Monday, November 9, 2020

Impress on the People

By Ron Thomas

    Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul; and ye shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes (Deuteronomy 11:18, ASV).
    As I read through Deuteronomy, I am reminded of the impression the Lord made on Moses and how Moses in turn made an impression on the people of Israel. Moses had to deal with people, as a nation, that had stubborn tendencies, people who were interested in their own way most of the time. The Lord’s way was recognized for the value it presented, but to make changes in one’s life was more than they wanted at the time. Sound familiar?
    It was the Lord who made clear to the nation that if they would walk (live) in His ways, they would be a blessed people, a people that would be a blessing to others. Some, however, could not get past their own interests. Consequently, they became a burden to themselves and to others, especially Moses and Aaron, the two people the Lord called to serve and lead His nation.
    It was so easy for the people of Israel to think they were a special people blessed by the Lord because the Lord took them from Egyptian bondage to the edge of the land of promise. Because they were so blessed, the Lord would not surely punish them for their failings, would He? They thought that to be a reasonable supposition, but when their failings were associated with stubbornness, the Lord was not about to put up with it. The Lord shows no partiality (Deut. 10:17) and He was not going to allow them this self-serving approach to go unchecked. He appealed to them again and again; He tried to impress His words on their hearts, to have a circumcised heart. Still, as in every generation, there are some who will not do as wisdom dictates.
    In the days of Manasseh, King of Judah (son of Hezekiah), he had a reputation that could not be cast off. He was known as an evil king. Yet, in his evil he suffered hard lessons the Lord taught him. To his credit, he learned from them and had the Lord’s message impressed on his heart. The Scriptures teach in 2 Chronicles 33:13, the captive king in Babylon turned back to the Lord; the Lord heard him and restored him. “Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.” Did he not know this before? He did, but no impression was made; at this time in his life, after must damage was done and with many regrets, the remainder of his life had a new outlook.
    Perhaps Manasseh, in these later years, made an impression on his son Josiah. It was Josiah, at 8 years of age and Judah last great king, who heard the Book of the Law as it was read in his presence, the Book that was once lost but now found, it was this great king who humbled himself before the Lord. It was this great king who called on his people to restore their hearts and humble themselves before the Lord. It was this last great king who took the lead in doing this. It was this king who started a national religious restoration unlike any king before him.
    In the New Testament church, we have the same thing today. There are many who are baptized but have not set the Lord apart in their heart to love Him and serve Him. If they say they have love for Him, their love is so distorted they are not sure what it means in application. So distracted are they by other things (work, family, recreation, aggravations, etc.), any attention to the Lord is in the “leftover category.”
    Reading? “I don’t have time for that!” Consequently, as it was with the Israelites, those who think this way today do not have impressed on the heart the Word of the Lord. If the Lord makes no impression on the heart, what does? The ways of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), the way of thinking that a person incorporates wherein one believes he or she doing what is right, or what they think is right. But this approach can NEVER be pleasing to the Lord! Why? It is a corrupted way of thinking, a way of thinking that is deceived by one’s own heart (cf. Jer. 10:23; 17:9).
    When the Lord impresses Himself on a heart of His servant lives are changed.
- Ron Thomas preacher for the Sunrush Church of Christ, Chillicothe, OH. He may be contacted through the congregation's website.

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