Deuteronomy - Wholeheartedness

Background

The book of Deuteronomy consists of three sermons that Moses preached to the Jews just when they were about to enter the promised land.

Theme

The key phrase of this book is 'with all your heart and with all your soul'. This phrase is used a total of nine times in this book and teaches us how we should respond towards God. God is the number one being in the universe. He accepts no less than our all. He hates any kind of lukewarm and half-hearted response from man.

How are we to show our best to God?
Love the Lord with all your heart

Deu 6:5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

Mat 22:37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

OT example : Daniel was so faithful to God that he was willing to sacrifice his life and still not worship anything other than his God. (Daniel 6:6-10)

By not having other gods beside Him.

Deu 13:2 and if the sign or wonder of which he (ie the false prophet) has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," 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.

Exodus 34:14 (NIV) Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

A god or idol is anything we place as more important than God. Some people put their career, others put their family and hobbies before God. These are all gods because they take a more prominent position in your life.

By obeying His commandments.

Sin grieves God and if we continue in sin, knowing that it grieves God, how can we say that we love Him?

John 14:15 (NIV) "If you love me, you will obey what I command.

If we love God, we will also love others.

1 John 4:20 If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

John 21:16 Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."

Seek the Lord with all your heart

Deu 4:29 But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.

How do we seek God with all our hearts?

By giving to God the best time of our day for quiet time

Very often, we come to God in prayer only after we have finished everything else we want to do. This is certainly not seeking God with all our hearts.

By giving to God undivided attention when we seek Him.

Sometimes, when we seek God, we are also busy with other things. We may be thinking about our work at the office or watching TV at the same time. Even we will not like it if our friend whom we are talking to does not even look at us when we talk and is busy watching the TV instead. How would God feel if we do not give Him undivided attention.

By expecting to hear from Him

How can we say we seek God with all our hearts if we come to Him not expecting to hear anything from Him. We would not be seeking Him at all! Therefore seeking God with all our hearts means really wanting to hear from Him in our quiet times. When we read the Word, we really want Him to say something to us. Even when we pray, we should really be wanting God to reveal things to us during our prayers.

Serve the Lord with all your heart

Deu 10:12 And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,

Serve God in church

The obvious way to serve God is in church. And using our spiritual gifts or natural talents. A spiritual gift is a special ability given by the Holy Spirit to every member of the Body of Christ for use to edify the Body.

1 Corinthians 12:7 (NIV) Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

We need not lament that we are not as effective as the Senior Pastor of the church. Serve God in accordance with your abilities. To those who have been given 10 talents, God requires them to produce 10 more. But those with 5 talents can please God as well by producing 5 more.

It is important to know our spiritual gifts so as to serve God effectively.

Serve God in our work place

Many people think that serving God only takes place in the church. But most of our time is not spent in church. Do we stop serving God when it is not Sundays?

Col 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Serve God by serving others

Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV) "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' 37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

NT example : Paul loved his fellowmen so much that he was willing to endure hardship to see them saved.

Obey the Lord with all your heart

Deu 30:9 Then the LORD your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, 10 if you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Deu 26:16 The LORD your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws; carefully observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.

Obey everything He commanded

Mat 5:48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

God will not be pleased if we do not surrender some area of our lives to Him. He wants us to strive to be perfect. (Even though that is impossible, we must so the best we can.)

Discussion : Are there some areas in our lives that we have difficulty obeying God in? It may be in the area of giving, or being called into full-time service.

OT example : Abraham loved God so much that he was willing to obey God in everything, even in sacrificing his own son.

Obey God cheerfully

We cannot be said to be obeying God with all our hearts if we do it grudging. If we do something unwillingly, we know our heart is not there. Therefore God loves a cheerful follower.

Praise the Lord with all your heart

(Deu 9:4-6 NIV)  After the LORD your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, "The LORD has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness." No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is going to drive them out before you. {5} It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. {6} Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.

Our God is a gracious God. He gives us blessings even though we do not deserve it. The Israelites are tempted to think that they possess the land because of their righteousness. God had to remind them that this is not so. They are also a sinful people and a stiff-necked one.

Yet God in His mercy gave them the land anyway because of His promise to their forefathers.

Likewise, we must not be tempted to think that God will save us from eternal damnation because we are righteous – because we don’t indulge in major sins like killing, stealing, etc. God never saves anyone on the basis of their righteousness.

(Titus 3:5 NIV)  he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.

(Eph 2:8-9 NIV)  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- {9} not by works, so that no one can boast.

How should we react on understanding of this truth? It should feel us with loads of gratitude for God. That He would save us and bless us even though we do not deserve it. It should cause us to want to praise Him with all of our heart.