Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Feedeth On Ashes or God's Love?

Isaiah 44:20 - He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, [Is there] not a lie in my right hand?

I have heard about Christian speaker Beth Moore, but I had not heard her speak until this past Tuesday. Her knowledge of Scripture and sincere love for the Lord were very evident in her presentation. As I watched the DVD of one of her sermons, I scribbled down a few notes so that I could post some of what she shared here at my blog.

The Isaiah verse above makes us think and realize that oftentimes we can hold onto idols without even recognizing that we are doing so. We must ask ourselves, "Am I holding onto a substitute for God in my life? Is this thing in my right hand (as the verse states) a lie? How often are we completely honest when evaluating what we hold dear in our lives? We could list a lot of things. Are any of them outside of Christ?

Matthew Henry's commentary on Isaiah 44:18-20 shows us how devastating a thing it is when one "feeds on ashes." It is not wise to hold onto "a deceived heart." Isaiah's verse and Henry's commentary challenges us to ask ourselves, "[Is there] not a lie in my right hand?"

Matthew Henry:
II. Here is judgment given upon this whole matter, v. 18–20. In short, it is the effect and evidence of the greatest stupidity and sottishness that one could ever imagine rational beings to be guilty of, and shows that man has become worse than the beasts that perish; for they act according to the dictates of sense, but man acts not according to the dictates of reason (v. 18): They have not known nor understood common sense; men that act rationally in other things in this act most absurdly. Though they have some knowledge and understanding, yet they are strangers to, nay, they are rebels against the great law of consideration (v. 12): None considers in his heart, nor has so much application of mind as to reason thus with himself, which one would think he might easily do, though there were none to reason with him: "I have burnt part of this tree in the fire, for baking and roasting; and now shall I make the residue thereof an abomination?’’ (that is, an idol, for that is an abomination to God and all wise and good men); "shall I ungratefully choose to do, or presumptuously dare to do, what the Lord hates? shall I be such a fool as to fall down to the stock of a tree—a senseless, lifeless, helpless thing? shall I so far disparage myself, and make myself like that I bow down to?’’ A growing tree may be a beautiful stately thing, but the stock of a tree has lost its glory, and he has lost his that gives glory to it. Upon the whole, the sad character given of these idolaters is, 1. That they put a cheat upon themselves (v. 20): They feed on ashes; they feed themselves with hopes of advantage by worshipping these idols, but they will be disappointed as much as a man that would expect nourishment by feeding on ashes. Feeding on ashes is an evidence of a depraved appetite and a distempered body; and it is a sign that the soul is overpowered by very bad habits when men, in their worship, go no further than the sight of their eyes will carry them. They are wretchedly deluded, and it is their own fault: A deceived heart of their own, more than the deceiving tongue of others, has turned them aside from the faith and worship of the living God to dumb idols. They are drawn away of their own lusts and enticed. The apostasy of sinners from God is owing entirely to themselves and to the evil heart of unbelief that is in their own bosom. A revolting and rebellious heart is a deceived heart. 2. That they wilfully persist in their self-delusion and will not be undeceived. There is none of them that can be persuaded so far to suspect himself as to say, Is there not a lie in my right hand? and so to think of delivering his soul. Note, (1.) Idolaters have a lie in their right hand; for an idol is a lie, is not what it pretends, performs not what it promises, and it is a teacher of lies, Hab. 2:18. (2.) It highly concerns those that are secure in an evil way seriously to consider whether there be not a lie in their right hand. Is not that a lie which with complacency we hold fast as our chief good? Are our hearts set upon the wealth of the world and the pleasures of sense? They will certainly prove a lie in our right hand. And is not that a lie which with confidence we hold fast by, as the ground on which we build our hopes for heaven? If we trust to our external professions and performances, as if those would save us, we deceive ourselves with a lie in our right hand, with a house built on the sand. (3.) Self-suspicion is the first step towards self-deliverance. We cannot be faithful to ourselves unless we are jealous of ourselves. He that would deliver his soul must begin with putting this question to his own conscience. Is there not a lie in my right hand? (4.) Those that are given up to believe in a lie are under the power of strong delusions, which it is hard to get clear of, 2 Th. 2:11. "

Ask yourself, do you crave too much of anything? Do you not feel like you ever have enough? If so, you could be deluded by it. Face the truth and look at it. Realize that it's a "Judas thing" that you may be holding onto. Such things are betrayers every time.

What are some of these things? It could be excessive food. It could be alcohol, or drugs, or tobacco, or illicit sex. It could be a gambling problem, or porn, or adultery, or money, or possessions. It could be any other type of idol you might currently be craving or engaged in.

What addictions are betraying your walk with Christ?

You must open your eyes to the truth. See if anything that you are deluded into holding onto is in fact a lie.

Psalm 90:14 - O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

That verse in Psalms speaks of satisfaction. This is a daily thing in our lives. We all have needs each day. We crave significance, love, companionship. God, in His word, teaches us that we should go to Him first.

Imagine that you have a cup and you are holding it out to others to fill that cup for you. There is a lot of truth to the fact that no other person (or thing, for that matter) can ever fulfill what only Christ can! But people often try to do just that. They have a vacuum in their soul...a hole in their heart that cannot be made whole without Jesus Christ.

The closer we get to Christ, the more conviction we experience for sins we have committed over the day.

Do you sit and enjoy His presence?

Thank Him for everything.

Pour out your heart to Him. Share what is on your mind; including those hurts and those who have offended and hurt you.

Psalm 62:8 - In God [is] my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, [and] my refuge, [is] in God.

God is our refuge. We need God to pour into our hearts. But what happens when we fill our hearts with substitutes for what should be filled by Him? We don't have any room for Him to fill us up! We must first pour ourselves out and hold our cup out to Him!

He knows our fears, insecurities and need for love. His unfailing love is mentioned many times in Scripture. It is the kind of love, that agape love, that man cannot give.

God's blessings may differ with each individual, but His love for each and every one of us is absolutely unfailing!

We are not asked to be beggars to God. Ask Him to show His glory...not things, but Him. Our longing is for Him. We desire and want fullnss of Him in our lives.

This is an extremely important message. Don't live on the alms of others. Don't settle for substitutes that do no fulfill! Ask Him to rid us of these lesser "gods."

Did you know that the love of others is the overflow of God's love?

It all started with Him! It all will end with Him. He is the Alpha and the Omega. The first and the last.

There is no love greater than God's love! God the Father showed how you, His child, are tremendously significant to Him. Loving you was better than Christ's life! He laid down His life for me! For you! This was God's way of saying, "Child, you are everything to me!" Through Christ, we are free to know a love that is better than life.

Once we know this truth and have the Holy Spirit of God within our souls, He helps us to loosen the grip that we have on the lies that might overtake our lives and lead us to a reprobate mind.

Psalm 62:1b - Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him [cometh] my salvation.

Psalm 18:2 - The LORD [is] my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, [and] my high tower.

Psalm 62:7 - In God [is] my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, [and] my refuge, [is] in God.

Isaiah 61:10 - I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh [himself] with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth [herself] with her jewels.

1 comment:

Susan Smith said...

Hi Christine:

This post took some time to read, but it was well worth it.

Christine said: "How often are we completely honest when evaluating what we hold dear in our lives?" That is a great question! Let me list 3 of the deceptions I have held dear in my personal life... homosexuality for more than 20 years... drunkeness for more than 30 years and cigarettes for 40 years! Sounds like a lifetime, but I am thankful God restores the years the locusts have eaten (see JOE 2:25).

Much love to the West Coast from the Holy Land! It is wonderful to be home in Jerusalem. (ss)