No argument with the substance of your post. Strictly speaking, however, the passage you cited—verses 10 to 14— follows immediately after the Sh'ma (verses 4 to 5, as cited by Jesus in Mark, followed in Jewish religious practice by verses 6 to 9, 11:13-21, and Numbers 15:37-41).He brings that up because I said "Sh'ma" and technically the part I listed was not the Sh'ma.
Fair enough. Why make that mistake? I mean, was it a mistake, or was it my point?
See: the passage I cited was the reason for the Sh'ma. God is saying to Moses here, "Dude, I'm about to take you people into a land which, frankly, has all the comforts of home. But when you get there, you will forget that you didn’t dig the wells, or plant the orchards, or put the roofs over your heads. It's easy to forget God-who-delivers when your tummy is fat and happy."
The exhortation to "love God" comes as a warning in spite of circumstances. We should love God when it doesn’t take a miracle to get water from a rock: we should love Him when we have received the blessing and don’t see our needs quite so clearly.
But then there's the second objection, which is really the original complaint, that if God is telling this to Moses, isn’t this the Law? Isn’t it a standard that we can't live up to, so we only get conviction from it?
Listen: Hosea knew a little bit about love, and God told him to say this --
- For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
God doesn’t want your penance, or your religious work, or your bulls and sheep and rams: God wants your love, dude. And love, it turns out, is not a fruity emotional cocktale – even in that little snippet from John Piper which is getting so many angry eyebrows this week. Setting our affections on God is not the same thing as sending Him a Valentines Card every day. It is also not, as some have intimated, somehow a dismissal of God's sovereignty.
We'll talk about that tomorrow.