Lord's Day Liturgy

Affection Deficit

I finished reading 2 Chronicles again, and this time through the number of references to a man doing things with “all his heart” stood out to me. Jehoshaphat “sought the LORD with all his heart” (22:9), every work Hezekiah undertook he did “with all his heart” (31:21), Josiah committed to walk after the LORD “with all his heart” (34:31).

This got me thinking about the Great Commandment, of course, to love God with all our hearts (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37). And it also got me curious about whether the phrase “all his heart” relates to what modern men often call focus or being present and not distracted. So I searched for “all heart” in Scripture.

There is definitely a connection between attention deficit and affection deficit. So, for example, social media manipulation works on weak loves; the algorithms don’t have divine power.

Which brings me to the surprise I found in my searching.

I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul. (Jeremiah 32:41)

That is not the high priest or a king speaking, it is the LORD Himself. God reveals His commitment in whole-hearted terms. In context the LORD is speaking to Israel about post-captivity. But His intention is to gather again and make a people and be their God. Divine power is at work changing our hearts.

I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. I will put the fear of me in their hearts that they may not turn from me. (verses 39-40)

Again the promise is directly to Israel, and by extension we receive application of the LORD’s intent. He is committed, with all His heart, to overcoming our affection deficit, and giving us proper fear of Him, faithful obedience to Him, and full affections for Him.