Solomon cautions the people that God sees more than just the dirt of the day. He sees our hearts and judges them according to His will. Our hearts are bare before him.
We are looking today at a few verses that speak of God’s ability to see our hearts. There is nothing hidden from Him. He sees when I rise and when I lay down. He sees my going out and coming in. He knows my past, present and future. He knows the trials I will face and the ways I will choose. Not because He forces me to take the path He wants but because He KNOWS my heart and where it will lead.
Even Satan and all his minions are known by God. Every scheme, every thought, every dirty trick lays open before God. NOTHING they do surprises Him. I am CERTAIN He even knew which angels would rebel against His authority BEFORE He created them. He certainly knew we would rebel. Jesus’ substitution work was NOT an after-thought or a mad scramble to fix what caught Him off guard. He KNEW before He spoke the FIRST “Let there be…”
In verse 10 we are told that God severely disciplines those who “forsake the way.” When I look at this I am reminded that God holds His children to a higher standard than the rest of the world. Yes, sin is sin, but once You give Him your life He expects change and growth in our character.
When He took Israel as His own, He spoke to them personally and called for them to live different from the rest of the nations. They agreed to this. But then they broke their promise again and Again and AGAIN. He was patient with them for a time. Actually, if it weren’t for Moses pleading on their behalf, He was ready to wipe them out and start again.
I’m curious; were His words of total destruction simply words of frustration or did He really have it in His heart to do so? My mom used to use words of frustration on us that we KNEW she didn’t really mean. “Go play in the freeway.” “I’m going to beat you bloody.” “I’m going to tear your head off and throw it in your face.” “I’m going to tear your arm off and beat you with the bloody end of it.” NO WAY did she mean these literally! We knew it then and I know it now, but were God’s words to Moses a way to inspire him to stand up for the people, words of frustration, or His true intent? Just a thought that occurred to me.
After some time, God DID destroy that first group of adults who set out for the Promised Land under His hand. Their discipline was SEVERE! Not because God is a vengeful God but because there was no hope for real change in their hearts. They never truly gave themselves fully to God. They always had one foot back in Egypt. Whenever times got tough they began whining to ‘go back’ to the lives they knew.
The second generation didn’t know anything besides their reliance on the Lord. They ‘grew up’ gathering mana. They watched the pillar of fire and cloud every day. They saw the results of their parents’ rebellion. And they chose not to follow in those footsteps. They gave themselves fully to the Lord and He blessed them for doing so. But He also expected them to pass these same values, laws, and relationship down to their children. They did to an extent but there came a time when their children’s children no longer served the Lord. Their children received the “severe discipline” promised here.
It’s funny to see that Solomon is the one telling the people about the “severe discipline” of the Lord for those who “forsake the way” when HE was directly responsible for leading them away from “the way.” Solomon brought God’s wisdom to the people along with reintroducing them to other gods. All I can say is “WHY!”
Those who hated God’s “reproof”/discipline rejected the positive impact it could have brought in their lives, and they died without Him. EVERY person who does not turn to the Lord will suffer eternal death. But His children who turn from Him after TRULY knowing Him will suffer a different kind of pain.
Here comes a point of contention in the body of Christ today. I am going to state what I believe but you are free to disagree with me. There are some points that are fast and true but there are others that we hold to because that is how His Spirit has directed my path. It is also in line with many theologians.
The one point that we all agree on is that salvation comes through Jesus, God’s Son. He paid the price for our sin and He offers freely, to any who would accept it, membership in the Family of God. Unfortunately, from this point on, ideas and beliefs begin to divide and separate. They separate us from one another and THIS OUGHT NOT TO BE. I wish I could say I KNOW the answer to every question that separates us, but I don’t. I only know what the Lord has spoken to my heart.
The point I’m addressing is “eternal salvation.” There are those who believe that once a person is “saved” they need do nothing else from that point on. It doesn’t matter what their behavior or how they live from that point on. They are “sealed” into the Family of God. Others believe that it is a daily struggle to remain “saved” and it is possible to, if you are not walking closely with the Lord at the moment of death or the rapture (another dividing point), be sent to Hell as a non-believer. There are others who believe in a middle ground. I’m in that camp.
Simply put, I believe that once a person truly gives their life to God, there is NOTHING Satan can do to pry them out of God’s hand. If they TRULY gave their life to the Lord then there WILL be evidence of a change. Without that evidence then the commitment is in question. But we don’t have to fear that one wrong move at the wrong time will ‘cut the thread’ that we are hanging over Hell by. We WILL answer for our works before Him, both good and bad, but His children are NEVER un-adopted. Because He loves us, He welcomes us into His family permanently. Because we love Him, we change our behaviors to meet the desires of our Father. As a pastor of mine used to say, “I may be saved, but when I get to Heaven and all my worthless works are burned away, I don’t want to be left with only smoking buns!”
I want to go back to the beginning of our time together and revisit something I said. I said that “God holds His children to higher standards than the rest of the world.” What I mean is that God has ONE standard for salvation; belief in Jesus Christ and that His substitution on the cross bought salvation for us. All those on the unbelief side of this have one fate; eternal death and separation for God. But those on the believing side of this are expected to grow and “produce fruit” that demonstrates their faith. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26). God requires His children to grow because they ARE His children. “An apple tree doesn’t have to try to produce apples instead of pears, it produces apples because it IS an APPLE tree.” (This analogy came from my Aunt sharing what a pastor of hers shared.) God’s children produce fruit acceptable unto Him because they are HIS children. And when they don’t, He “prunes” them so they can.
Father God, THANK YOU FOR JESUS! Thank You for Your love and Your gift of salvation. Thank You for caring enough about me to “discipline” me when I need it. For showing me how and causing me to grow. Thank You that You NEVER give up on me; that I am SAFE in Your hands. Thank You that I will never be un-adopted!
I look forward to hearing YOU views on all the different questions that divide us today. I’m grateful for the unifying places. Without them we wouldn’t be “the body of Christ” but just a bunch of people who get together to pass the time.
Draw me closer to You each day Father. Help me bear fruit that is a delight to You.