Choices; February 22, 2018

Jeremiah 32:39 “I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them.”

Fearing God is a strange thing. If we fail to understand that He is omnipotent and holy and we are neither, then we are far more likely to run off and do our own thing to our own destruction. However, if God is just a scary “Being” to us we will never draw close to Him in the fellowship for which we were created. Part of the difficulty in this issue is linguistic, because there are many places in the Old Testament, like here, that couple fearing God with His blessings, so the meaning of the original word must not be identical to the English (or Japanese) term. Not being fluent in ancient Hebrew, I can’t speak to that! That said, where the NIV says “singleness of heart and action,” the Japanese says, “one heart and one way.” That brings to mind Jesus’ famous statement: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Many places in the Bible speak of being “double-minded,” and we’ve all experienced times of indecision between two or more choices. Part of this is a matter of choice. God offers us one heart and one way, but we have to choose to accept them. That’s why Jesus spoke of the wide and narrow gates in Matthew 7:13-14. If we had no choice in the matter, there would have been no point in His bringing it up. Many people, both religious and secular, take a deterministic view of life, feeling that we are no more than products of our circumstances. However, that flies in the face of most of the Bible. Even secularists sometimes have to back off of that position. Just yesterday I was reading an article that was saying “We have to accept chaos.” In other words, chance happens and choices are real. Coming back to the question of fearing God, if we fail to fear/respect/love Him, we will have no firm basis for all the choices we have to make in life, and we will lose the very meaning of our existence.

I really went all over the map with that! I guess that shows how much we are in need of the “single heart and single way” that God offers us. I am at least as much in danger of wrong choices as anyone else, and I’ve made more than a few in my life. I need to indeed seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, (Matthew 6:33) not just so that physical needs will be met but especially so that I won’t wander away from my Lord, distracted by all sorts of things. I have received grace upon grace, but I must never take any of it for granted, rather living my life in grateful obedience. That is the heart and the way that He has prepared for me.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for all that yesterday held, and all that You have prepared for today. Help me seek and follow Your way step by step, with one heart, to do Your will on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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