Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Can I Have Peace Without Understanding?


Do you ever ache with the pain that comes from not understanding?
Do you ever groan in agony because you can’t discern right from wrong?

It hurts when I can’t see the right path to choose.
It keeps me awake at night.
Groaning on my knees in prayer.
Not wanting to bring dishonor to God’s name.

How do I discern truth? 
How do I know what is holy and good when the truth is muddied with lies?
Where is the deception?
Where is the quicksand?
Where is the firm foundation that I am looking for?
I weep at times in my agony.
Trapped.
Unable to obey.
The storm clouds brooding.



and so I wrestle with God.....

This has been me these past few weeks. It all started when I read a complex passage of Scripture. Unable to understand, I decided to do more reading, research and general searching on the topic. You see, I wanted to know how this passage applied to my life as a Mother of three children, living in hot and humid Brisbane in 2014;  2000 or so years from Jesus’ life on earth. I wanted to understand how to define when a teaching is cultural and when it is a command to obey. Let’s just say the internet was not really any help!  There can come a time when you can have an overload of information. Too many choices. Too many opinions - all of them differing. All of them claiming to be correct. 

How do you decide when you yourself are not a Hebrew or Greek scholar? 
Who can you trust?
Feeling overwhelmed, I was starting to fear.
Why?
Because I love God and I was wanting to obey. Frustration was high, for I couldn’t see how to obey.
So in my angst I poured out my heart to my Father.

And this is how He led me.

It’s all about the heart.

In the Bible, God describes two types of hearts:

Heart 1
King Saul’s heart was one of hyper-grace. Let me explain. In 1 Sam 15 Saul is given clear instructions from God to obey. He is to totally destroy the Amalekites. He completely understands the instructions. He is able to discern right from wrong. He chooses to disobey. Why? Samuel nails him on this is verses 22-23. 

Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams”

In Saul’s day, the sacrifices and the fat of rams were used to atone for a man’s sin before God. Saul in his nonchalance, decided he would just disobey God then do a whole heap of sacrifices to atone for his deliberate act of disobedience. His heart was one of ‘I can do what I like. The sacrifices will cover me’. God despises this proud type of heart.  

Paul talks about this same issue in Romans. Some people were deliberately choosing to do the wrong thing when they did understand God’s commands, claiming that it was all covered at the cross! Paul was pretty worked up about this issue, for it comes from a wrong heart. This is not a heart that longs to obey God. It’s one that tramples God’s costly grace in the mud and treats it as worthless. It’s the “once saved always saved’ mentality that some bandy about when confronted with deliberate, conscious sin. I have done this at times in the past. It is how I learnt this lesson about Saul. Don’t learn it the hard way like I did. Like Saul did. It lost him his kingship. There are always consequences for deliberate sin I’ve found.


Heart 2
The second heart is one that longs to please God, even when it cannot understand what to do. It is the heart that asks for mercy and strength to obey God’s instructions. It is a heart that wants to obey out of love for God. The thought of grieving God’s Spirit is an abhorrence.

Psalm 51:17 says that the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a contrite heart. God will never despise this.

Romans 8 says that the righteous requirements of the law are fully met in those of us who desire what God’s Spirit desires. These people are not under condemnation.

Proverbs 4:27 says  “Make level paths for your feet and take only the ways that are firm.”

In my angst to understand the passage I spoke of earlier, I had thought I had the first heart, but God has shown me in the last day or so that I had the second in this situation. These three verses brought great peace to me, for I saw that I was not under God’s condemnation when I could not understand what was asked of me. My previous fear was based on the fact that I felt I was under God’s condemnation for not obeying a passage, though I did not understand it. God only required that I obey the ways that I could clearly see as right and true. The firm paths.

It takes TIME to learn the firm paths says Philippians 3. It takes TIME to mature in my faith. It takes TIME to have clarity on an issue.

So this is how he led me. I still do not have the answers I am asking for. But I am waiting on Him and resting in his grace.  For we both desire the same thing - obedience to truth. I can have peace.


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