Is the Word of God written on your heart?

About three-thousand five-hundred years ago, God chose the physical descendants of Israel as His special people. He freed them from Egyptian slavery and gave them a law. The ten commandments were written on tablets of stone.

God's law was also to be in the hearts His people. This was stated many times through the centuries.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up" (Deuteronomy 6:5-7).

"You shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul" (Deuteronomy 11:18).

"For this commandment which I command you today, it is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it" (Deuteronomy 30:11-14).

"The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, And his tongue talks of justice. The law of his God is in his heart" (Psalm 37:30,31). "Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You" (Psalm 119:11).

"Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:3-6). "My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:20-23). "My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you. Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart" (Proverbs 7:1-3).

"Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, you people in whose heart is My law: do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their revilings" (Isaiah 51:7).

Although God sent prophets to call Israel to repentance, although the faithful encouraged their unfaithful brethren to know the Lord, not many of the physical descendants of Jacob truly had God's law in their hearts.

Thus God proclaimed: "'Behold, the days are coming,' says the Lord, 'when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them,' says the Lord. 'But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says the Lord, I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,' says the Lord. 'For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more"' (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

God's New Covenant would be based, not on physical descent, but on spiritual faithfulness. Only those with God's law written on their hearts would be God's people. They would be drawn from all nations, peoples, tribes and languages.

This prophesy was fulfilled by Jesus Christ who came to bring the New Covenant and to be the true sacrifice for the sins of the world: "For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, 'This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,' then He adds, 'Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.' Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:14-23). See also Hebrews 8:10-12.

Christ had the law of God in His heart, as was prophesied: "Then I said, "Behold, I come; In the scroll of the Book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart'' (Psalm 40:7,8).

Because Jesus was sinless, He was qualified to bear the punishment for our sins, and to replace the Old Covenant with the New: "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: 'Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure. Then I said, "Behold, I have come in the volume of the book it is written of Me to do Your will, O God."' Previously saying, 'Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them' (which are offered according to the law), then He said, 'Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.' He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:4-10).

Under the New Covenant, only those with God's law in their hearts are the people of God: "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, 'The man who does those things shall live by them.' But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, 'Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?"' (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, '"Who will descend into the abyss?"' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? 'The word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart' (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation. For the Scripture says, 'Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.' For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For 'whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.' How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!' But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed our report?' So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:4-17).

How then can we have the law of God written on our hearts? By hearing His word.

Each of us should ask ourselves: Is the law of God being written on my heart? If it is, it will not be by accident.

Of King Rehoboam it is said: "And he did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord" (2 Chronicles 12:14). Ezra, on the other hand, "had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel" (Ezra 7:10). Having the law of God written on our hearts involves knowing it and doing it. God told Ezekiel: "Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears. And go, get to the captives, to the children of your people, and speak to them and tell them, 'Thus says the Lord God,' whether they hear, or whether they refuse'' (Ezekiel 3:10,11).

It is not enough to attend religious services each Sunday. The law of God must be written on our hearts. Paul told the believers at Corinth that they were a letter of Christ, "written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart" (2 Corinthians 3:2,3).

James tells us that we must receive the word of God into our hearts like a seed so it can produce fruit in our lives: "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:21-25).

When the law of God is written on our hearts, it will permeate our whole being. It will influence our every thought, word and action.

We must be spiritually oriented to receive the word of God into our hearts and have the mind of Christ. Paul wrote of the apostolic ministry: "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For 'Who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?' But we have the mind of Christ" (2 Corinthians 2:12-16).

What is already written on your heart now? What is being written on your heart? The laws of God or the ideas of men?

Our degenerate society is always ready to write its materialistic principles and godless opinions on our hearts. How does society do this? Mainly through the media and through social contacts.

To have the law of God written on our hearts, we must work against the bad influences of society. Be careful what you read, what you watch, what you hear. Be careful who your companions are: "Do not be deceived: 'Evil company corrupts good habits'" (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Also, be careful who your virtual companions are. The people in films you watch can easily influence the way you think and feel. Often, even the "good guys" are bad. Much of this evil influence is insidious, it is hidden. Immorality, for example, is presented as normal, acceptable behavior, and is falsely portrayed as having no bad consequences. The devil is behind this.

What if someone rang your door bell each evening, came in, and spent the whole evening in your home cursing God, using foul language and showing dirty pictures to your children? As a Christian, would you not show him the door and tell him he was not welcome? Yet, many Christians welcome such a visitor into their homes each evening. His initials are T.V.

If used with extreme caution, a television can be a source of useful and up-building information. But remember that the one who controls the switch is responsible for what is said and shown in your house. On the day of judgement we will have to give account for every idle word (Matthew 12:36). Are we not also accountable for the words our machines speak?

It takes time to prepare your heart to serve the Lord. If you spend from twenty to thirty hours a week watching television, you will not have much time left to learn the word of God.

Do not deceive yourself. You cannot take fire into your bosom, and not be burned (Proverbs 6:27). If you eat garbage, you will get sick. If you fill your mind with garbage, you will have a sick mind. If you look at pornography, you will have a pornographic mind. If you are doing this, stop before you destroy yourself. If you fill your head with feathers, you will be a feather-head. If you fill your heart with materialistic vanity, you will have a materialistic vain life. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Jesus said: "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things" (Matthew 12:35).

If we fill our hearts with the word of God, we will be healthy and strong. Let us rededicate our hearts to God.

There is no short-cut. It takes time and effort to allow God to write His law on our hearts. Let us listen to sermons, attend Bible classes, and read the Bible or listen to Bible tapes each day.

May the Word of God dwell richly in our hearts and in our souls. May His word be in our mouths and in our hearts, that we may do it. Let us teach the word to our children, talk of it when we sit in our house, when we ride in the car, when we lie down, and when we rise up. Let us write the commands of God on the tablets of our hearts, that He might direct our paths. Only then shall we be the people of God.
Roy Davison

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

Published in The Old Paths Archive