Evil Lies In The Heart

Evil Lies In The Heart

Evil lies in the hearts of man.

Mark 7:21

Far from within, out of the heart of man comes evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery.

My wife purchased a unique wall decoration.  It was a mask with two faces, some ram horns and a rat on the forehead.  We didn’t have any idea what it was, what is was about or where it may have originated.  All we knew was that it was a unique piece.

So my wife decided to post a picture on Facebook to see if any of her “friends” had any idea what it was or where it came from.  She was looking for any information on the piece. Continue reading

Solomon, Newton, Emerson and The Balance

Solomon, Newton, Emerson and The Balance

Proverbs 20:22

Do not say, “I will repay evil”;

Wait for the Lord and he will deliver you.

I read this proverb and thought about the balance of the universe.

King Solomon is telling us that evil will be repaid by the universe, there is no need to take matters into your own hands.  Especially since our response would be futile since we do not have control over the balance.  The balance is there, always has been and always will be. Continue reading

Vexation And Sorrow In Knowledge

Vexation And Sorrow In Knowledge

Ecclesiastes 1:13-14

And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

When I read this verse I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about it, but I knew I had to write something.

King Solomon decided to seek as much wisdom and knowledge as he could about what goes on in the world.  Solomon says he is going to “apply his heart” which means his very essence and being, to seeking this knowledge.  This is his life’s quest. Continue reading

No Bank Account For Good Deeds

No Bank Account For Good Deeds

Ezekiel 33:17-20

“Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just. When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it. And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by this. Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.”

These verses speak to me on a couple of levels.

First, the idea of justice.

Ezekiel talks about the Israelites complaining that God’s justice, or the balance of the universe, doesn’t fit their idea of justice.  I’ve written before about this and the fact that my idea of justice and someone else’s idea of justice are probably two different things.  And so the Israelites say in verse 17, what most of us say today when something happens to us, or others, that we don’t understand.  We say, “There is no justice” and then question God and even God’s existence.  We do this on the basis of things not going the way we thought they should go.  We look to blame something outside of us for what happened.

God answers these petty accusations very effectively:

…when it is their own way that is not just.

Ezekiel and God are talking about personal responsibility, and each of us owning up to and realizing that we are responsible for our actions.  We must face up to the fact that we are responsible for the consequences of our actions.  The perceived injustice of the world, is the injustice we have created and served upon ourselves.

God does not inflict grief upon man.  Man inflicts grief upon man.

In verses 18 and 19, Ezekiel speaks of God’s balance. When the righteous do evil they suffer their grief.  There are no mulligans, or a reserved bank account of good deeds to excuse the evil act and eliminate the consequences.  And vice versa.

Second, each act stands on its own.

This is the third time I have written about this.  This truth is conveyed a number of times in the writings of Ezekiel.

Each act, each decision has its own consequence based on the act.  Every act and decision stands on its own.  If a plane makes 1000 trips without incident, that will not eliminate a catastrophe if the pilot makes a bad decision.  The 1000 safe and non-eventful flights do not somehow make the laws of physics and aerodynamics over look this lapse in judgement.  The consequences of a bad decision will be experienced.

Every action stands on its own.  That is what God and Ezekiel are telling us in verse 20.

I will judge each of you according to his ways.

This is personal responsibility. They are telling us that each of us stands alone, every one of our actions stands alone.  If you do twenty wonderful and righteous things during the course of the day and then do one evil act, the twenty do not cancel out the one.  The consequences of the evil act will still be suffered.

God and Ezekiel are letting us know we are responsible for our actions.  Each and every action is judged by itself.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Good And Evil – Deal With It

Good And Evil – Deal With It

I thought I would share one of the most important lessons I have learned from the Bible.

It came to me as one of those “aha” moments.

I have written about the prophets in the Bible and how their words of prophesy still apply today.  Continue reading

Evil Lies In The Heart

Evil Lies In The Heart

Evil lies in the hearts of man.

Mark 7:21

Far from within, out of the heart of man comes evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery.

My wife purchased a unique wall decoration.  It was a mask with two faces, some ram horns and a rat on the forehead.  We didn’t have any idea what it was, what is was about or where it may have originated.  All we knew was that it was a unique piece.

So my wife decided to post a picture on Facebook to see if any of her “friends” had any idea what it was or where it came from.  She was looking for any information on the piece. Continue reading

Strengthening Your Righteousness Muscle

Strengthening Your Righteousness Muscle

Jeremiah 12:1-4

Righteous are you, O Lord,
    when I complain to you;
    yet I would plead my case before you.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
    Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
You plant them, and they take root;
    they grow and produce fruit;
you are near in their mouth
    and far from their heart.
But you, O Lord, know me;
    you see me, and test my heart toward you.
Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter,
    and set them apart for the day of slaughter.
How long will the land mourn
    and the grass of every field wither?
For the evil of those who dwell in it
    the beasts and the birds are swept away,
    because they said, “He will not see our latter end.”

The English Standard Version of the Bible gives verses one through four the title: “Jeremiah’s Complaint”.  Some of the commentaries I have read about these verses state that this is not Jeremiah quarreling with God, or attempting to quarrel with God, but it is a plea.  I would say a plea for justice. Continue reading