remove my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh

19 Mar

I decided to go with a lectionary reading today. I felt like my brain is scattered all over the place and I’m unable to focus even as I keep writing about how lent is a season for me to focus. oh the irony.

So today’s lectionary reading in the Old Testament was Deut 11:18-28. Oh fun, Deuteronomy. But I read them once in a while for kicks, and for other reasons too- like actually be inspired by them. 🙂

The versus I read were talking about remembering God’s commandment. God was serious about these folks really remembering what God was saying to them- instructing them to put the words all over the place- their hearts, mind, souls, bind them on their hands, on the eyelids etc etc. So as I am envisioning binding God’s words on my hands and on my eyelids etc, I began to wonder what these words actually were so I traced back to the beginning of the chapter as well as Chapter 10.

What stuck out to me was not a laundry list of Dos and Don’t (which, by the way, you find LOTS of in Deuteronomy) but in two different places it said to love the Lord your God- although the expansion of “love the Lord your God” various a little bit in the two places, I got the sense that that’s what God was telling the people to lay on their hearts, souls, eyelids etc etc.

It seems so simple. To love the Lord my God. But it really isn’t that simple. And I realized its because I am trying to love God from my heart of stone.   We all start well-meaning. I don’t know how many times I’ve pushed my “spiritual” reset button.  I feel like in some ways that this lent season is another way of pushing that reset button.
But as I was reflecting I remembered a verse in Ezekiel that is so dear to my heart.  This is what God promised; I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Yes, it’s hard to love the Lord my God with all my heart and then to turn around and love my neighbor AND myself if I’m trying to love out of my own limits and my own will because my heart does turn into stone from time to time. But the encouraging word for me today came through the prophet Ezekiel when God promises to give me a new heart, a heart of flesh for my heart of stone.

Thanks be to God that even the ability to love is not from my own strength but from the gift God has placed in me- my heart of flesh.

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