Monday, August 3, 2015

The Heart Turns Away, Part 1

Chuckle: Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited - until you try to sit in their pews!
Quote: “The hearing ear is always found close to the speaking tongue.” --Douglas Jerrold
"But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen for (wilt not hear) my voice and are not obedient), and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship (serve) them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed" (Deuteronomy 30:17 combined KJV, NIV, NLT).
When I was a boy, my family lived in a rural area (back in the sticks) in the mountains of North Arkansas. In the summer, I loved to spend time exploring the woods, streams, and caves around our home. But I knew that about sundown my Mother would step onto the back porch and call me to come in because it was getting late. But often I didn't want to come home because I was having so much fun doing what I wanted to do.
In my childish mind, I came up with the perfect excuse for not answering Mother's call. If I could get far enough away from home at sundown, so that I could not hear her voice, how could she possibly hold me responsible for not obeying her? Later, I could say, "Mom, I didn't hear you calling me!" My heart and mind were turned away to other things which had become more important than listening for and obeying Mother's voice.
I think our attitude toward hearing God's voice is sometimes quite similar. If our hearts are turned away from God and other things become more important than hearing God's voice of instructions for our lives, we will be out of earshot and will not want to hear Him and obey Him.
As a pastor, I have heard Christians say, "I just haven't heard God telling me to take that Sunday School teacher position" -- or some other ministry responsibility within the church. Could it be that some have turned their hearts away from God and can no longer hear Him and don't know if God is speaking to them or not?
To hear God, we must draw near unto Him and listen intently for His voice. When our hearts turn away from God, we have allowed something, or someone, to draw us away and become more important to us than hearing and obeying God. In our passage, we see the classic pattern of God's people rebelling against Him.
This pattern includes: (1) we allow our hearts to turn away from God; (2) because we aren't listening, communication with God stops; (3) we begin to disobey God's commands; then (4) we are drawn away and begin to worship substitute gods. Next time we will look more deeply into each of these steps in rebellion against God.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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