When the Jewish leaders asked Jesus which of the commandments of God was the greatest one, it was of real concern to them (Matt. 22:34-40). The Jews had carefully gone through the Old Testament and identified 613 distinct commands God had given to them. They had divided them into positive and negative lists. There were 365 times when God had given a negative (thou shall not) and 248 positive commands.
The answer Jesus gave to them was taken from one of the Ten Commandments but two commands on which the entire law and prophets were based. The first and greatest thing God had ever said was, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
The question is, “How does one do this?” Perhaps the answer lies in the words of David, whose heart was like the heart of God. By looking at how this godly man talked about using his “whole heart,” we can have a deeper understanding of the practical application of the greatest commandment God ever gave. Below is a discussion of the nine times David spoke about using his “whole heart” in Psalms.
David praised the Lord with his whole heart. Three times in Psalms David said, “I will praise You…with my whole heart” (Psa. 9:1; 111:1; 138:1). One cannot love the Lord with all of his heart unless He uses his entire heart in praising God. God has no delight in worship that is half-hearted.
David prayed to God with his whole heart. “I entreat Your favor with my whole heart” (Psalm 119:58). He also said, “I cry out with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord” (Psa. 119:145). There is a great difference in just saying the words of memorized prayer and praying to God fervently (Jas. 5:16).
David read the Bible and followed it with his whole heart. Hear his words. “Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart” (Psa. 119:2). “With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments” (Psa. 119:10). “Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart” (Psa. 119:34). “The proud have forged a lie against me, but I will keep Your precepts” (Psa. 119:69). David longed to obey God.
Do you want to have a heart like the heart of God? Then let these words from David’s heart become the words of your heart. Serving God involves praising and praying to God with all our heart, but it involves more than that. It involves diligent study of His word, deep devotion to knowing His word and wholehearted service in obeying the Lord.
One final question. Are you keeping the greatest commandment like David did?