Tag Archives: New Heart

A deceived heart

“Take care lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them” (Deuteronomy 11:16 ESV).

The warning to guard their heart comes back up again (see 8:11-17).  It seems that abundance has a way of drawing the heart away from the Almighty.  In this situation, it is likely that the Israelites would attribute the bountifulness of the land to the Canaanite’s fertility god.  Allowing their heart’s affections to be pulled off of their God and placed upon another will enrage God, Who has been so long suffering & gracious toward a persistently rebellious people.  We aren’t much different today.

The risk of abundance & affluence has always been a danger to authentic faith; the heart looses its wonder with the provisions of God.  It begins to attribute the abundant blessings to something else like hard work, intelligence, education, savvy, etc.  When this happens the heart’s affections are pulled off of God and placed upon something else – something else becomes the object of our worship.  How do we battle this?  We go to the Scriptures to see God and We beg God to show us His sovereign majesty.  We ask Him to imprint our souls with His goodness & faithfulness.  We seek to understand, at a deep heart level, that we are totally undeserving of the unearned affection of the Creator of the universe because our hearts are prone to want His good gifts far more than we want Him.  When we begin to understand and embrace these truths, our hearts will marvel at His goodness & grace towards us.

The outward expression of an inward reality

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:5–9 ESV)

The laws, statues & commandments of Deuteronomy 6-11 should be viewed as the outward expression of the ultimate command:  to love God with all of your heart, soul & strength.  Obedience to the commands demonstrated that the people loved God.  The law was not given to save.  In the same way, we should strive to obey out of love rather than duty or obligation.  Jesus said the same thing – if you love me, you will obey what I command (John 14:15).  This is not a way of earning Jesus’ blessing – this is an increasingly natural outflow of a heart that has a growing love for God.  “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”” (John 14:21 ESV)

Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 in Matthew 22:37-38, Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27 and summarizes it by saying that to love God is the great and first commandment (Matthew 22:38).  The thought is completed by indicating that this is not some cognitive, head knowledge, but is to penetrate all the way to the heart.  We are to love God with every fiber of our being – all of our obedience was designed to flow out of a heart that loves God.  The work is to love God and the scripture addresses this from different angles – abide in Christ (John 15), our work is one of belief (John 6:29), as we behold Him we become more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18).  These are ways in which we grow in our love for God.  Loving God is not produced by our hard fought, white knuckled discipline – it is a Spirit wrought, utterly dependent, monergistic endeavor that glorifies God because we can’t produce it on our own.  Loving God involves our begging Him to produce in us that which we can not produce on our own.

God’s requirement for a heart that fully loves Him is seen throughout Deuteronomy as it is looking forward to a day when God will write His laws on the hearts of His people and they will worship Him with their new hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:25-27, Romans 2:25-29, 8:14; Galatians 5:16, 18, 25; Colossians 2:11; Hebrews 7:18-19, 8:8-12, 9:9, 14 (purify our conscience), 10:1, 15-18, 10:22 (draw near with a true heart); Deuteronomy 6:5, 10:16, 29:4, 30:6-8).  Jesus fulfills this promise as He makes our dead hearts alive to God – He regenerates us.  We are not only to have these commands on our own hearts, but are to teach our children and those around us the same thing.  This is the foundation of discipleship.  Many of the Jews did this externally, but missed it internally.  How often do we pass down a code of moral conduct to our children that is void of a passionate love for God?  The thing(s) that we love, we talk about.  What do you love, really?

Are you obeying well enough to be accepted?

“And I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses.” (Nehemiah 1:5–7 ESV)

The Israelites current situation (verse 7) was due to their disobedience to the covenant relationship that God had established with them.  The Mosaic Covenant was given at Mount Sinai to the Israelites (Exodus 19:4-6) and it said that if they would obey then God would bless them.  The Old Testament chronicles a people who consistently failed to obey God’s commands because they had defective hearts (their hearts were stained with sin and lacked the ability to fully obey).  A major hope for the Israelites was the day when God would give them new hearts – hearts upon which His laws would be written (Deuteronomy 6:5, 10:16, 29:4, 30:6; Jeremiah 31:31–34; Ezekiel 36:26–27).

But, we are no longer under this covenant (Rom. 6:14–15; 7:1–6; 2 Cor. 3:4–18; Galatians 3:15–4:7).  He has written His laws on our hearts (Romans 2:25-29, 8:14; Galatians 5:16, 18, 25; Colosians 2:11; Hebrews 7:18-19, 8:8-12, 9:9, 14, 10:1, 15-18, 10:22).  We do not live under performance based righteousness; we do not earn additional favor from God when we obey.  Jesus fulfilled the law perfectly so God’s blessing toward us is based solely on the finished work of Jesus Christ – not on our performance or obedience to the law.  The old covenant said, “If you obey then I will love and bless you”; the new covenant says, “you are loved and blessed because of the sacrifice of Jesus – now obey”.  One attempts to earn favor with God, the other is a reflection that we already have God’s favor.