The Heart of the Matter

The Heart of the Matter


If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)


Music Title: I Surrender All


Heart of the Matter Index

How About a History Lesson?

Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. He also did evil in the sight of the LORD his God, and did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke from the mouth of the LORD. And he also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear an oath by God; but he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the LORD God of Israel. Moreover all the leaders of the priests and the people transgressed more and more, according to all the abominations of the nations, and defiled the house of the LORD which He had consecrated in Jerusalem. And the LORD God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy.
--- 2 Chronicles 36:11-16

NOTE: Corrupted political and religious leadership contributed to and led the way to the ultimate disaster which enveloped Judah and Jerusalem -- do we really believe we can get away with our personal, corporate and national sins against a holy God?

"It's the economy, stupid!" That little quote came out of Washington DC some time back, where REALITY is a thing to be avoided at all cost! The heart of the matter is not the economy, but the need to experience something called REPENTANCE -- reference is sometimes made to the Ten Commandments, but there is a commandment God has given beyond those basic Ten which applies to every human being on earth and to every nation in which those human beings live -- take a close look at it!

"Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
-- Acts 17:30,31 (NKJV).

Oooooooh! Sounds like God expects humans on an individual level and nations on a collective level to quit the business of perpetual sinning, huh? And basically, repentance is exactly that -- turning from all known forms and expressions of sin, seeking mercy and forgiveness from God, acceptance of and commitment to Jesus Christ in a lifestyle that honors Him as Lord and Savior.

For more on the subject of repentance in personal experience go to In Pursuit of Peace. You can return here after reviewing that area.

A pattern for us to follow -- remember, as a nation we even make a "profession" of being a God fearing nation -- on coins is the statement "In God We Trust" -- in the pledge of allegiance at a certain point we say, "...one nation, under God..." Consquently, as a people we have disgraced beyond comprehension the name of the holy God in Whom we claim to have our trust!

How about it? Take a close and hard look at personal repentance as expressed by David followed by Daniel's expressed sorrow for mass corporate sin committed against the God of Israel --

Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight; That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, That the bones which You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me with Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart; These, O God, You will not despise.
-- Psalm 51:1-17 (NKJV)

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD, given through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day; to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You. O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such never has been done as what has been done to Jerusalem. As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth. Therefore the LORD has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice. And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly! O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people have become a reproach to all who are around us. Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord's sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name."

-- Daniel 9:1-19 (NKJV)

While there are some stirrings here and there and there are still some souls finding mercy and forgiveness, there is no real evidence of extensive and serious repentance, particularly on a widespread corporate and national level -- as God deals more agressively with this nation for its massive rebellion, the most likely question, as it was in Jeremiah's time, will be, "Why is God doing these things to us -- what have we done?" God's instruction to the prophet was to respond by telling the people that it was because of their sin that they were experiencing calamities at the hand of God! But the sad diagnosis also in Jeremiah's generation was that the nation had the forehead of a whore and refused to blush and be ashamed of its sin committed against a holy God -- oooh, United States society is a 20th century and soon to be 21st century version of ancient Judah in that department!

And as a nation we certainly flunk out when measured by the standard put forth in Deuteronomy 8 on keeping proper perspective as to recognizing Who is responsible for granting blessings, benefits and accompanying prosperity.

"Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest; when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the rock of flint; who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end; then you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.' And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God."
-- Deuteronomy 8:6-20 (NKJV)

After true repentance, what then?

After repentance, then it is acceptance OF and commitment TO The Way - The Truth - The Life

Could it happen here?

That the nation living under the above banner


by refusing to repent will end up like this?

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Email: c.d.harriger@truepath.net

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Clayton D. Harriger