In good times and bad it is important to keep the perspective of God’s grace and love in our lives.  Our faith in the God who made the universe and called us to Himself shines when we make Him the center of all we do.

The nation of Israel had been through some tough times.  After surviving 400 years of slavery under the Egyptians they spent another 40 years wandering around the desert before coming to the promised land.

Time and time again we see this failure of the people of Israel, God’s chosen people.  God promises, God provides, and the people soon doubt again. As the story goes along we see the nation standing on the edge of their promised land.  Moses is giving them his final words before they take hold of the promise God made to them.

Deuteronomy 6:1-25 ESV “Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it,  (2) that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.  

Moses is reminding the people that they are called to follow God and to teach others to do the same.  In short, he says we should know God and make Him known. But how do we do that? How do we become a people who know God and make Him known to the world?

(3)  Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.  (4) “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. (5) You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  

There is our answer.  Right there in verse 5. Moses’ words ring true for us today.  We are called to be careful to do the things God has instructed us.  At the core of that is to love the Lord you God with everything: your heart, your soul, and your might.  Consider each of those three pieces:

Heart – the substance of the man

Our heart is the innermost organ and the core of what keeps us alive.  If your heart stops you will be dead in minutes. This word usages in Deuteronomy is even deeper than the organ in our chest.  This is described as the innerman, the mind, the will. Look at these other uses:

Genesis 20:5-6  Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.”  (6) Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her.

The idea here is of the inner man.  Absolom acted in accordance with a pure heart, a clean will. 

Exodus 14:5  When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the mind of Pharaoh and his servants was changed toward the people, and they said, “What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?”

That word mind in the ESV is the same word used for heart in these other examples.  It is the idea of the inner man, the mind, the consciousness. Pharaoh and the Egyptians changed their minds about the people of Israel.  They decided they did not want to let them go after all.

Leviticus 19:17  “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.

This simple command uses the same word for heart.  Don’t harbor hate for your brother in your inner man, in your mind, in your heart.

We are not talking about the organ that pumps blood through your body.  We are taking about the very substance of your consciousness. Your mind, your will.

We are called to love God will all of our mind, with all of our will, will all of our inner man.  Not just words, not just while we are at church, but in everything our mind engages in. Everything. Always.

Soul – the essence of the man

Our soul describes the very essence or nature of our being.  This is who we are far and above what we are. This is the portion that God has made to live forever with Him.  Our flesh is an anchor and it will die, but our soul will go on for all eternity.

Genesis 2:7  then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

The word creature here is the same word used for soul.  When Adam received this breath from God his flesh was indwelt by a living soul.  Adam’s essence changed. This is a measure that sets us apart from the animals. We are given an eternal soul making us who are.

Exodus 30:12  “When you take the census of the people of Israel, then each shall give a ransom for his life to the LORD when you number them, that there be no plague among them when you number them.

That word life is the same word used for creature in Genesis 2:7.  We are getting the concept of accounting for our lives, accounting for who we are to the Lord. There was a census taking count of all of those lives belonging to the nation.

Leviticus 4:2  “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If anyone sins unintentionally in any of the LORD’s commandments about things not to be done, and does any one of them,

Here the word wrapped up in anyone in the ESV is the same word as these other examples.  It is describing the living person. If any one of your people sins. If you sin. This is who you are.  Your essence.

In Deuteronomy 6:5 

(5)  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.   

Your soul is the very essence of your being.  It is the life breath given to you by God. You are called to love God with this life, this essence, this soul you have been given.  Not to give your life to the world and it’s ways, but to give your life to God.

Might – the force of what we do

The might of your life is a force, it is a measure of intensity.  Check out these other uses.

Genesis 1:31  And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

The word very is the same word as might.  It is describing how good the creation was on day 6.  It is a measure of increasing goodness. God’s creation was exceedingly good.  It is abundantly good. It is over the top in it’s goodness.

Genesis 7:19  And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered.

In Genesis 7:19 the word mightily is the same word.  Mightily is describing the waters prevailing on the earth.  They are not just trickling like a leaky faucet. They are not slowly passing by like a stream.  They are not even roaring like a huge river. The waters are prevailing on the earth. They are overcoming their bounds.  They are flowing across the land. They are covering, conquering all they come in contact with. Even more than conquering, they are mightily conquering.  They are dominating. The force of the prevailing waters is mighty and nothing can stand in their way.

Exodus 19:18  Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly.

The word greatly in Exodus 19:18 is the same word we are looking at in the other examples.  We see in this the intensity of the tremble. The whole mountain trembled, but not just trembled.  It trembled greatly. The mountain shook with such force that it was unmistakable.  

(5)  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  

When we think about this verse in Deuteronomy 6:5 to love the Lord it is with such completeness and intensity we might not be able to wrap our heads around it.  Our use of the word love has become rather flippant. We love tacos and basketball. We love warm sunshine and green grass. All of those things are good, but the kind of love we are called to have for God makes all of those things seem as nothing.

We are called to love the Lord with all of our innermost being.  With all of our hearts. With all of our conscience will. With all of what we are. 

We are called to love the Lord with our very essence.  With all of our souls. With all of who we are.

We are called to love the Lord with all of our might.  This magnifies in everything we do. We are called to love God exceedingly, mightily, with a force that overcomes everything else we might ever encounter.  Our God is greater and we are called to love Him greatly!

But don’t stop reading.  This verse overflows into the next few…

(6)  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  (7) 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.  (8) You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (9) You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. 

We are to write these things on our lives.

We are to teach these things to our children.

We are to talk of these things always and in everything.

We are to make these things the foremost thought in everything we engage in.

We are to share these things with anyone and everyone we encounter.  And that is our role today and tomorrow and for all the days we have on this earth.  

Live your life in mighty, increasing, abundant love through every fiber of your being for the God who made you.  The God who loves you. The God who saved you. The God who equips you for all good works.  

And when you do, the fire that burns in your life will spread to your family, your neighbors, the world.  As the flood waters prevailed mightily on all the earth, may the abundance of your love for God prevail over everything you come in contact with.

Ask God today to give you a heart that overflows with love for Him.