“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is the only God. Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be written in your heart.” Deuteronomy 6:4-6.
As the Hebrews neared the end of their 40-year wandering in the desert, Moses began to give them his final words of instruction and wisdom. He was nearing the end of his life, and he would not be able to enter the Promised Land with the Israelites. Moses has led the children of Israel from Egypt and through the entire 40 years in the desert, and now he wanted to make sure the Israelites remembered the lessons God taught them, and the Law God gave them.
Moses was 120 years old when he spoke these words. The entire book of Deuteronomy, which is the last of the books written by Moses, is Moses’ farewell speech to the Israelites. He encouraged them to seek God in everything they do and to always cling to Him and His Law. The Israelites were to always remember that they were different from every other group of people in the world. God chose them to be His people, and they must live lives that reflected that. The children of God must stand out from everyone else, and they must be God’s representatives on Earth.
Moses implored the Hebrews to love God with all their heart, soul, and strength–we must do the same. Loving God isn’t just a spiritual thing, it is also emotional and physical. All human relationships have certain degrees of these aspects, but our relationship with God is to get our best attention. We are to love God more than we love our friends or family. We are to love Him with every bit of emotion we have, with every ounce of physical strength we have, and with all the soul we have. He is to be the recipient of our best love.
What does it mean to “write these words in your heat?” Second only to our brains, our hearts are our most important organ. A person can live without a lung or kidney, but a person cannot live without a heart. In ancient texts, such as Scripture, the word ‘heart’ doesn’t so much mean the literal organ, rather the center of our desires and passion; the the very core of our souls. Moses tells the Hebrews that the words–the teachings and Law– that God gave to them should be written in the very core of their souls. They were to make God their central desire and passion. Seeking Him was to be their main focus.
We must do the very same. We will not be able to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength unless we take His words and write them in our hearts. It is only by doing this–writing His words in our hearts–that we are able to overcome our own desires and temptations. When we put God’s word in the very core of our souls, we will not be concerned about anything else. No longer will we have a desire to seek after sin or the things of this world; instead, we will seek after God and the things of His kingdom. This does not mean we will be perfect, nor does it mean we will never fall into sin. We are human and we are imperfect; we slip into sin. But God, in His infinite love, grace, and mercy sent Christ to pay the price for our sins. Because of Christ, we are forgiven of all our sins–past, present, and future. Christ cleanses us, our hearts, and our souls, and He makes it possible for us to write God’s words in our hearts, in the core of our souls. Take these words to heart. Love God with everything you have.