Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hearts of Flesh

To what lengths will God go to pour out His steadfast love upon a generation of people who cannot seem to grasp that He alone is truly enough?

According to the Word, God goes to great lengths for us.

One simple story of my childhood defines perfectly my very wandering, stubborn nature.  As my mother tells it, it was a lovely summer day many years ago.  I was probably four years old and loved making the "long trek" down the driveway to the mailbox with my mother.  According to her, she proceeded to grab the mail while I stood at the very edge of the driveway, longingly peering into the unknown world of the busy street before me.  She warned, "Kristen, do not walk out into the street.  You do not go across the street by yourself."  That warning made the lure of the pavement even greater, so what did I decide to do?  You guessed it--I walked out into the middle of the street, disobeying my watching mother.  Needless to say, I got a long talking-to, some gentle, but serious discipline, and I never did it again.

The point?  I still wander "into the street" when God tells me not to.  I still disobey Him, even to this day.  I would like to think that most of the time it is unknowingly so, but I also realize that my heart can be deceitful and my mind selfish.  I usually have a pretty clear sense of when I am disobeying Him.

The next few blog posts, I would like to look at Scripture that speaks of how God is strong in our weakness, and how His character is forgiving and steadfast, even after we have walked away from Him time and time again, as we strive for worldly gods.  Today I read Exodus 34:

v. 1-4: "The LORD said to Moses, “Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain. No one shall come up with you, and let no one be seen throughout all the mountain. Let no flocks or herds graze opposite that mountain.” So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone."

Up to this point in the Israelite's journey through the wilderness, they have complained to God about their weary conditions and fashioned a false god out of their gold jewelry.  Moses was so upset at their idolatry that he broke the tablets of stone altogether, the ones written by God for their good.  A couple of points that these four verses seem to make, in application both for Moses and for us today:

*"which you broke": God, despite the unfaithfulness of the Israelites in forgoing the commands written on the tablets, recognizes the broken state of the people (and literally, that Moses broke the tablets into pieces by his anger).  Yet, in all His love and grace, He again writes "on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets".  The Lord grants another chance to gift His voice and is willing to rewrite His commands on our hearts over and over again.

*"no one": It seems that God wants to get alone with Moses, huh?  He makes it very clear that, in order to speak clearly and personally to Moses, He wants Moses to come utterly alone.  When has the Lord called you to find solitude with Him?  No noise, distraction, or companions, just God and you?

*"So Moses...": Moses obeys.  God commands; Moses acts accordingly.  How often do I get an inkling from God to be obedient in some way, yet make an excuse to not act?  Or to simply miss His prompting because I am distracted?  All too often.

The point: Even when we are disobedient and break the "tablets" God has given to us for our good, God is always willing to re-craft, re-tell, and re-establish His goodness and love in our hearts.  He will make our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19) as we understand the capacity of His willingness to forgive and love us despite our tendency to stray from Him.

Stay tuned for Part Two of Moses' journey with the Lord on the mountain!  As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and read your comments.  Join me, ladies!

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