Hear, first, God's word in Deuteronomy --
Take these oft-repeated words as the expression of God's will concerning His people, and concerning yourself; ask if you could wish to give God anything less. Take the last-cited verse as the Divine promise of the New Covenant -- that He will circumcise, will so cleanse the heart to love Him with a wholehearted love, that obedience is within your reach; and say whether you will not vow afresh to keep this His first and great commandment.
Listen to Joshua (xxii.5): "Take diligent heed to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments, and to cleave unto Him, and to serve Him, with all your heart and with all your soul."
Listen to Samuel (1 Sam. xii.20, 24): "Turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart."
Hear David repeating God's promise to Solomon (1 Kings ii.4) "If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and all their soul."
Hear God's word concerning David (1 Kings xiv.8): "My servant David, who followed Me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in Mine eyes."
Hear Solomon in his temple prayer (1 Kings viii.48): "If they return to Thee with all their heart and all their soul, hear Thou their prayer."
Listen to what is said of Jehu (2 Kings x.31): "The Lord said unto Jehu, Thou hast done well in executing that which is right in Mine eyes. But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord with all his heart."
Of Josiah we read (2 Kings xxiii.3, 25): "The king and all the men of Judah made a covenant with the Lord, to walk after the Lord, with all their heart and with all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. There was no king like him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and all his soul, and all his might."
The words concerning Asa, in 2 Chron. xv.12, 15, we had as our text.
Of Jehoshaphat, men said (2 Chron. xxii.9): "He sought the Lord with all his heart."
And of Hezekiah it is written (2 Chron. xxxi.21) : "In every work that he began, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart and prospered."
Oh that all would ask God to give them, by the Holy Spirit, a simple vision of Himself! -- claiming, giving, accepting, blessing, delighting in, the love and service of the whole heart -- the sacrifice of the whole burnt-offering. Surely they would fall down and join the ranks of those who have given it; and refuse to think of anything as religious life, or worship, or service, but that in which their whole heart went out to God. Turn to the Psalms. Hear David (ix.1, cxi.1, cxxxviii.1): "I will praise Thee with my whole heart." And in Psalm cxix., the Psalm of the way of blessedness: "Blessed who seek Him with the whole heart. With my whole heart have I sought Thee. I shall keep Thy law, yea I shall observe it with my whole heart. I entreated Thy favour with my whole heart. I will keep Thy precepts with my whole heart. I cried with my whole heart." Praise and prayer; seeking God and keeping His precepts; all equally with the whole heart.
Shall we not begin asking more earnestly than ever, as often as we see men engaged in their earthly pursuits in search of money, or pleasure, or fame, or power, with their whole heart. Is this the spirit in which Christians consider that God must be served? Is this the spirit in which I serve Him? Is not this the one thing needful in our religion? Lord, reveal unto us Thy will!
Now, just a few words more from the Prophets about the new time, the great change that can come into our lives.
Jer. xxiv.7 : "I will give them an heart to know Me that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people and I will be their God; for they shall return to Me with their whole heart."
xxix.13: "Ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord."
xxxii.39-41. -- Let my reader not be weary of reading carefully these Divine words: they contain the secret, the seed, the living power of a complete transition out of a life in the bondage of half-hearted service, to the glorious liberty of the children of God. -- "I will give them one heart, that they may fear Me for ever. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good ; but I will put my fear in their heart, that they shall not depart from Me. Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, with My whole heart and My whole Soul!"
It is to be all God's doing. And He is to do it with His whole heart and His whole soul. It is the vision of this God with His whole heart loving us, longing and delighting to fulfil His promise, and make us wholly His own, that we need. This vision makes it impossible not to love Him with our whole heart. Lord, open our eyes that we may see!
Joel ii.12: "Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to Me with all your heart."
Zeph. iii.14: "Shout, O Israel; BE GLAD AND REJOICE WITH ALL THE HEART; The Lord hath taken away thy judgments. HE HATH CAST OUT THINE ENEMY; THE KING OF ISRAEL, THE LORD, IS IN THE MIDST OF THEE; THOU SHALT NOT SEE EVIL ANY MORE."
Now one word from our Lord Jesus (Matt. xxii.37): "Jesus said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." This is the first and great commandment. This is the sum of that law He came to fulfil for us and in us, came to enable us to fulfil. "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending His own Son, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk after the Spirit."
Praise God! this righteousness of the law -- loving God with all the heart, for love is the fulfilling of the law -- this righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us, who walk after the Spirit. Jesus came to make it possible. He gives His Spirit -- the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus -- to make it actual. Let us not fear to give ourselves a whole burnt offering, acceptable to God; loving Him with all our heart and mind and strength.
May I ask the reader just once again to peruse Chapter VI., on "The Everlasting Covenant," and Chapter XVIII., on "Entering into the Covenant with the Whole Heart." And say then, if you have never yet entered fully into this covenant of the whole heart, whether you are not ready to do it now. God demands, God works, God is, oh, so infinitely worthy of, the whole heart! Fear not to say He shall have it. You may confidently count upon the blessed Lord Jesus, the Surety of the Covenant, whose it is to make it true in you by His Spirit, to enable you to exercise the faith that knows that God's power will work what He has promised. In His Name say: With my whole heart I do love Thee!