Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 1, 2020
Their heart is divided; Now they are held guilty. He will break down their altars; He will ruin their sacred pillars. Hosea 10:2
In many ways, 2020 feels like the year of the “divided heart.” In countless ways I have felt my heart pulled in different directions: self-protection in the face of a pandemic, yet also longing to care for my neighbors and the most vulnerable in our community. Anxiety and fear around economic uncertainty and financial ruin, yet also looking for signs of hope and future prosperity. Seeking to love, respect, and dignify minority voices in our culture, yet also trying to navigate ways in which such conversations have become deeply polarizing and politicized, bringing with them pain, confusion, and tension even within our closest relationships. God help us!
A divided heart is one of the primary sources of exhaustion, burnout, and spiritual alienation from God. In ancient Israel, God’s people found themselves drawn to countless things other than God. Each of these idols promised fulfillment, meaning, prosperity and purpose. Yet every time they erected an altar to an idol, a part of their heart and soul that was meant to be given to God was divided and diverted away from the only source of true life and hope. And while most of us do not have literal altars at which we worship false gods, the temptation is no less real. Our hearts divide when we give our primary attention to our financial security. Our hearts divide when we obsess over our image and physical well-being. Our hearts divide when we worship at the altar of politics, believing our future will be secure once our preferred political party is in charge or remains in charge.
To each of these and countless more, our Lord invites us to reassess the state of our hearts. Have you put your trust in lesser gods to such an extent that when they let you down, your entire world crashes down with them? Not if they crash down, but when. Our idols crash in three different ways. First, they fail when they reveal their true colors. They show us their inability to deliver that which they promise. Second, as Hosea reminds us, God in his love and mercy towards us breaks them down so we can be free. This is God intervening and saving us when we are unable to save ourselves. Third, and closely related to the second, the Spirit of God illumines our hearts and gives us the strength to see them for what they are and return to him with an undivided heart.
“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (Psalm 86:11).
Father, in the midst of countless distractions and fears, keep our hearts fully set on you and your coming kingdom, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Especially in light of the challenges of 2020, where is your heart most divided today? How can you move towards Christ today as your sole source of hope and peace?
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A divided heart is one of the primary sources of exhaustion, burnout, and spiritual alienation from God. #wisdomhunters #undivided #truth #Jesus
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