Know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.” This text of Scripture found in Deuteronomy 4:39 arrests my attention every time I read it.  Moses has just recounted the great and aweful works of the Lord on behalf of Israel in redeeming them from Egypt and guiding them through the wilderness.   Yahweh has shown Israel things that are nothing short of mind-blowing.  But, there may be nothing more mind-blowing than the fact that God loved and chose Israel – for no reason other than His own good pleasure, His unmerited grace, and His own grand purposes!  Yet, Israel wants to go look at, and ‘love,’ and worship other gods, idols fashioned with hammers and formed by the strength of the ironsmith (Isaiah 44:12).  Now, you say, that is mind-blowing!

But I think Moses captures the reason why Israel is so prone to idolatry, just as we who have seen God’s redemption through Jesus and witnessed His mighty acts of deliverance and grace on behalf of His church are so prone to idolatry.  We know, and even celebrate God’s universal sovereignty, but we don’t allow His sovereignty to take over every area of our lives so that we joyfully submit our ALL to His lordship in and over us.  We don’t ‘lay it to our hearts,’ we just know it in our heads.  And what that leads to is arrogance that produces idolatry.  We know and love to sing about God’s elective grace and steadfast love, but we don’t allow the fact that He took us when we were gleefully pursuing our own passions and headed straight for hell, and set His love upon us, and quickened us by His Spirit, and gave us new life.   We don’t ‘lay it to our hearts,’ we just sing about it in our homes and churches.  And what this produces is vain and empty worship from a people who honor Jesus with their lips, but whose hearts are far from Him.

So, let us hear what Moses urged Israel to hear, “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Don’t just know it.  Lay it to your heart.

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