What is your best definition or description of the word “heart”? The dictionary says that it is the vital center of one’s being, emotions and sensibilities. Then there is a surprisingly long list of phrases that we use in our language which include the word ” heart” – heart-ache, heart-felt, heartless, to your heart’s content, heartily. How many more can you think of?
When it comes to an even more meaningful definition that would help us understand this word as it is used in Scripture, here are a few possibilities.
- “The place out of which we respond to all of life.” L. Schlaepfer
- “The common ground where you and God meet. It’s the place where forgiveness is cultivated, where faith first takes root, where love grows, where hope blossoms, where mercy reaches fruition.” E. Peterson
- “That inward place that only God sees from which come our deepest thoughts, feelings, decisions.” R. Stedman
As Moses passionately urged this new generation to “take to heart this day” the truths that he had spoken to them about the one and only God who loved them and longed to show them His mercy and give them His blessings, it was very clear that he wanted them to take his message very seriously. He didn’t want them to simply acknowledge this information intellectually or to give him a casual nod of agreement. What part of his message do you think had the greatest impact on that generation and on the ones that would follow?
Moses knew from his own experience that, while God would always remember His promises and in His mercy forgive those who come to Him, there would also be consequences for idolatry, disobedience, and forgetfulness, so he was highly motivated to communicate clearly the truths that would make the difference between defeat and victory as they moved into the land of promise, if they would only “take them to heart”.