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Heart, Soul, and Might

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

-Deuteronomy 6:5


Sinai desert near Ein Hudra (Egypt). According to biblical tradition, the people of Israel received the commandments from God at Mount Sinai (also called Horeb) after their Exodus from Egypt. Image courtesy of bibleodyssey.org.

What do you love? What do you spend your time thinking about, dreaming about, and looking forward to? Is it a hobby like music, dance, or sports? Is it a person like your mom, dad, or grandparent? Whatever (or whoever) you love, it requires loyalty. In the Bible, the command to love God includes the idea of being loyal to him. This loyalty involves worshipping him alone; indeed, there is no other god besides him!


We are commanded to love God with all of our heart, soul, and might. In biblical language, your heart is how you make decisions. So loving God with all your heart is not just a feeling, it’s a decision. Additionally, in biblical language the word “soul” describes a desire that is often represented by the throat or neck. For example, Psalm 42:1 says “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” Isaiah 55:2 says, “Listen to me, and eat what is good. And let your soul delight itself in abundance.” These verses illustrate the idea that in biblical times people viewed the soul as being closely associated with the desires of hunger and thirst. So to love the LORD with all your soul means to desire him the way we desire food and water. Finally, to love God with all our might means to love him with all of our strength or power. In other words, to love him with every ounce of energy we can muster.


In sum, we are commanded to love God with all of our heart (which refers to a conscious decision to worship him only), with all of our soul (which means to hunger and thirst for him) and with all of our might (which means to direct all of our physical strength toward serving him). When you sing, you can bless the LORD with all your soul. When you dance or play sports, you can love God with all your might. And when you decide to focus all your loyalty on God alone, you are loving him with all your heart.

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