It’s a heart thing

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Posted on Monday, January 19th, 2015 by Faith Martin

Readings

Psalm 96

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendour and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendour of his[a] holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns”. The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Hebrews 6:17-7:10

Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

Melchizedek the Priest
This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace”. Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.
Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people — that is, from their fellow Israelites — even though they also are descended from Abraham. This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.

The start of the second passage tells us about Gods Oath to Abraham, the one about descendants and stars. It goes on to explain about God using his name to make the Oath.

  • What is an Oath?
    “A solemn promise, often invoking a divine witness, regarding one’s future action or behaviour.”
  • Who makes Oaths?
    Brownies, the Queen at her coronation, people in court etc…

Deuteronomy 23:21 tells us that breaking an Oath is a Sin and it is better not to make an Oath if we can’t keep it.

We only make an Oath about things that really matter. We don’t make an Oath about something our head has decided; we make Oaths about things our heart cares about, things that really really matter to us.

God’s greatest Oath is set out to us in John 3:16 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’.
This Oath comes with a prefix ‘For God so loved the world’. It is an Oath made out of Love; when we talk about love we consider it a heart thing rather than a head thing.

In our Hebrews passage Paul tells us that because of God’s Oath we can enter the inner courts; when Jesus died and the curtains in to the inner sanctuary were torn apart so that we could enter that inner most place.

If a soldier goes into battle what is it he protects above all else? His Heart

God is offering us his heart but do we open up ours in return?

The Heart isn’t where we deal with black and white facts; it’s where we deal with emotions – Love, Anger, Compassion, Jealously…

Thinking about heart responses lets look at Abraham and Melchizadek:

  • It was very rare in those days to follow a Monotheistic religion (that is the following of One God).
  • Abraham and Melchizadek both followed the one true God and upon meeting saw this in each other.

Abraham and Melchizadek’s contemporaries were living under the law, but Abraham had Gods oath. So when Abraham recognises God in Melchizadek his heart response is one of sacrifice he gives from his heart not his head.
Melchizadek reminds Abraham, “Blessed be the God most high, who has defeated your enemies for you”. It’s a gentle reminder that it wasn’t Abrahams power that defeated his enemies but God’s power.

So when God defeats our enemies what is our response?
Do we respond with our heads and a gentle, “thanks, God”?

Do we forget to respond at all?

Let’s look at some of the ways we can respond with our hearts…

  • Abraham is a great place to start; he responded by giving back; we can give from our hearts. I don’t think this is the standard; giving 1/10 (tithe) by rote; it’s something that involves sacrifice – it might be financial, it might be time, or hospitality.

Let’s turn to our Psalm for some more heart responses:

  • Verses 1-2; Sing! We might not all be gifted singers but God has given us a voice, use it! It also suggests we do this every day, not just Sundays.
  • Verse 3; Tell people! Who do you tell about God’s greatness? Tell the world like an excited grandparent tells everyone about their grandchild.
  • Verse 4-6; Worship! Does our heart pour out honour to God?

We need to worship God for who he is not just what he has done.

We praise him just because we love him.

How are you going to respond to Gods great Oath? With your head or with your heart?

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