O that there were such an 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!
- Deuteronomy 5:29
Here we see a cry from God that lasted all through the Bible. In every generation, He calls people to higher ground, above the base filth and grime and unspiritual nature of day-to-day life, to a plane that would respect his Word and keep it through love and desire that He might look after them, that we might be His children.
In Matthew 13:1-23, Jesus speaks of four types of hearts. It's called the Parable of the Sower. So desirous is our Lord to see us in the Kingdom; he outlines some spiritual psychology, showing us by our reactions to His Word when it is preached, precisely what type of a heart we have and what we can do about it.
Our scripture shows us way back in Moses' times, just before crossing over the Jordan River, God crying to the Israelites, indicating what type of heart He seeks.
I think it's healthy when the Lord makes challenging statements like this. Not one of us escapes. We can all do better, whether in understanding and knowledge, love, joy and peace, or longsuffering and self-control. We're all on a journey and have a long way to go.
We invite trouble when we sit and say, "I'm good enough as I am".
Within that phrase, God finds the pride and false contentment to create our verse above. We must not forget we have enemies within our own life. Enemies like procrastination that prevent us from reaching our spiritual goals. When we stop seeking God, our heart is not right. We have lost more than motivation; we have lost care. Our living Saviour is not all we think He is in our lives. Our heart is not yearning for God as it once was. We are on slippery ground, falling away to a lesser soil, a harder heart where only a little bit of God's Word penetrates. Instead of His Word pouring in, it trickles. Which means we hear or read the Word, but very little enters our heart and changes us.
God seeks hearts in us that love His commandments so much we cannot do without them. That cannot bear to be without Him for a minute. Where our passion is toward obedience through desire. Where we seek more of Him and less of ourselves until Jesus Christ utterly consumes us.
In the times of Deuteronomy, some followers had the hearts God sought, but His cry went out to the multitude, as it does to believers today. He wants every one of us to make an excellent finish, not just a few. We don't understand the joy set before us or those things God has in store for us when we love Him with all our hearts.
God is a beautiful Father who seeks the best for us. Praise Him for eternally reminding us of not only our failings but the prize set before us when we strive all that harder—when we sing "I surrender all" and mean it. Praise Him for His gentleness in drawing us forward and upward to the spiritual realm where we give up all for Jesus Christ.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your love and mercy. I am ever in your debt and seek your presence.
Photo by Timothy Eberly