What is it to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and strength as God commanded in Deuteronomy 6:5? It is utter devotion to Him with every part of who you are, your emotions and feelings, intelligent freewill, and your physical actions. In the Bible the three parts of humanity cannot be separate from one another. Every person is made up of the three together, נָ֫פֶשׁ, nephesh. Consider it. They are wholly interconnected and when one is damaged or incongruent the entire person is affected. If your mood is bad or good you will choose actions which are in agreement with your mood. Luke 6:43-45 says,
“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
Did you know that God loves you wholly? He loves you with all His heart, soul, and might. He loves every part of you with every part of Him. The Father freely loves you and chose you; The Son demonstrated His love for you by laying down His life for you; The Spirit indwells you and conforms your will and your mind to His. He loves you with His grace and his wrath. He loves you as Father, Counselor, and Savior. He loves you as the God of Amen and Lord of Hosts. He loves all of you with all of Him.
Moses continued his discourse to Israel and after telling them to love the Lord God with all their heart, your soul and might, He described to them how they would take the Promised Land. Verses 1-5 reads,
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than you, 2 and when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them, then you must devote them to complete destruction. You shall make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them. 3 You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, 4 for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. 5 But thus shall you deal with them: you shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and chop down their Asherim and burn their carved images with fire.”
When the people entered the Promised Land and The Lord handed the people over to them, they were to devote them to complete destruction. That meant that they would kill every single person God had designated them to kill as an offering to God. The battles they would fight to rid the land of everything that was not of The Lord would be done as love to Him. He would wipe away everything that was not for Him, so that nothing of the old land remained. It would be completely new and ready for His people to possess in entirety, the land, the religion, and the people would be completely His and for Israel.
Leaving anything from the people who lived there before, would turn Israel away from God and to other things. When we’re saved, God wipes out every part of who we were before Him and we are expected to give it all to Him and not hold anything back. We do that because what we hold back will turn us away from God and to our old desires. We devote our old selves to utter destruction so the new self can love God wholly.
God chose us; He separated us out of the world to be His people and in His absolute love for us, He makes us absolutely new. But it is our choice to give Him our entirety. It was Israel’s choice to obey and destroy everything or disobey and leave a few people or take a piece of gold, or leave one image. Why did God choose Israel to be His? Why did He choose you or me? Verses 6-11 read,
“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 10 and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. 11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules that I command you today.”
We were not better than anyone else. It wasn’t anything we did that God decided to make us His chosen nation. It was God’s choice to make us His treasured possession. The Lord chose Israel because of His promise to Abraham renewed in Jacob and his sons. He chose us to be Abraham’s children too, giving us His blood, His nature, and His name in supernatural adoption. Abraham’s promises and Israel’s promise became ours too. Those promises are immense. Eternal life with The Lord as our God and we as His people, to be holy as He is holy, and the Promised Land of New Jerusalem are only part of the blessing we receive from God. God loves us perfectly with all of who He is and He will not renege. So let us be careful to do the commandment and the statutes and the rules. Notice it is singular, the commandment not commandments. The statues and the rules He gives, that is devoting the sinful (what and who is not chosen) to utter destruction, and all the rest of the laws given are the way to keep the commandment. What is the commandment? It is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might”
Don’t be mistaken, we are not supposed to kill infidels, we kill our old self who was opposed to Christ. Israel was supposed to devote the people of who lived in their land to utter destruction. We are supposed to devote our old identities, our sins and desires of the flesh to utter destruction so that we can receive righteousness and the fruit of the Spirit. Ephesians 4:22-24 says it like this,
to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
That is three steps, put off your old self (devote your old self to destruction), be renewed in the spirit of your minds, (allow the Lord to give you the mind of Christ in His Spirit) and put on the new self (choose to live as holy and righteous as God created us to be).
So what if you don’t want to let your old desires die? What if you want to hold onto getting high in order to achieve calm or lying in order to have provision? Well then, you will not have the peace God gives because you choose to turn to yourself, you choose to use your heart, soul and strength to attain peace and not lean on Him. You will not have the abundance of provision the Lord provides because you use your heart, soul, and strength to love yourself and not The Lord. Verses 12-16 reads,
“And because you listen to these rules and keep and do them, the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love that he swore to your fathers. 13 He will love you, bless you, and multiply you. He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock, in the land that he swore to your fathers to give you. 14 You shall be blessed above all peoples. There shall not be male or female barren among you or among your livestock. 15 And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you knew, will he inflict on you, but he will lay them on all who hate you. 16 And you shall consume all the peoples that the Lord your God will give over to you. Your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.”
It is not easy to give up the desires of the flesh. It can be frightening to consider the mountainous job of giving up drugs and being clean or no longer lying to make money, or whatever struggle you have to let the desires of the flesh die. But it is God who will do it, He will be with you and He will fight for you. Verses 17-26 read,
“If you say in your heart, ‘These nations are greater than I. How can I dispossess them?’ 18 you shall not be afraid of them but you shall remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt, 19 the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, by which the Lord your God brought you out. So will the Lord your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. 20 Moreover, the Lord your God will send hornets among them, until those who are left and hide themselves from you are destroyed.21 You shall not be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God. 22 The Lord your God will clear away these nations before you little by little. You may not make an end of them at once, lest the wild beasts grow too numerous for you. 23 But the Lord your God will give them over to you and throw them into great confusion, until they are destroyed. 24 And he will give their kings into your hand, and you shall make their name perish from under heaven. No one shall be able to stand against you until you have destroyed them.25 The carved images of their gods you shall burn with fire. You shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them or take it for yourselves, lest you be ensnared by it, for it is an abomination to the Lord your God.26 And you shall not bring an abominable thing into your house and become devoted to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest and abhor it, for it is devoted to destruction.”
Scripture says, “do not be afraid” numerous times but here God does not say that. He says, if you are afraid, just remember what I have already done for you and know I will do this too. Being afraid doesn’t mean you have no faith. Not acting because of your fear means you have no faith. Faith is trusting God enough to act even in the midst of fear. Just as often the Bible tells us to be courageous. Courage is what He describes here. He says that if we act in our fear then we won’t fear the enemy. We do not have to dread the enemy, God fights for us.
Moses said, that God would clear them away little by little and not all at once. The beasts would not be hunted and they would overtake The Promised Land and make it uninhabitable to Israel. I have known people who were instantly delivered from drug addiction or instantly healed of some affliction. But more often I have seen people delivered healed slowly, bit by bit. If He instantly made you go from a size 14 to a size 4 you would not learn to remain a size 4. Your eating and exercise habits would once again make you a 14 and then a 16. If He instantly healed your drug addiction, you would not have learned why you chose calm through cannabis rather than peace through Jesus and you would keep turning to cannabis rather than Jesus. That is why He gives us self-control. We have to choose, to love God with our freewill and choose to love Him with our strength and not eat the donut, smoke the joint, or cheat someone. He reminds us again to commit our old selves to Him, not let any of it remain. Keeping hold of those old desires will be a snare and keep us from being the righteousness of God.
Believer, the first step of loving God with all your heart, soul, and strength is giving your old self which did not love God to Him completely. We can’t hold anything back. Giving Him 99% is not all. Giving Him all of it is all. He will give you a new self that is so much better! He will bless you above all people! He will bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. But if you’re holding something back, you’re choosing to worship the idol of your drug, your money, your power, or pleasure instead of God. Jesus died once and for all so you could be free from the chains of slavery to the prince of sin and be a king of the King of kings. What are you holding back? It’s okay, give it to Him and He will give you so much more in return.