The concept of wholeheartedness has hit me like a ton of bricks recently. It has been swirling around in my mind for a long time, but over the past couple of weeks God has brought it in front of me over and over again. As I began to study for this lesson, there were more than a few times I was completely blown away; and truly, the entire lesson could be summarized in this one thought:
God wholeheartedly wants our whole heart.
Human hearts astray have grieved God’s heart from the very beginning. As far back as Noah we see how the heart of God was grieved by the heart of mankind:
The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.
Years later, just after Moses gathered the Israelites together to receive the Ten Commandments, God spoke these things as the ultimate cry of His heart:
Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
This is the cry of the heart of God - that man would love Him with their whole heart. In fact, this last command in Deuteronomy 6:5 was repeated by Jesus in the New Testament as THE greatest commandment:
“The most important one [commandment],” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Most of us have heard these verses many times, but there was something new that struck me when I read them recently. Did you notice the little adjective included in these verses?
God doesn’t simply say to love Him with our heart, soul, mind, and strength. He doesn’t say to love Him with some or most of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. He says to love Him with ALL our heart, ALL our soul, ALL our mind, and ALL our strength.
In Scripture, our heart is symbolic of our innermost being, which includes our mind, will, intellect, etc. So if we love God with all our heart, this will encompass all of who we are.
When God decided to take the kingdom of Israel away from it’s first earthly king, Saul, He spoke these words to Saul through the prophet Samuel: