by: FCC Staff
Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord;
how much more the hearts of the children of man!
In today’s proverb we see the ancient personification of Hell (Sheol) and Death (Abaddon) contrasted with the hearts of humanity. These two concepts were both fearful and mysterious to the people of ancient Israel. Before Jesus, God’s people had much less certainty of how the afterlife and death played out for them. And while they held an ominous place in the minds of the ancient believers, our proverb for today assures us that the “lie open” before God. He knows exactly what transpires after death, and when the hour of death will come for each of us.
If God can see these things, which perplex the human mind, still to this day, how much more does he comprehend our own hearts? While our emotions, motivations, fears and hopes may be confounding to us, God can see directly into our hearts and know us. Even lies we tell others and ourselves about the condition of our hearts are “laid open” before God. He knows us better than we even know ourselves.
We see a profound example of this in Jesus, according to the 132 chapter of Luke’s gospel:
“An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”
Jesus knew the hearts of his disciples, and what motived each of them to think they, or someone else was the greatest among them. Surely they all had valid points as to why they choose whomever they took to be the greatest. But Jesus wasn’t impressed with what he saw in their hearts. Taking a child he flips all their logic on it’s head. “For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”
When greatness is your goal, you are going to finish last. When humility is in your heart, you are already there. What a profound lesson Jesus could teach them, because he knew their hearts.
So in our study of God’s word, and in our prayer lives, we can find support and comfort in knowing that Jesus knows us this well. Whether it is the 1st time reading a passage of scripture or the 50th, we all have so much to be taught by the Master. (Probably even more so if we are familiar with the text, having made up our own minds.) When we pray, we don’t need to mask our motives or emotions, as we often do with people for many reasons, healthy or not.
No sense in masking your anger or sorrow when talking to Jesus. He knows better than you what you are feeling. Literally no point in trying to evade the truth with the all-knowing God of the universe. When we are confounded by the actions and feelings of others, because we cannot perhaps know their true motivation, we can talk to our Savoir who knows. And accept his wisdom in how to interact with them from his Word. Love your enemies, Jesus says. “But you do not understand how horrible they are, Lord!” Yes. Yes he does. And he knows what is motivating them to act that way. And he loves them and offers them forgiveness and restoration for that troubled heart. We can too, even if we lack that insight ourselves.
So today, let’s accept that God knows our truest selves. And loves us. Offers us peace, mercy, grace and forgiveness. Mourns with us when we are sad, shares in our frustration at true injustice, rejoices with us as the lost come home. If God understands everything, we can rest assured he understand us, even when we may not understand ourselves.
Prayer for Today
Father, you know me best. Show me your wisdom today as I seek after you. Keep me from the temptations that my wounded heart is drawn to, and heal the damage sin has done to my heart. Help me to trust you Jesus, when you ask me to examine the motivations of my heart. Make me more like you, trusting the Father in all things. By your Holy Spirit help me to find peace in knowing that you see all things, even things that remain a mystery to me. Guide me today and fill my heart with the assurance of your presence. Amen.