"Love! Do you know the meaning of the word?" 'How should I not?' said the Lady, 'I am in love...in Love Himself.'
~C.S. Lewis
The Great Divorce

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Undivided Hearts

"Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." Ps. 86:11b

I came across this verse in my reading several weeks ago and it has really stuck with me. The two parts of the verse don't quite seem to fit together. You might expect "Give me an undivided heart, and I will praise you," or "I will love you." Why "fear your name"?

I think the answer is that Jehovah was to the Kingdom's surrounding Israel a God to be feared. When he fought on the side of his people, Israel, the outcome of the war was certain. This fact did not go unnoticed by the Israelites, at least not always. Many Hebrews over the generations knew they were to fear the LORD. They also knew, as we ought to know, that the fear of the Lord is the first step in learning to love God. But you cannot fear the Lord if your attention is diverted from him. From personal experience, I can relate how easily this happens, as I'm sure anyone reading this can.

It is too easy to be caught up in the ways of the world and make God almost an afterthought. We forget that he will judge our misdeeds. An illustration might help. There could be a venemous snake under a nearby bush. I should fear that snake. But I will not if I have forgotten that it is there. That is why I have been mediating on this verse. "Give me an undivided heart." For when my heart is focused on God and who God is, ultimately my Judge, I will fear him and in due time, begin loving him for who he is.

And really, this is the essence of the Great commandment. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. With all! There are to be no divisions within ourselves. Completely undivided we are to give ourselves to Jesus. Fear and genuine love of God's truth, righteousness, and mercy will be the natural fruit.

Pray for an undivided heart.

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