselves, but is the direct result of Yahweh’s love for us and is shed abroad in our hearts when we receive His indwelling Holy Spirit.

We love him, because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19 

And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of Elohim is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us. Romans 5:5 

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of Elohim; and every one that loves is born of Elohim, and knows Elohim. He that loves not knows not Elohim; for Elohim is love. 1 John 4:7-8

The love that Yahweh puts in the heart of believers is perfected by obeying His Word and keeping His laws.

but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of Elohim has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 1 John 2:5 

Beloved, if Elohim so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man has seen Elohim at any time. If we love one another, Elohim dwells in us, and His love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:11-12

In conclusion, to truly love Yahweh, one must obey Yahweh. If we choose to disobey, we show our hate for Yahweh and our rebellion against His rule over our lives. If you do not yet know Yahweh through receiving His Son Yeshua as your Savior and thereby having His love shed abroad in your heart,  I encourage you to do so now. If you have already received Yeshua (Jesus) as your Savior, then I encourage you to have Yahweh’s love perfected in your heart by obeying His Word and keeping His commandments.

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