"Oh that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever" (Deut. 5: 29).
In Deuteronomy 5, Moses reminded Israel of their initial attitude to be faithful when they were given God's Law at Mt. Sinai (vss. 15-27). Though they started well, their subsequent actions revealed they had wicked hearts. Then in vs. 29 we see what God requires of His people, and how faithful service is propagated to future generations.
The "heart" spoken of in the passage isn't man's physical blood pump,
but describes the core of his very being -- the inward man comprised of will,
intellect and emotion. One's heart, therefore, defines who his is: "For
as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Prov. 23:7). Consider the verse
and understand that "such a heart" as pleases Him will accomplish four things in our lives.
1. Reverence: -- "they would fear Me." A.W. Tozer said, "what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us." It's true. Reverent hearts are born out of a spirit of humility because of one's own weakness and sin: "The fear of Jehovah is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor goeth humility" (Prov. 15:33). Therefore, such a heart will acknowledge God's majesty and power, offering service "with reverence and awe" (Heb. 12:28). It will be receptive to divine guidance; "the foolish despise wisdom and instruction" (Prov. 1:7). It will, as a result, depart from evil (Prov. 16:6). Do you have a reverent heart?
2. Obedience: -- "Keep all My commandments." God has always placed a great premium on man's obedience. Those who are saved by Jesus' blood, to whom He become the "Author of eternal salvation," are those who "obey Him" (Heb. 5:8, 9). Likewise, the apostle Peter affirms God's pleasure and blessings are upon the "children of obedience" -- "ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth" (1 Pet. 1: 22). Paul gave thanks for Roman Christians who were "obedient from the heart to the form of doctrine whereunto ye were delivered" (Rom. 6:17). Such a heart that obeys is the recipient of God's blessings. To the contrary, God's eternal vengeance will be toward "those who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thes. 1:8). Paul made no distinction between those identified as "children of wrath" with they who are "sons of disobedience" (Eph. 4:2,3). They are the same. Do you have an obedient heart?
3. Steadfastness: -- "Always." Such a heart to please God knows that more is involved than just a good start in the Christian race -- we must "run with patience...looking unto Jesus" (Heb. 12:1,2). This necessitates heeding the admonition to "not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Gal. 6:9). Such a heart will be diligent to take advantage of every opportunity to do good (vs. 10), always praying (Lk. 18:1), "handling aright the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15), and in every divinely ascribed way exercising oneself unto godliness (2 Tim. 4:7,8). Such devotion in the midst of trials will serve to prove the genuiness of our faith and render greater spiritual strength in the days ahead (Jas. 1:2-4; 1 Pet. 1:5-7). One is never justified in casting away his boldness in faithful duty, even if it requires his life (Heb. 10:35-39; Rev. 2:10). Do you have a steadfast heart?
4. Teaching: -- "That it might be well...with their children forever." Such a heart will feel obligtion in service toward others understanding that pure and undefiled religion demands it (Jas. 1:27). While this service may involve temporal assistance, its greatest obligation will be spiritual in nature. All have sinned (Rom. 3:23), and sin separates one from God (Rom. 6:23; Isa. 59:1,2). With that understanding, one's greatest obligation to mankind will be to teach them of Christ and His Way so they might be saved (Rom. 1:16). Our scope of service will involve all we have opportunity to help (Gal. 6:10), but one has no greater duty than toward his family. Contrary to popular belief, the greatest thing I can leave my kids is not my money, but my faith! Ancient Israel was instructed to faithfully teach their children (Deut. 6:4-9), so are New Testament Christians (Eph. 6:4). It is impossible, however, if you have not first given your own heart to God. And understand this one thing: you cannot fake it. Do you have a teaching heart?
Like Joshua of old, our rally cry will be, "as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah." The spirituality of your children and grandchildren may very well depend on whether you have such a heart to serve God with reverence, obedience, and steadfastness -- and to teach them to embrace the same.
By Dan Richardson in Biblical Insights, Vol. 6, No. 8, Aug. 2006.
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