“Don’t confuse me with facts; my mind is already made up.” This is the case of most people when presented with the Gospel.
3 A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the LORD. They have plans and don’t want them interrupted–even by the LORD!
21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. They can’t have their way and salvation, too. We come when He calls; otherwise, we can’t come.
29 Penalties are prepared for mockers, and beatings for the backs of fools. They were never intended, but how else can God get their attention? If you want a prime example of the human heart, read the account of the Israelites when they came out of Egypt in Exodus and Numbers (you can skip the lists). It just proves that even though they were taken out of Egypt, Egypt was still in their hearts. We know that only Jesus can remove Egypt from our hearts and replace it with His Holy Spirit.
Matthew 12:1-14 provides us with an account of Jesus that should have brought all of the rulers of Israel to faith. In it, we find:
- The disciples picking grain and eating it on the Sabbath. When questioned, Jesus said that He was greater than the temple and Lord of the Sabbath (v.6-7).
- Jesus entered the synagogue (church) and healed a man with a shriveled hand. He gave good reasoning for it, too (v.9-13). In this act, He proved that He was Lord of the Sabbath and greater than the temple.
- Did the Pharisees believe and follow Jesus? NO! They “went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.” Matthew 12:14.
In Proverbs, we find these types of people:
- The wise–those who strive to see from God’s perspective and practice obedience.
- The simple–“a person who is gullible, without moral direction and inclined to evil” (my note at the bottom of the page).
- The fool–a person who knows the good that he should do, but doesn’t care and goes about his own way.
- The mocker–a fool who gets angry or haughty with a righteous person. Proverbs teaches that a person who is in this frame of mind is not able to perceive truth and should be left alone–even avoided.
Which one describes the Pharisees’ attitude at this point in the account? They were mockers. Jesus called them blind guides and hypocrites, white-washed tombs, snakes and vipers, and murderers (Matthew 23:13-36). Was Jesus condemning them? NO! He was trying to get them to repent. How do I know? It tells us in the last verses of the chapter:
37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” Matthew 23:37-39
Jesus was willing, but they weren’t. What does this passage say to us? It means that we are to be discerning when talking to people about Christ. Pay attention to the Spirit and to the attitude of the person. It also teaches us that as long as a person has breath, he can repent, so we continue to pray, calling on Jesus to do whatever it takes to open their eyes to the truth about their sin and Jesus’ willingness to forgive them and embrace them. It’s the heart of the Gospel.
Abba, please, please, please keep us from falling into the old traps of sin and selfishness. Renew us daily in Your Word and with Your Spirit. Make us wise, O LORD, that we may see from Your perspective. Give us discerning hearts so that we can tell what kind of person to which we are talking. It’s a daily thing, isn’t it? Then let us do it daily! Amen.