And when Moses had finished speaking all these words to Israel, he said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”
“Take to heart.” Here was the great stumbling-stone for Israel, for they did not have a heart for God (Deut. 5.29). It would take a great work of God to give them a new heart (Deut. 30.1-10). Christ’s work of redemption opened the way for the Spirit of God to come and give God’s people a new heart, so that they could learn and obey His Law (Ezek. 36.26, 27). Now God’s mandate to Israel remains for the people of God today: Take the Law to heart!
But what does this entail? Certainly we cannot take the Law to heart if we choose to remain ignorant of it. We must read, study, and meditate on God’s Law, listening for the Spirit to show us specific applications of this holy and righteous and good Law to our everyday lives. We must also learn to love the Law of God above our own best thoughts or the opinions of others (Ps. 119.97). The more we understand of God’s Law, and the more we act in obedience on it, the more we will see the wisdom and love of God in it, and, hence, the more we will love this Law and take it to heart.
This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.MyParuchia.com and click on our Book Store.