Matters of the Heart

Paper heart

Paper heart (Photo credit: jonpayne)

“The midwives answered Pharaoh, ‘The Hebrew women aren’t like the Egyptian women; they’re vigorous. Before the midwife can get there, they’ve already had the baby.’ God was pleased with the midwives. The people continued to increase in number—a very strong people. And because the midwives honored God, God gave them families of their own.” (Exodus 1:19-21 MSG)

“I had to!” were the words expressed when I asked Jonah why he forged my initials. “If I didn’t, I would have had three circles in my planner,” he explained. He wanted to go to Leopard’s Pride and if his teacher saw that he again forgot to have me sign his planner, he wouldn’t be able to go. He would have to sit inside and read instead of enjoy the fun. So, he lied…again! His flesh took over and he impulsively chose to use sin to get what he wanted. He decided it was worth the punishment he would receive later in order to enjoy the fun for now. Jonah, Jonah, Jonah…

Jonah has not received any consequence to this sin. It happened once and I let it go. Now it seems it’s becoming a habit for him. I guess he figures, since there is no sentence attached to this crime, he can just keep lying. A reprimand is not a punishment, so he’ll endure the speech and just keep doing what he wants because the end result is pleasure. That’s how he handles everything. He weighs everything out to see if it’s worth it. If the punishment isn’t harsh, he’ll endure it for a short time and still indulge in his sin. The problem is, his actions are not the problem; it’s his heart. His choices are not based on honoring God. His choices are selfish, self-serving and fleshly.

This morning I began reading Exodus. Today began the story of slavery for the Hebrews. A new king is on the throne and sees the population of the Hebrews growing and begins to get nervous. He decides to kill all of the male boys and he orders the Egyptian midwives to do it. He tells them to kill any male baby born. But they don’t do it. They fear God and they allow the boys to live. When they are called in to account for their actions, they lie. They tell the king the babies are born before they get there. They tell him they tried but they can’t get there in time. And then it says “God was pleased with the midwives.” Isn’t that contrary to the character of God? Doesn’t God hate lying lips? How can a holy God be pleased with lying?

I sat and thought about this for a long time this morning. It just didn’t make sense, but what God was looking at was their hearts. He didn’t look on their actions as selfish or sinful. The fact is, they feared Him. They knew the Hebrew people were God’s people and they refused to bring harm to them. They risked their own lives in order to honor God. If the king found out, he could order them to be killed. In return for their dedication, God not only protected them, He chose to bless them.

After much time in thought trying to wrap my head around this, I came to a conclusion. I don’t think God condones lying, but I do think God is concerned with matters of the heart. Even when we do all the right things, He looks at our motives. The fact that God would choose us even though our hearts are desperately wicked is a miracle in and of itself. But He doesn’t leave us in our despicable state, He changes us. He molds us and He transforms us to look like Him on the inside. Then, He uses our actions to bless those around us. Our purpose for doing good to others changes from selfish gain to divine prompting. Now that’s miraculous!

Thank you Lord that You are every changing us. Each day our selfishness

diminishes a little and more of Your heart is revealed. Thank You for being

a relentless God who pursues us, molds us and forms us so we may be

more like You!


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2 thoughts on “Matters of the Heart

  1. Great words, Lori! There are often contradicting stories in the Bible, and it’s nice when someone can put some clarity to it. It’s a fine line, but I completely agree – it’s a matter of the heart, not the lie itself. 🙂

    Like

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