July 8, 2018

Determine In Your Heart – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

“10 Now Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the LORD, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10 Holman)

The original Hebrew word translated “determined” or “set” is defined by the lexicon, Brown Driver Briggs to mean…

be firm… 1. be set up, established, fixed:… securely determined;… be fixed aright, steadfast;

That which is to be “fixed” is the heart, often misunderstood in scripture. Of this Hebrew tern Brown Driver Briggs says…

inner man, mind, will, heart — The inner, middle,… 1. the inner man in contrast with the outer,… 2. the inner man, indef. the soul, comprehending mind, affections and will,… thinking, reflection,…conception of thoughts of mind;…set the mind, consider,

Our hearts do not easily conform to God’s holiness. Our finite understanding is understandably different from God’s infinite holiness. Contrary to what false teachers want you to think, “hearts” are not dependable guides to God’s viewpoint. Jeremiah reveals that, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Therefore, a prophet, a “man of God,” had to exert determined effort to fix his inner self to think differently. To accomplish this, Ezra had to study and that did not come naturally. He had to work at fixing his mind to study, and fix his mind to yield (“obey”) and fix his mind to teach, not his own ideas but God’s “statutes and ordinances.”

This is what Ezra did, even in the court of a foreign king, in the midst of the enemies of God’s people in a far country, and even surrounded by the backslidden people of his own nation. He prepared his heart, fixing it in firm faith on God’s thinking revealed in His laws.

Prevalent thinking today is that Ezra’s course was fine for himself, as long as he kept his religion to himself, but he should not try to impose his views on others.

The fundamental flaw in such thinking is the confusing God’s laws with Ezra’s ideas. Have you noticed how slick that deceitful, bait and switch takes place? …from generous, respectful, honoring of religion to the slandering accusation of opinionated, bigoted meddling…all in the same sentence. Keep your guard up. Satan is “crafty” and effectively uses what appears to be righteous messengers (II Corinthians 11:14).

It’s not hard to imagine unfaithful, guilty Israel telling Ezra to keep his own meddlesome notions to himself. Instead, the Holy Spirit reveals the example of this righteous man resisting the temptation to fit in and determining “to study the law of the LORD, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.”

In stark contrast, we read of King Rehoboam whose self-serving, sinful rebellion led to the dividing of Israel into two kingdoms and eventually into the captivity. The judgment of God came because, unlike Ezra, Rehoboam “he did evil because he did not set his heart to seek the LORD.” (2 Chronicles 12:14).

We have work to do. Like Ezra, we need to prepare, determine, fix our hearts to study, obey and teach. It’s not easy, because of the misleading of our own mundane perspectives and because these appealing ideas agree with the surrounding, deafening crowd. We need help. God will, if we humble our stubborn hearts and ask.

“LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear,” (Psalm 10:17 NKJV).

 

 

 

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