12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you except to fear the Lord your God by walking in all his ways, to love him, and to worship the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul? 13 Keep the Lord’s commands and statutes I am giving you today, for your own good. 14 The heavens, indeed the highest heavens, belong to the Lord your God, as does the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the Lord had his heart set on your fathers and loved them. He chose their descendants after them—he chose you out of all the peoples, as it is today. 16 Therefore, circumcise your hearts and don’t be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awe-inspiring God, showing no partiality and taking no bribe. 18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the resident alien, giving him food and clothing. 19 You are also to love the resident alien, since you were resident aliens in the land of Egypt. 20 You are to fear the Lord your God and worship him. Remain faithful to him and take oaths in his name. 21 He is your praise and he is your God, who has done for you these great and awe-inspiring works your eyes have seen. 22 Your fathers went down to Egypt, seventy people in all, and now the Lord your God has made you numerous, like the stars of the sky. — Deuteronomy 10:12-22
Therapy for the Soul
by Matt Pearson
West Franklin Campus
My wife Katie is a big-time dog person. She grew up in a home where canines were treated better than humans. For the twenty years I have known her, I have learned that dogs do something therapeutic for her soul. The very presence of our current dog (Eddie) can change her mood in an instant. Our daughter (Birti) can walk in the house and get a smile and a hug from Katie. Our sons (Luke and Seth) can come downstairs to the kitchen and get a nice smile and hug from her. I can get home from work and be greeted with a warm smile and a hug. She greets all of us in a good, loving, positive manner.
But when Eddie walks into the room? Watch out. Her facial expression changes. Her language changes. Her vocal tones reach different pitches. Her posture adjusts. Her smile becomes brighter than any human can make happen. She absolutely loves that dog. I know this sounds extreme, but when Eddie approaches her with his tail wagging, she expresses her affections on a whole different level.
This may sound weird, but I believe the Father delights in us in a very similar way. When we approach Him, His smile brightens a bit more. When we go to Him, to be with Him, His affections are expressed on a different level. I imagine our Father literally changing His demeanor when His children draw near. There is a very real sense in which our being with Him is therapy...for Him.
Consider this thought: “The heavens, indeed the highest heavens, belong to the LORD your God, as does the earth and everything in it. Yet the LORD had His heart set on your fathers and loved them. He chose their descendants after them—He chose you out of all the people, as it is today” (vs. 14-15, emphasis mine). The One who owns everything in the universe, the One who has anything and everything at His disposal to love and bring Him joy, chose YOU to set His heart on and love! His entire countenance changes when you are with Him because it is YOU. Out of everything He could set His affection on, you are the thing that causes Him to lean in when you are near.
Let that sink in.
Before you try to “do your best” to live for Him, before you think through how to “show your love” to Him, before you try doing this whole thing called life, force your soul to believe the reality that God has set His heart on you and has chosen you. Work with all of your might to believe—to really trust—that the Father delights in and adjusts His emotions when you talk to Him.
Genuine love for God results from a genuine trust in a deep love from Him.
- What is that “thing” that causes your heart to melt, face to brighten, countenance to change, posture to adjust? A child? A spouse? A grandchild? A dog? What is it that you do? Why do your emotions change?
- Is it hard to imagine God being that way toward you? Why or why not?
- Ask the Father to help you believe the truth about His affections towards you and to show you how to live out of that reality.
- Journal your thoughts as to how being delighted in by God might transform the way you live.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.