(By Angela Watson)
“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (Psalm 86:11).
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like you were surrounded by trouble? David knew this feeling all too well and, as he begins his prayer in Psalm 86, he pours out his heart in desperation to God for help.
As he expresses confidence that God will hear and answer his prayer, David shifts his focus from his current need to God’s greatness. He chooses to rely on God’s faithfulness and to stand in awe of His name. So he makes these two requests: teach me your ways and give me an undivided heart.
The longing of his heart is to know God better and to be more obedient to Him — for his heart to be undivided in its loyalty.
This is what God desires for each of us, a heart that is united, joined as one with Him.
In Deuteronomy 6, after Moses shares the ten commandments with the people of Israel, he tells them, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5).
Jesus declared that this was the greatest commandment and together with the command to love your neighbor as yourself, these two were the basis for all the Law and the prophets (Matthew 22:34-40).
What do we know about our hearts? Jeremiah doesn’t mince words when he speaks to the condition of our hearts: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Much like our own hearts are deceitful and lead us astray, so it was with the Israelites who turned from loving God with all their hearts and followed idols. As a result, their sin brought them into captivity and they remained in exile until their hearts turned back to Him.
God’s intention for them is reflected in His promise, “I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them” (Jeremiah 32:39).
In Ezekiel 11, God redefined his relationship with His remnant with these words: “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.”
God, in His grace and His mercy, not only redeems our souls, but He redeems our hearts, too.
When we trusted Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit took up residence in us. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that our hearts are changed from hearts of stone to hearts of flesh undivided in our desire to follow God and walk in His ways.
Despite the tendency of our hearts to stray, we can trust God to restore and make us women after His own heart. May it be true of us as it was of David, “He [God] raised up David…and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will’” (Acts 13:22).
I pray we would purse an undivided heart, joined as one with God, to know Him, to be faithful to Him, to serve Him and to love Him with our heart, soul, mind and strength.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Come Thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be
Let Thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, oh take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above