“‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!’” (Deuteronomy 6:4).
When God freed Israel to take her to the promised land, He said: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex. 20:3). Later Moses told the Israelites, “The Lord, He is God; there is no other besides Him” (Deut. 4:35) and “The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!” (6:4). Israel was to believe in the one and only God.
But Jesus claimed to be God. Is He God number two? Not at all. In Mark 12:29-30, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:4-5: “‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’” If Jesus were another God He might have said, “Split your allegiance between the two of us.” But Jesus says we are to love God with undivided commitment. Therefore He agrees with Moses that there is only one God. However, He also says, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
Paul also discusses the unity of God in 1 Corinthians 8. The pagan priests in Corinth would often sell the meat that had been sacrificed to idols. Some new Christians were offended when other Christians ate that meat. In response, Paul told them, “Concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world” (v. 4). Since an idol represented a nonexistent god, there was nothing wrong with eating the food. He continued, “There is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (vv. 4-6). How can all things be from God the Father, for whom we exist, and by the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we exist? Because they are one.
Suggestions for Prayer
Praise God as David did: “For this reason Thou art great, O Lord God; for there is none like Thee, and there is no God besides Thee” (2 Sam. 7:22).
For Further Study
Read Ezekiel 6.
• What was God’s response to Israel’s idolatry?
• How does God feel about anything that might take first place in your heart instead of Him?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187