Keeping God’s commands from the heart

This is the stated goal that God has for all people everywhere.

1 Kings 8:61 – “Therefore let your heart be whole and complete to Yahweh our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.”

As Solomon was dedicating the newly built First Temple, he offered a long and detailed prayer to God that it would be a beacon to Israel and the rest of the world of God’s faithfulness. He prays for righteous judgment and forgiveness for Israel, for overcoming drought and famine, for victory over Israel’s enemies, and even for the foreigners who prayed God to also have their prayers answered.

As he concludes his oration by blessing the assembly before him, he issues the admonition quoted above, that they would remain whole-heartedly faithful to God by keeping his commandments.

1 Kings 8:57-58 – “Yahweh our God be with us, as he was with our ancestors; may he not leave us or abandon us, but incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances, which he commanded our ancestors.”

Key within Solomon’s admonitions to the assembly are two things: following God’s commands, and doing so with whole-hearts that are inclined toward God. This is also the hope and prediction of the prophets throughout the rest of Israel’s history:

Psalm 119:10-11 – I have sought you with all my heart; don’t let me wander from your commands. I have treasured your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you.

Jeremiah 31:33 – “Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days” ​– ​Yahweh’s declaration. “I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Ezekiel 11:19-20 – “I will give them integrity of heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove their heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh, “so that they will follow my statutes, keep my ordinances, and practice them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.

The new covenant is all about keeping God’s commands from the heart. According to Yeshua, there are two commandments which are the summation of everything taught in the entire Law and Prophets, or the Tanakh, what we call the Old Testament.

Matthew 22:37-40 – “He said to him, ‘Love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.'”

If, as Solomon prayed, God’s people (even those who would have been considered foreigners to them) would simply keep God’s commands from the heart, they would be faithfully “walking in his ways.” This is the goal of all of the entirety of the Biblical narrative: that people walk in God’s ways sincerely and from the heart.

Micah 6:8 – Mankind, he has told each of you what is good and what it is Yahweh requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 – When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is this: fear God and keep his commands, because this is the whole duty of humanity.

This is what integrity looks like: it is the fulfillment of all that Solomon prayed for, the promise that the prophets predicted, and the consummation of what Yeshua accomplished. Now it is up to us to go and live it out among our generation.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Vigilance in self-monitoring our righteous behavior

Our heart is the strength of our walk.

The proverbs of Solomon carry so much practical and helpful information, I find it is extremely fruitful to glean its depths for ongoing inspiration and godly motivation. My personal practice is to continually review its content each month. Since there are thirty one chapters, it’s easy to review a chapter a day, doubling up as needed on months with less than thirty one days.

In our ongoing topic of vigilance and watchfulness in righteous actions, this passage toward the end of the fourth chapter (Proverbs 4:24-27) provides some helpful admonitions to ensure we are staying on the right path.

“Don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly, and don’t let your lips talk deviously.”

This wise advice from Solomon is easily nested as a further description of the ninth commandment, to not bear false witness against anyone. We should always be ensuring that our speech remains truthful and honest at all times.

“Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead.”

When we are distracted from our main focus, it is easy to get led astray. Instead, as we keep our eyes on the goal before us, we will be much less likely to deviate from the purpose that God has called us to.

Philippians 3:12-14 – “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Messiah Yeshua first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Messiah Yeshua, is calling us.”

“Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established.”

Many times, where we run into problems in our walk is that we move forward impulsively without due consideration or prayer ahead of time. In those times we can find ourselves quickly removed from the path that God has called us. Better to take our time and carefully consider our options and responses ahead of time. Doing so provides the confidence that we are continually moving in the right direction in the way God has established.

“Don’t turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil.”

Similar to the admonition to keep our gaze fixed straight ahead is the further prompting to ensure our actual progress stays on track, even if we may be temporarily distracted in our focus. Whatever may gain our immediate attention “off-path,” we should be sure our steps remain “on-path,” and to not mindlessly drift toward evil actions.

Overall, each of these actions requires a sense of vigilance and discipline regarding the monitoring of our own behaviors. At the beginning of the passage, Solomon provides a specific key that helps us maintain this sense of vigilance.

Proverbs 4:20-21 – “My son, pay attention to my words; listen closely to my sayings. Don’t lose sight of them; keep them within your heart.”

Just as Solomon encouraged his son to follow his wisdom, we can do so with the wisdom of our Father if we also don’t lose sight of his instruction, his torah, by keeping it within our heart. This is, after all, the goal and fulfillment of the New Covenant.

Jeremiah 31:33 – “Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days” ​– Yahweh’s declaration. “I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

God’s people are those who have his teaching, his torah, within their hearts. This is how we are enabled to remain on the path he has laid out for us, when we are vigilant in guarding that which he has graciously provided. Only then can his purpose be established in each generation.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

True holiness stems from the presence of God, his words, living within our hearts

Those who live and abide by God’s precepts are doing so because it makes up the very essence of who they are.

Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant, for I am with you,” says the LORD.

Jeremiah 46:28

The one thing that set ancient Israel apart from their neighboring tribes and countries was that their God was present. While other kingdoms and countries had their gods, their idols, and their temples, Israel actually had the God of the universe with them.

God allowed himself to be present within their Mishkan, the portable sanctuary that traveled with them. His presence resided in the Most Holy Place, by all accounts hovering above and within the ark of the covenant, which contained the tablets of the Ten Words, the Ten Commandments.

This covenant, these Ten Words, are what separated Israel from their neighbors. This is what made them holy; they were to abide by the actual commands of God, written with his own finger, etched eternally into stone.

There was no fanciful prophetic vision or private revelation; these words had been conveyed to the entire assembly of Israel at once as he himself spoke these words from Sinai. Everyone heard his voice, everyone felt the weight of his presence and struggled with the fear, real fear, at hearing the resounding and penetrating voice of God.

On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and all the people trembled.

Exodus 19:16

For they heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. They staggered back under God’s command: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, “I am terrified and trembling.”

Hebrews 12:19-21

Israel was born of revelation, a revelation to an entire people at once. This is what set them apart, and this was the heart of their most sacred place and artifacts that they carried with them throughout their wilderness journeys and into the land promised to them.

To this day, what sets God’s people apart is this covenant, the Ten Words. There is no equal among the religious communities of the world,

The illustration for us through what is pictured in the wilderness journeys of Israel is that just as God resided within that Most Holy Place above the ark of the covenant, God’s very presence resides within these Ten Words, the Ten Commandments. As we seek to fulfill these commands, then we are truly following in the footsteps of our Lord, the Messiah Yeshua.

“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Matthew 5:17-19

This is the everlasting covenant that remains forever. The “new” covenant ushered in through Yeshua is a martyr’s covenant of dying to self so that the words of the everlasting covenant can be lived through us. It places this covenant in the hearts of those who would receive them, those who are called by his Name and who live and abide by its precepts because it makes up the very essence of who they are.

“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the LORD. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Jeremiah 31:33

This is holiness, being set apart for the purposes of God. He is present within the words of his covenant, and as the covenanted words are in our heart, he is present within us.

God is present. This sets us apart. This makes us whole. This is the essence of his kingdom on the earth.