A Heart To Obey
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV)
4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
As a compass sets the course of a ship, so the heart sets the path of a man. This section of Scripture intends that we set our hearts on God in order to set a course for a life of obedience.
I. Ponder the Commands of God. (vv. 6-7)
A. Through All your Travels
--- No place off limits to discuss the things of God.
B. Through All Your Days
--- From beginning to end, every day, and all day.
C. Through All Your Generations
--- Leave a legacy, for the church is just one generation from extinction.
Illust.: In her best-seller, What Is a Family?, Edith Schaeffer devotes her longest chapter to the idea that a family is a perpetual relay of truth. A place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living. Where character traits are sculptured under the watchful eyes of moms and dads. Where steel-strong fibers are woven into the fabric of inner constitution.
The relay place. A race with a hundred batons.
* Determination. "Stick with it, regardless." * Honesty. "Speak and live the truth - always." * Responsibility. "Be dependable, be trustworthy." * Thoughtfulness. "Think of others before yourself." * Confidentiality. "Don't tell secrets. Seal your lips." * Punctuality. "Be on time." * Self-control. "When under stress, stay calm." * Patience. "Fight irriatability. Be willing to wait." * Purity. "Reject anything that lowers your standards." * Compassion. "When another hurts, feel it with him." * Diligence. "Work hard. Tough it out."
And how is this done? Over the long haul, believe me. This race is not a sprint, it's a marathon. There are no 50-yard dash courses on character building. Relays require right timing and smoot handoffs - practiced around the track hour after hour when nobody is looking. And where is this practice track? Where is this place where rough edges cannot remain hidden, must not be left untouched? Inside your own front door. The home is God's built-in training facility.
That's why He urged all the dads in Moses' day to relay the truth: . . . and you shall teach them diligently to your sons 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 up (Deuteronomy 6:7)
- Charles R. Swindoll, Man to Man (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996) 36
II. Prompt Your Obedience to God. (vv. 8-9)
A. Reminded in Symbols
--- Tie a string around your finger
--- Regard not the symbol, but the thing to which it points.
B. Reminded in Occupation
--- In all that you do or think, let your occupation be to glorify God.
Illust.: Living under the Lordship of Jesus Christ must make a difference in the everyday decision of life. We must be willing to pay the price of discipleship. A few years ago, Jack Eckerd, founder of the Eckerd drugstore chain, committed his life to Christ. Shortly afterward as he walked through one of his stores, he noticed the magazine racks with their glossy copies of Playboy and Penthouse. Although Eckerd was retired from active management, he called the president of the company and urged him to get rid of those pornographic magazines. The president protested because substantial profits were gained from their sales. Being the largest stockholder, Eckerd himself stood to lose a lot of money by such a decision. But he remained firm in his objection, and he prevailed. The offensive magazines were removed from all 1700 drugstores. When he was asked what motivated him to take this action, Eckerd
replied, "God wouldn't let me off the hook!"
C. Reminded in Our Comings and Goings
Illust.: It is said that an old lady was to take a train journey of about
fifty miles through a most beautiful country. For months she
contemplated the trip. She was anxious to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
The day came and she boarded the train. After getting her seat, she
began arranging matters. She wanted everything just right. She began
placing her bags, fixing her lunch box, adjusting the shades, and
getting everything ready to enjoy the trip to the full. But, sad to
say, just as everything was adjusted and she settled back, the
conductor called out her station. She had to hurry around and gather
up her belongings. "Oh, me!" she said, "if I had known we would get
here so soon, I would not have wasted my time fussing around."
That is a fair picture of multitudes. We are so busy with the
transient things of earth that we have little time to prepare for the
next world. About the time we think we are all fixed for this world,
the death angel will call out, "Eternity."
Psalm 121:8 (NIV)
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
III. Purify your Worship of God. (vv. 4-5)
A. Choose One God
--- With One God, There is only one will. With many gods, there is confusion and uncertainty. The path to obedience is made clear as the gods we have raised up in our lives are silenced until only the one true God is heard. Not many commanders, but one to take our marching orders from.
Joshua 24:15 (NIV)
15But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
B. Choose One Life
--- You are only one person. Live only one life. If you try to live many lives, you will spread yourself thin. Live the one life you have to glorify God, and you will be living from a central focus that does not stretch tightly over many objectives. Spend all for God. God demands all the strength you can muster be spent on him!
C. Choose One Love
--- An Undivided Heart is what is needed
--- What was said of David, "A man after God's own heart."
Jeremiah 31:33 (NIV)
33 “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time,” declares the LORD.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 (NIV)
26I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
23Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
1 John 5:3-5 (NIV)
3This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
There has always been the possibility of obeying God. God does not demand the impossible. The problem in the Old Testament is that what was to be a heart religion had become an outward religion. The Possibilities of being changed and transformed inwardly, and serving God through the Spirit working on the heart within have always existed, but it has not always been mans desire to be changed inwardly. When obedience is lacking, check the heart. If it needs a change, then God will do it, provided you abandon your idols, Submit your life to him unreservedly, and sell yourself out to loving Him.
Illust.: When The Head Lies Easy
When Sir Walter Raleigh was led to the block, his executioner asked him if his head lay right. Raleigh answered, "It matters little, my friend, how the head lies provided the heart is right. Here in the presence of God, here before him through whom are revealed the secrets of all hearts, here before the Cross of mercy and of love, what does your heart speak? How does your heart lie?
--- Trust and obey, for there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey.