Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It's a Heart Matter

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Sometimes you just can't get away from something.

So... (all references today from the NIV 84)

Ps. 14:1 and 53:1 both read:

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."

I have heard that statement referenced in conversations, both public and private, regarding politicians and celebrities who have made no secret of the fact that they do not believe in any kind of supernatural entity at all and scorn those who do.

However,  I would like to point out that these verses do not say that a fool is one who says with his mouth, 'There is no God,' but one who says in his heart, 'There is no God.'

The difference is that the first doesn't even pretend to believe, but the second...well, consider the narrative that begins the book of 2 Kings.

Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, was king of the northern kingdom of Israel.  He had an accident and was injured, so he sent some guys to an idol shrine to inquire of the idol to see if he would live.

At the word of God, Elijah met them on the way and said (paraphrased),"Go back and tell the king, 'Is it because there is no God in Israel that you have to inquire of idols?  God says, because you have behaved like this, you will not get up from your sickbed but die there.' "

The king was less than pleased this response and figured out that it was Elijah who had sent this message back.  So he sent a captain with a company of 50 men to bring Elijah back to him.

The captain went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, "Man of God, the king says, 'Come down!' "

Elijah answered the captain, "If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!"  Then fire fell from heaven and consumed the captain and his men.  (2 Kings 1:9 - 10)

When those guys failed to return, Ahaziah sent another captain with his fifty men and the above scenario was repeated with the second captain being a little more insistent:

"Man of God, this is what the king says, 'Come down at once!' "

This group got the same response as the first, fire included.

When the second group failed to return, Ahaziah sent a third captain with his fifty men.  But this guy had a clue.

The third captain went up and fell on his knees before Elijah. "Man of God," he begged, "please have respect for my life and for the lives of these fifty men, your servants!" (2 Kings 1:13)

So, I ask, which of the three captains actually believed Elijah was a man who represented the most high God?  Who believed that God's authority exceeded the king's?

Yet they all referred to Elijah as a man of God...they all proclaimed God, but only one actually behaved as if he believed God was somebody to be respected.

The fool, the psalmist says, is someone who, in his heart, does not believe God matters.  Oh, this may be a person who proclaims God with the same words as one who follows God, someone who may even follow the ritual of worship.

But when it comes down to it, they live their lives as if God did not exist.  As if God's decrees really do not matter.

These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.  - Is. 29:13

I grieve when I hear people tossing around the respect of God as rhetoric or social obligation but negate the truth of God by their actions...and believe me, no one group has a corner on that market.

There are still areas of my own life that are not submitted fully to God...things in which I am yet foolishly not applying the truth of God's sovereignty.  I struggle with my flesh.  I cannot judge others.

This is my prayer for revival...that the blinders would fall off, that we would draw near with our hearts.

That the people who proclaim God with their mouths would truly serve Him in their Hearts.

If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. - 2 Chron 7:14

It is not up to the folks proclaiming anti-God rhetoric to repent to save the nation, it is up to those who bear His name.  Individually.

We can send 'round emails and campaign for rights and protest injustice, but the secret is changed hearts.  And it must begin with me.

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