Friday, March 07, 2008

Follow Your Heart?

Recently I have been reading through Numbers. Without fail every time I read through the O.T. I am blown away by the holiness of God. I never get used to this holy God. He pummels my heart and my nonchalant attitude towards sin, purity and as well as my lack of God-centeredness.

Tonight I was reading through Numbers 15 and came upon some great stuff that hit me between the eyes! (By the way, I don't like to get hit between the eyes normally, but this stuff knocks me down to the floor and on my face! From there God allows me to see the glory of God like I otherwise could not.) The previous section had just referred to the death penalty for those who defiantly sin against God. A defiant Sabbath law breaker is then found and is stoned to death. Then comes this amazing statement: "...remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after." (v. 39b)

How many of us does this condemn? In America, and increasingly in Japan, we often hear the phrase, "Follow your heart," in a manner that is encouraging and comforting. But this is not what God's Word says. God says in Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?"

We are not to follow our hearts, but rather the Holy Spirit. We as Christians (including me!) need to begin to develop a closer connection with the Spirit of God by His Word and prayer so that we can be sensitive to His leading over the leading of our sinful hearts. He wants to guide us.

One final tidbit (I won't say it is two cents, because it is worth much more than I can understand!) A few weeks ago when I was reading through Leviticus I came across a blog about a Japanese man who had been at a YWAM camp. There they literally saw what it would be like to have your sin atoned for in the O.T. Reading about animal sacrifice, sometimes it is so detached from our daily life that it doesn't quite hit us as it ought. Not only were these innocent animals, they were precious resources to the people. Having to put your hand on your own innocent goat that followed you everyday in the fields would be so hard! You know that in passing your sin onto the scape-goat that your own sins must be paid for by death. That is the just punishment for your sin. Seeing this innocent goat slaughtered by human hands woke me up to the reality of what our sin cost the spotless Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, our Savior and God. (If you cannot handle seeing blood, I would suggest not looking at the pictures on this blog. If you can, and you want to see "first hand", here is the webpage. You need to scroll down some to see the pictures.)

Father, forgive us for killing your Son!


satomi said...

Hello, Mark,

You've just put what's been in my heart lately into words! Yes, we treat our sin too casually and lightly. We should remind ourselves more often that our God is the same God in the O.T.; He is so holy that we can never be close to God without going through complicated rituals with killing and shedding innocent animals.

I think you are a great writer and a communicator. I thank God that He chose you and Maki-san,( I am a fan of her blog.)to win souls of Japanese. Praying for your mission!


Doug said...

Wow. Good thoughts here bro. Our depravity as sinners should humble us and cause us to look to the One who did what we could not do. I guess that's what the Law (including the book of Numbers) is there for ... to expose our sin and God's holiness so we would be pointed to Christ.

On a different note ... that was pretty shocking to see those pictures of the sacrifice. Not sure what I think of it, as far as actually doing it! What do you think?

Mark and Maki said...

Hey Doug,

They did actually eat the goat meat, so it wasn't just for a show.

A lot of this made me think about how we need somehow to have more respect/fear of God and regard for His holiness in our worship services. Of course all to bring it back to Christ's final sacrifice which satisfies God's righteousness. It seems like most of our worship services brush too quickly over our sin and the holiness of God.