“O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!”
Moses had just rehearsed the Ten Commandments in the ears of God’s people. When the congregation heard the Words of God, they told Moses that they unconditionally resolved to hear and obey all the things that God ordered. The Lord responded to their promise by saying that their words were well spoken, but there was something they were lacking.
Our text reveals the thing that God knew about their good intentions. Their heart was not as it should be to fully obey and follow the Lord. “O that there were such an heart in them.” It is one thing to confess allegiance with the tongue, or purpose to be faithful in the mind, and yet another to have the heart to carry out those resolutions.
We find that the Scripture reminds us often of the importance of our hearts. It is out of the heart that sin emerges, and it is from the heart that obedience originates. For a person to sincerely and consistently obey God, his heart must be in it. First of all, he must be converted. At the moment of salvation, a transformation takes place in the heart of the new Christian. This does not imply that we will never sin or fail, but it does mean that we have been born again by the Spirit of God.
There are marked, continual, and eternal differences in our inner man. Salvation brings with it a new love for God and for the things of God. The regenerated heart is not only interested in honoring God, it is capable of doing those things that please Him. In addition to the heart being converted, it must also be surrendered. The children of Israel made verbal commitments to obey the laws of God, but when it came time to demonstrate their obedience, they often revealed a stubborn resistance to God’s authority. They were not surrendered to Him and His will. A stubborn and unwilling heart will make cheerful obedience to God an impossibility. God heard the people as they stated their intentions to obey Him, but He knew their hearts would keep them from doing what their minds and mouths said they would do.
What about your heart today? Is it surrendered to the Savior and His will? Are you willing to do whatever the Lord would have you do? If we do not keep our hearts right, our good intentions will not produce obedience.