[March 10]--God’s Relationship With Mankind

Prov. 16:2; 21:2; 17:3; 20:27

We’ve spent that last few days studying God’s nature from Proverbs, so now we’re going to look at how he relates to humanity. Like I mentioned before, we’ll have to skip around a bit because of the nature of the book.

Today’s verses deal with a subject that modern humanity would like to ignore: God’s searching judgment of the human heart. If you ask most secular people what’s the main reason why they don’t become Christians, any honest anser would probably have to rank this at or near the top. Most Americans have no trouble with “spirituality,” but this concept of being accountable to Someone is completely unacceptable to them.

The interesting thing is that, deep down, most of them really don’t have a problem with the concept in and of itself. This can be proved by asking them a simple question: Do you think that Hitler is enjoying heaven right now? How’s about child molesters or serial murderers? The vast majority of people take no issue with the idea of eternal punishment, as long as it’s not them or someone “nice” or someone they care about. As long as it’s “bad” people that God judges, then it’s OK.

But the same Bible that tells that there’s a heaven also tells us that there’s a hell, and the standards for enjoying God’s presence for eternity are a little more stringent than “nice.” As I’ve mentioned before, it would be convenient if the Judge's standards were “better than Hitler,” but that’s not the case. His standard is perfection. His standard is his Son, who always pleased his Father and who never sinned. In a sense, the coming of Christ could've even made it worse for us, since he certainly “blew the curve” (as if God ever had one).

But I think that--when you examine it a bit further--this is one of the reasons why Pantheism, Neo-Paganism and similar religions are becoming more popular. C. S. Lewis talked about this: He said that if you want “spirituality” and don’t want to believe that everything is just a random dance of atoms, then you can buy into this and receive all the comfort that this notion provides. But if you’re participating in something rather shady that you wouldn’t want made known to the world, then this “god” won’t judge you. It’s always the appeal of idol worship: You can pull him out of your pocket when it’s convenient, and put it back when it’s not.

But the God of the Bible is not like that. We’re all capable of massive self-deception, and “all [our] ways seem right to [us],” but he weighs our motives. Just like silver and gold are checked for purity by exposing them to fire, the Judge of all mankind tests our hearts. The “lamp” of his Holy Spirit searches out our inmost being.

But the Good News is that this God also offers forgiveness. Not someone who overlooks our “mistakes,” but who really forgives sin no matter what we’ve done. If you’re reading this and have never placed your faith in Christ for salvation, then the only day you can do that is today. Tomorrow may never come. If you haven't done so already, please read this.

If you’re a believer, then this is good reminder for all of us as well. As followers of Christ, we’re capable of self-deception as well. That’s why it’s a good idea to ask him to search out our hearts and redirect us when we’ve strayed from his way. For all of us, Prov. 28:13 still applies: “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

Lord Jesus, I am so blind sometimes to my own faults. Only you can forgive, only you can cleanse, only you can restore. Please.

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