I remember in high school that there was an accident with a drunk driver. While we really didn't know the victims personally, it still was an awful reality. That kind of thing happens...even in small towns. I remember my mom looking at me and saying, "Please don't ever drink and drive or even get in a car with someone who has been drinking, okay?" While I knew that not drinking at all was something my parents required of me...here she was asking me not to do that very thing. Why? Because she was so concerned for my well being, she loved me so much that she didn't think telling me was adequate - she asked me not to. Somehow, that makes it more personal. It wasn't just a demand from someone in authority, it was a plea from someone who loved me beyond words.
Deuteronomy 10:12 - Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul..."
While God does require these things of us, and we know that, the Hebrew word for "require" here is sha'al which means "to ask, enquire, borrow, beg" (Strong's H7592). God, because He loved them so much, was at a point with the Israelites that He was asking them to do the things that were vital for their well being! I get the image of my mom, sitting on my bed near tears at the thought of ever losing her daughter, asking me to avoid alcohol and dangerous situations. God is sitting on our bed, tears in His eyes at the thought of our potential pain, asking us to fear Him, to walk in His ways and love Him, to serve Him with all of our hearts.... It's a beautiful image isn't it?
When I initially read over this verse, I assumed it said "love the Lord your God with all your heart" just like the previous verse I had studied (that blog is a good one and can be found here). However, as I started comparing translations, it hit me like a brick wall. This verse it different! It doesn't say to "love the Lord your God" it says to "serve the Lord your God!" While I believe these two things go hand in hand, I had to pause for a second. Obviously, this was an intentional difference so what are the implications for us? First, I think that love brings in the emotional side of things, while serving is more physical. What are your thoughts here? Do you agree? Anyhow, the scholars has a lot to say about what it means to serve with all your heart:
Matthew Henry believes that serving the Lord with all of our hearts means to "devote ourselves to His honour, put ourselves under His government, and lay out ourselves to advance all the interests of His kingdom among men." I get the image of a knight here- knights, or soldiers, are famous for their honor and loyalty to the government they served. Stories and movies constantly depict knights (or knightly characters) laying down their lives for the interests of the Kingdom! We are the Lord's army, are we not? Henry goes onto say that "we must be hearty and zealous in His service, engage and employ our inner man in His work, and what we do for Him we must do cheerfully and with a good will." If we are serving with all of our heart, then we are going to give our all! And not just that...we're going to do it all with a smile on our face and joy in our spirits!
Adam Clarke puts it a little bit simpler, "In a word, putting forth your whole strength and energy of body and soul in the sacred work."
And let us not forget that everything we do should be for the glory of the Lord (check out the fun reminder of this matter via song by Steven Curtis Chapman below) which means we are serving Him every minute of the day. If that's the case, we should be putting our all into everything!
I challenge you to day to examine your life. Take a post-it and write down one area of your life in which you are not serving God with all of your heart, giving Him your all. Maybe it's your devotional time, maybe it's the work day, or maybe it's cleaning the house (guilty). Stick that post-it where you will see it (mine will say "CLEANING" in big bold letters) as a reminder to give that area of your life your all...at least for a day. At the end of that day, make note of the difference - I have a feeling we will be giving our all more often!
On a sidenote, I didn't really discuss the rest of this verse because I wanted to focus on matter of the heart. However, if you would like some more information on what it means to fear the Lord, check out these two blogs here and here. And if you take a look around, a few of my other blogs deal with that very matter as well!
Have a wonderful week FULL of serving the Lord! :)