Jan1SunJanuary 1, 2017
The Condition of Our Hearts
The more times I read Torah, specifically Deuteronomy, the more I fear for my people, unsaved Israel. For forty years they have wandered the desert; they have received food each day – food they did not grow themselves – and they received water from sources they did not have to dig. The clothes they wore, from the time they left Egypt, did not wear out – these were passed down from the one generation to the next. Even the sandals they wore on their feet did not wear out, after forty years! What really puzzles me is the understanding they perceived these as natural events of their lives. They did not see these as miracles, given to then by a loving God. Why did they not respond to the supernatural love shown by the Lord God Almighty? Why were their hearts hardened to His usurping the natural laws, the laws He created, replacing them with a different set of laws just for this period of time? And then I’m forced to ask that ever present question, what about us – do we look at the blessings He has given us, the food, the clothing, protection, growth opportunities and love as our due or do we really, in the depth of our hearts, praise Him constantly for His goodness and His provisions?
As believers in Elohim Tzivaot, Almighty God, we have a mirror – Scripture. The Words our great Adonai given to us, through His scribes and prophets, form a looking glass for our hearts and souls. The more we delve into this spiritual mirror, with the true intent of integrating life lessons into our daily lives, the more the image facing us becomes Messiah, Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus. It is He we ought to be seeing in that glass. Somehow, though, our old natures interfere and the image is indistinct, it is distorted, often to the point of being unrecognizable and, so, we ignore that image and focus on what we want to see or, perhaps more prescient, how we wish to be seen by others. But what does this have to do with the condition of our hearts?
It is the condition of our hearts that often prevents us from seeing clearly what is right in front of our eyes. As I was preparing this reflection today, Adonai Elohim, the Lord God, led me to Romans 8. I’m sure many of us know that Scripture by memory. What jumped out to me were the words, those who liveaccording to the flesh think about the things of the flesh. (Romans 8:5) In my lack of trust of God and His promises, I would quite naturally turn to ways in which I can make my life better on my own. There are no other options, are there? There is no other god I can turn to, is there? Oh, I can fool myself with the notion of other gods or I can develop such narcissism as to believe myself a god.
But beloved, we do have a choice! I know we tend to be stubborn, sometimes driven by ego and pride; I know we grow weary of the race, fighting the ever present current of our society that would like nothing more than to see us fail. I do not want any of us to fail in our race, stumble and fall from the fatigue which comes from running on our own strength. He certainly does not want anyone of us to fail. Adonai Yeshua, our Great and Almighty God, has offered us anything we need to finish the race well. He will give you and me the strength, the resolve, the resilience and the courage to complete the task He assigned us, if we but trust Him to provide. That’s all it takes! All we need do is ask! And why is that so hard? For some of us today, we will be in that situation where we will be facing a choice – ask Him or rely on our own resources. I pray for discernment for all of us. I end this reflection with the words of my favorite biblical writer, as he encourages us - So then it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy. (Romans 9:16)
Abba Father, our magnificent Lord and Master, I know we have called upon you to be our strength and our resolve; but you have made it known to me the urgency for us to cling to you in the immediate times that are upon us. Never before in our modern world have we needed your strength, your resolve, your courage than now, for we will be facing events that will be like none other faced by human beings. We will be stretched and strained to the limits of our endurance and be required to go beyond. We will not endure without your efforts. I implore you to show those of us who are in danger of failing the strength you hold for us, if we but ask and trust you will deliver. I pray these in Your beloved name.