Thursday, January 7, 2010

Your Heart Has Reins...Use Them!

I would like to think I am more a "glass half full" kind of gal. I tend to always give people the benefit of the doubt. Since I was a little girl I have longed to help people. Maybe all the time I spent in the refugee camps of Asia aided in that desire. If anything it gave me a keen sense of the suffering and injustice man has caused in this world.

Isn't it interesting than man though the ages has always had cause for justice and fighting the lack there of. A longing to be treated the way he deserves. To have rights to certain things and have freedom from others. This fight is unique to mankind. You don't see the family of the murdered antelope taking the lion that killed him to a court of justice. So what is it in mankind that rejoices at justice and sympathizes with injustice? It is because man above all other things in this creation has value. Mankind is the crown of God's creation. Man was created in the image of God, little lower than the angels. He was crated with a will, an intellect and with emotions. Animals do not have these to the capacity that man does if at all. Animals have instinct; man has a conscience. A notion of the difference between good and bad, just and unjust.

For the most part people think they are good people. More often than not you will hear the same words spoken at a funeral. "He was such a good man." "She really led a good life." In fact one of the most common responses man has in the face of suffering is "Why is this happening to me? I know that I am a good person." So if most non-Christians hold this believe why is it that we as Christians get so caught up in the all consuming wickedness of man's heart? The mantra for Christians such as these seems to be found in Jeremiah.

"The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked who can know it?" Jer. 17:9 KJV

Let's break this verse down into the original Hebrew. Using only the Hebrew words it looks like this "deceitful the heart all desperately who understands?" Well we did away with the word wicked pretty quickly didn't we. The word wicked is not there in the Hebrew. The Hebrew word for desperately is anash meaning weak or sick. The Hebrew word for deceitful is aqob meaning crooked or polluted. It is from the root word aqab meaning take by the heel or tracked with footprints. People...who is the one that bruises the heel? Genesis 3:15 says the devil will strike at the heel but the seed of the woman {Jesus} will crush his head. The heart of man is sick and has been invaded by the footprints of the enemy. Wicked & deceitful is not the way God created you. Let's read on to the next verse.

"I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings." Jer. 17:10

God know that the relentless attack of the enemy on the heart of man has caused deception. So we are to not only judge by the heart but by the reins as well. What are reins? Think in terms of a horse and rider. The reins are a means of restraint and guidance. The reins control which direction the horse is to go. In the same way man has reins to control his heart. I believe that is exactly what God is saying in these verses. The heart is easily deceived so keep it in check with the reins. He goes on to say that you will be held responsible for your deeds and whether you allowed your heart to be deceived or not. Here are some other verses that link the heart with the reins. Ps 7:9, Ps 16:7, Jer 11:20, Jer 20:12, Rev 2:23. A couple more with just reins Ps 16:7, Is 11:5. Be sure to look in the King James Version. The NIV and others have the Hebrew word kilyah (reins) mistranslated as heart, mind etc. How do we know this? Because the Hebrew word kilyah also means kidneys. Confused? Allow me to explain.

If you look at the blood sacrifices in the book of Leviticus and Deuteronomy you will see that the kidneys are specifically mentioned. The kidneys were the last or most inward part of the animal to be seen when preparing it for sacrifice. This is where we get "my inner most parts" in Psalm 139:13. The kidneys were also covered in fat making them most hidden. Because of this the ancient Hebrews believed that the kidneys were the seat of emotion.

What comes to mind when I say emotions? Feelings...happy, sad, love, hate, excitement, fear. Now also think of moral emotions or virtues. The cardinal virtues are known as prudence {discretion}, temperance {self-control}, fortitude {strength/courage} and finally justice. These put simply in the Bible are faith, hope and love. So it could be said the virtue is the control of your emotions. These are the reins to your heart.

What is interesting then is that the kidneys were specifically burned in the alter as sacrifice to God. A kind of "not my will but thy will be done" of the old testament. What it also tells us is that God built something into us to help guide our emotions. A sort of moral compass if you will. Kind of the benefit of the doubt I was talking about earlier. Now not to say there are not people who are deceived. Yes there are. But the key is exactly that...they are deceived not born wicked. Deception is a twisting of something away from the truth. So it is with the heart of man. But also note the deception is from the devil not from man himself.

If anything I hope this is an encouragement to you. To see that God did create man good. You don't have to be a slave to your emotions. He created you fool proof. He created you and everyone else to be free. God knew of the schemes of the devil when He created you. That is why He created us in a way to be able to resist! Just as we teach children how to be aware of their emotions we can do the same. Your choice along with the will of God is powerful. But you have to believe it first. The longer that we tell ourselves that we are just desperately wicked sinners the longer we stay broken and lost. Usually it leads to more sin! People who believe they are just sinners live as just sinners. People that believe they can be or are free by the power of God move in a much healthier direction.

Look guys the message of the gospel should never be "You horrible, worthless, wicked thing!" Many have fled from the church having been under that constant ridicule. If we few the lost this way we devalue who God created them to be. Thinking that people were desperately wicked was the attitude that spurred burning people at the stake in the middle ages. That was the mantra of the crusades and other holy wars "Kill the wretched wicked!" That is not the heart of God. I bet you the man on the street corner with the poster reading "ALL WICKED SINNERS DESERVE TO BURN IN HELL. REPENT OR DIE." has never brought anyone to Christ. If he has it was out of fear on behalf of the "sinner" and that is not God.

The lost are deceived and misguided. They are hurting people that need compassion and freedom from injustice. Young people that have been called worthless and rejected their whole lives. They don't need to hear that they are wicked or that there is no hope for them. We need to be building them up and putting them on the right track. Yes, we all have sinned. But the sin is gone before we even finish saying "God forgive me." We are the ones that choose to continue to carry it around. This will only prolong healing. When you sin repent quickly and move on.

God called us to shepherd the lost. Not to wait and see if they have a change of heart. We need to seek them out and show them before it is too late. Many proclaim that God must move on the heart of man before he can change. But God says that we Christians will be held responsible for how his flock was treated. Not the church the lost. I'd say we better be putting our pious sinner pity party to an end and start looking for some sheep.

"Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not the shepherds take care of the flock?...You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally...they were scattered and became food for wild one searched or looked for them. Therefore I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock." Ezekiel 34:2-10

1 comment:

  1. Very good. I fully agree with all you have said. People have lost their consiences, eg the terrosists who advocate that it's God's/Allah's will that one should blow oneself up. This is truley wicked. In the 10 commandments it is stated you should not murder. What is suicide but self murder? Poleticians also lie when they are on the campaign trail making promises they have no intention of keeping.
    You have worked in refugee camps that are increasing in size daily. My book Almi A Refugee is found in Google. It's a biography of a family of refugees that survived their ordeal. Reading this could encourage others to persevere and survive. Keep going, you are doing good work.
    Best regards, Tiiu Kleyn


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...