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What God Yearns For — A Heart Inclined Toward Him

Reading: Deuteronomy 5 — 8

Scripture

Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever! Deuteronomy 5:29 NIV

Observations

God so wants to bless us! He yearns for it. “Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me … that it might go well with them…”

If my heart is “inclined” toward him — to delight in him, to please him, to obey the promptings of his Spirit — and as I persist with this, God will release his blessing and favour into my life. This is his heart-felt desire and purpose, as expressed in his words above, but it is the inclination of my heart that determines how much his desire for me is fulfilled.

It's as though his desire to bless and bestow favour is pent up, just waiting for the opportunity to be let out. And the inclination of my heart is the key that opens the flood gates of his goodness. No wonder God wants my devotion!

So how do I incline my heart toward God?

Application

Inclination: A disposition or bent, especially of the mind or will; a liking or preference; to deviate from the horizontal or vertical; to lean or bend in a particular direction.

That definition brings to mind certain flowers that turn toward the sun. They don't just stand stock still, pointing straight upwards and unmoved by the sun's presence. Instead, the flower head turns toward the sun and follows it as it moves across the sky. As it does so, the stalk is compelled to bend as well, so that the whole plant becomes inclined toward its glorious source of life and nourishment.

The more closely and consistently that flower can orient itself toward the sun, the greater the “blessing” it receives.

It's the same with me. Not that I can earn God's blessing — it comes as a free gift — but that the degree to which my heart is turned towards him will actually determine how much he is able to bless me.

Prayer

Father, when I hear your heart's cry for me, I can't help but want to respond — to offer my life wholeheartedly into your hands; to offer to you alone my affection and my devotion. Holy Spirit, help me to hear your voice and feel your promptings. I want my mind and my heart to be fully and always oriented to Jesus, to enjoy his presence and to obey him.

 

Not For Shame, But For Glory!

Reading: Luke 11:1 – 12:11

Scripture

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.

What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. Luke 12:2-3 NIV

Observations

One day, everything that there is to know about us will be known by everyone else. All the good things in our lives — the deep things, the hidden things, the things that show just how good God has been to us — all these will be on display for his glory, a reflection of all that Jesus won for us at the cross. What a wonderful day that will be! What a celebration!

But what of the “not so good” things?

I find great reassurance in knowing this: There will be no shame on that day for sins confessed. They are forgiven and forgotten, for “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12).

But what about unconfessed sin? Is it possible that I could live my life as a follower of Jesus, and yet still harbour sin? Would I not have to completely ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit? And how could I live in such a place of deceit? Obeying that still small voice of the Spirit is the very essence of living the Christian life, “…because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)

But in actual fact, as I think about that day when “all will be revealed”, I find there is no fear within me. Instead, I am comforted by the knowledge that in God's sight, everything is already revealed.

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13).

Application

What a wonderful arrangement! Whenever I turn my eyes toward God, if there is sin or a wrong attitude or something that needs to be put right, it is right there — “uncovered and laid bare” — all ready to be confessed, and forgiven. So long as I keep seeking his face, I need never be afraid of harbouring sin. Sin can't remain in his presence, so he helps me get rid of it, meaning I can always stand before him clean and forgiven.

And now, the priestly blessing in Numbers 6 carries new meaning. As God turns his face toward us, it is inherent in the blessing that he meets our sin with his grace, and replaces our shame with peace.

And when that great day comes when “all is revealed”, it will be for us a day not for shame, but for glory and great joy. Hallelujah!

Prayer

Thank you Jesus that the fruit of your work in my life will one day result in much glory and celebration. I look forward to that day! I agree with what David said: “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.” Psalm 32:1-2 NIV

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26 NIV

Have you tried SOAP? Using SOAP as you read your Bible is a great way to hear what the Holy Spirit has specifically to say to you. Why not try it? You can read about it here: What is SOAP?

 

There’s Power in a Blessing

Reading: Numbers 5-6

Scripture

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

“ ‘ “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ’

“So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27 (NIV)

Observations

There is power in a blessing. A blessing is more than just sentiment or an expression of hope that things will go well. It's more than just “Happy Birthday!” or “Best Wishes!” To speak a blessing is to command God's favour upon a person. Yes, we can bless others through our words or our deeds, but a blessing spoken in God's name and with his authority carries weight because God himself is the one who carries it out.

What a privilege, to be able to move God's hand and direct his favour! What an honour to be God's agent in this world. But who gets to carry this honour? In Old Testament days, it was the priests, whose job it was to represent God to the people, and the people to God. They were like go-betweens. So who are the priests now?

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

And speaking about Jesus: “…you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-11 (NIV)

Application

I have been given the authority and privilege to be able to speak God's blessing into the lives of others! This authority is given to me by Jesus not because of a position I hold but as one of God's “royal priesthood”.

If God has given me authority to bless others in His name, then the blessing I speak will move God's hand. Something about this feels uncomfortable, as if somehow God were my 'genie in a bottle' waiting to come out and say, “Your wish is my command.” But really, the opposite is true. It is God's wish to bless and show favour, and he has granted authority to all his children to carry out his wishes by directing where at least some of that blessing will rest.

Until now, I haven't really appreciated the power of speaking a blessing. I think it's time to start exercising my God-given authority! Lord, who shall I start with…

Prayer

Lord God, thank you for rescuing me from the dominion of darkness and bringing me into the kingdom of your Son. I have been raised up with him and seated with him in the heavenly realms. What a privilege! Lord, I want to serve you fully by fulfilling all the purposes you have for me, so help me to become an agent of blessing, and to walk tall in the authority I have been given in Jesus.

“ ‘ “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” ’

See also Looking into the Face of God

 

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