Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Scary Message

My goal for this blog is to share with my readers the message God gives me in each passage I read. So each morning, when I have my devotions, I ask God to make me open to what He is saying to me. Then, later, when I write the blog entry, I ask God to help me write it clearly for you. It’s all about what God wants to say to me, and then to you.

The leaders of Israel decided to ask God for a message. The Old Testament is full of messages from God to His people. But in this case, the leaders were idolaters, so God was not inclined to listen to their request. But He did have a message for them.

Repent and turn away from idols and stop all your detestable sins.

In case they rejected God and continued in idolatry, He had a different message for them.

God would turn away from them and make a terrible example of them.

God had no reason to listen to their requests because they had idols in their hearts. They loved someone or something more than they loved God. He hates that. So He told them that their great idolatry deserved a certain kind of answer. But He loves His people, so even this terrible judgment against those who had rejected Him had a loving reason behind it. God gave this answer to capture the minds and hearts of all His people and to show that He is the Lord, their sovereign God.

So back to God’s message to me. I can’t ask for a message if I love something or someone more than I love God. Idolatry removes the possibility of God listening to my requests. It makes my prayers ineffective.

But God wants to capture my mind and heart. Idolatry in my heart is an emotional and mental sin, so repenting and turning away is also mental and emotional. Whatever the idol is, I love it; I am emotionally entangled with it. But it also captures my thoughts, so turning away from it starts (for me) with a mental decision. I recognize it; I think about it; I research it. Then I repent of it with sorrow for sinning against the Lord. 

When God captures my mind and heart, He dominates my thoughts and my affections. There’s no room for idols. So I will fill my mind with Him. I’ll meditate on Him, memorize His Word, and my love for Him will grow.

So when I ask God to speak to me through His Word, my prayer should begin with self-examination and confession. I should come trembling into His presence, trusting He will speak to me – even if the message is that I need to repent.

If I don’t repent, God will turn away from me and I will be a terrible example. I’ll be wretched because I’ve been abandoned and I surely won’t have anything insightful to share.

I’m so glad He wants to capture my heart and mind because the alternative is too terrible.

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