I Samuel 12:24 Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things He hath done for you.
Deuteronomy 11:13-14 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil.
Deuteronomy 13:3 you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.
I Kings 13:8 I (the Lord) tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me (the Lord) with all his heart, doing only what was right in my (the Lord) eyes.
Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
“With all your heart,” words said during a swearing in for public office, during a wedding ceremony, a covenant, a promise, a guarantee, a directive from parents, coaches, teachers, mentors. We are told by Samuel the prophet this is what the LORD requires: reverence Him, serve Him, love Him, with all your heart because count all the ways He loves you!
Honestly, counting all the ways God loves us requires focus. I know. I have been on a journey for the past three years to do just this. It began with a book I read desperately looking for joy amid a period of deep grief. The book was a challenge to focus on all the ways God loves me even “When upon life’s billows you are temptest tossed…..and IT WILL SURPRISE you what the Lord has done!”
Doing the exercise of counting (actually writing down and numbering) “all the ways God loves me” even while allowing deep soul wrenching grief to have its way and time has led me down a path I did not expect–an acute awareness of His great provisions and His worthiness to be served. Loved. Honored. Worshipped. With. All. My. Heart. Today, I am less divided. I am more aware. I am more appreciative. I was surprised by grace.
He is indeed worthy of praise. He has “all my heart,” for the first time in nearly half a century of calling myself a Christian.
Now this is the truth if ever I told it!
Oh, you want to know which book? I have mentioned it before and no doubt will again,
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. (I also recommend The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene’ Brown because even our imperfections are gifts from our God!)
Deuteronomy 8:6 Therefore, thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. (KJV)
The “therefore” makes us “look to see what it is there for.” to quote The Preacher. This is a reminder of all that Moses is trying to teach this motley crew of desert wanderers the Lord has chosen to be His Exhibit A to a watching world.
Moses goes on to remind this group of all the Lord has done, provided, directed, and forgiven (i.e., counting His gifts). Then, Deuteronomy 8:11 we read, “Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God…..lest thine heart be lifted up ……” or, “you get too big for your britches,” as my sweet Mamma used to say.
I am so often guilty of “soul amnesia” as Ann Voskamp writes in her blog aholyexperience.com and books. I forget all the Lord has done, is doing, and will do because I am so focused on what I want or think I need right NOW! Maybe it is just me, but somehow I do not think so. The ingratitude boat may be about to sink with all those who accompany me.
Ingratitude got Lucifer cast out of Heaven and got him a name change. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” When we allow our hearts to be “lifted up and forget the Lord,” we no longer “fear the LORD” and we are going down because He does not have all my heart.
Deuteronomy 8:11-20 is a good slow, soul searching read. It is for our benefit!
Today, let’s take inventory. Look inside and see if the Lord does indeed have all my heart or if we are still guilty of a divided heart. A heart divided cannot “fear the Lord” because He is not on the throne of our heart. We worship whoever or whatever is on the throne. This is where our “awe and reverence” lies. (see August 17, 2015 Fear of the LORD)