"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deut. 6:5)
God taught Abraham what it was to believe in God with all his heart; he was strong in faith, giving glory to God. Moses taught Israel what the first and great commandment was: to love God with all their heart. This was the first commandment as the origin and fountain out of which the others naturally proceed. It has its ground in the relationship between God as the loving Creator and man made in His image as the object of that love. In the very nature of things it could never be otherwise; man find his life, his destiny, and his happiness in nothing but just this one thing, loving God with all the heart and all the strength. Moses said: "The Lord has a delight in thy fathers, to love them" (Deut. 10:15); such a God was infinitely worthy of being loved. All our religion, all our faith in God and obedience to Him, our whole life is to be inspired by the one thought: We are to love God with all our heart and all our strength. Every day the child of God has as the first duty to live out this command.
How little Israel was able to obey the command we all knew well. But before Moses died, he was able, after speaking of the judgments God would bring upon His people for their sins, to make known the promises: "The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart" - with a circumcision not made with hands, but the circumcision of Christ on the Cross (Col. 2:11) - "to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul" (Deut. 30:6).
This blessed promise was the first indication of the new Covenant in which Jeremiah foretold of the law so written in the heart by the Holy Spirit, that they should no more depart from God but walk in His ways. But how little have Christians understood this; how easily they rest content with the thought that it is impossible.
Let us learn the double lesson. This perfect heart, loving God with all our might, is what God claims, is what God is infinitely worthy of, is what God - blessed be His Name! - will Himself give and work in us if we are willing. Let our whole soul go out in faith to meet, to wait for, and to expect the fulfillment of the promise - to love God with the whole heart is what God Himself will work in us.
"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit given unto us."