I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart. (Psalm 40:8)
Obedience Begins In The Heart
David was a remarkable man whose heart was fully trusting in God. He showed great courage in facing Goliath, exercised restraint in harming King Saul when he had more than one opportunity to kill him, and as a king showed himself to be a wise and beneficent ruler. His sin with Bathsheba marred his character and the stain of its shame would remain for the rest of his life. David faced many enemies finding himself often the object of scorn, ridicule, and even treason by his sons. The occasion of writing the fortieth psalm is uncertain but whatever it was it had put him in a pit of despair. He was thankful for the kind mercy of God to rescue him from his mire of despondency noting the blessing of God’s word guided his heart to seek the Lord. There were so many blessings David could enumerate but he was unable to recount them all. He was a man filled with the word of God.
Obedience comes from the knowledge of knowing what to do and how to do what God requires. None of the commandments of the Lord are burdensome. The Lord has never asked a man to do anything he was unable to do. Doing the will of God has always been the hallmark of the faithful character, godly spirit with a devoted and true heart. The key to obedience is not just in the doing but where the direction of the heart instills submission. David took joy in doing the will of the Lord because the word of God was written in his heart. Obedience cannot come from an empty heart. Seeking the will of the Lord requires the knowledge to know what is right and what is wrong. Without the word, there can be no obedience. The result of those who seek to obey God without a knowledge of His word will find themselves measured by the standards of human wisdom rather than divine will.
David understood that obedience begins in the heart. Jesus would later say that all things that make up a man’s character begin in the heart: good or bad. The things that corrupt a man come from a corrupt heart. Righteousness is the blossom of the divine flower of truth that spreads its aromatic fragrance of God’s character throughout the soul of the man possessed of the law of the Lord. Truth begins in the word and when the word is planted deep in the heart, the result is a man who delights to know the will of the Lord. Faith comes from hearing the word of God as it is implanted in the soul of man. That is where true delight comes when the heart is filled with the word of God.
Obedience follows from the seed of God’s word planted in the heart. This process cannot be done by osmosis or transference of minds or boring a hole in the head and pouring it all in. Knowledge comes from much study and while much study can be a weariness of the soul, the spirit of the soul will grow stronger. What is implanted in the heart guides the mind of a man to do the will of the Father. Recognizing the opposite is to see the reason that many Christians struggle in their faith because they seldom (if ever) spend time in the Word. A man cannot teach what he does not know. Faith cannot be resident in the heart of the Christian if the Christian has no interest in knowing the Bible. God has given to all men a complete guide to know His will: the Bible. Reading the book and finding ways to mold a character according to the divine pattern will bring about eternal consequences. It must begin with the word in the heart.