“For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then we have confidence toward God.” 1 John 3:20,21 The heart there speaking of conscience.
I’ve been wrestling with exactly how to hit this point, I toyed with an elaborate play in my head… something out of a history book, you know an old dude in a wig with the forefathers stomping his foot and throwing his quill pen on the table and profoundly stating, “Gentlemen I can not in good conscience be a party to this senseless farce!’
But then again that may be from history, ah, you never know!
Anyway we are digging a good conscience, that little tugging inside that tells us something about the situation we are in or a direction that someone is trying to lead us in is just not quite right for us.
On the flip side of that you can have someone, even with good intentions, attempting to herd you into a direction or condemn a decision you have made or are trying to make based on their personal feelings on the matter.
People can often try to lead or condemn us when our true Shepherd the only one who truly has the right to lead and truly the only one with the power to condemn has no plan or purpose for that action in your life.
That is why the verse is so powerful and so extremely important especially when we are in a valley of decision, because God IS greater and he is greater than our heart and if our heart is not condemning us that tells us that surely God being greater than that would let us know beyond any shadow of a doubt the true path we should take or the correct decision even if we chose to make a decision that another may not think is the best one if God gives peace with that then we know we can have that confidence of being in his will.
To give an example of the importance of listening to the “voice” of God we’ll go to one of the scariest stories in the Bible, or at least to me it is one of the scariest because it teaches us how easily a person can sway us away from the will of God,
“And behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the Lord unto Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense,
And he cried against the altar in the word of the Lord (at the command of the Lord), and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee.
And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign the Lord hath spoken: Behold, the altar shall be rent (split apart), and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out.
And it came to pass, When King Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying Lay hold upon him. (seize him) and his hand, which he did put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him.
The altar was rent, and the ashed poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the Lord.” 1 Kings 13:1-5
I want to stop right there for a moment because we can establish right there so completely that there was no doubt possible that this man, who is referred to as a man OF God had been sent and purposed of God to do this work and God displayed his power against those who would try to stop him to further prove that this was indeed divinely ordained.
Now for the rest of the story.
“And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the Lord thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the Lord, and the king’s hand was restored him again, and became as it was before (healed).
And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give the a reward.
And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place:
For so it was charged me by the word of the Lord, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest .
So he went another way,and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.
Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel, and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.
And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah.
And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass, and he rode thereon.
And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak, and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? and he said, I am.
Then he said unto him, Come home with me and eat bread.
And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place:
For it was said to me by the word of the Lord, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way thou camest,
He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water, BUT HE LIED UNTO HIM.
So he went back with him an did eat bread in his house, and drink water.” 1 Kings 13:6-19
This story has a horrific ending, if you have a moment, please finish it on your own, but needless to say the man of God dies because he listened to the wrong voice, he listened to the voice of a man, the voice that assured him that he himself also was a “prophet” and he listened to the “voice’ of an “angel” supposedly heard by the man.
And he listened to all these “voices” when he had already heard from the “voice” the word of God and for whatever reason chose to listen to the wrong voice after having received all the instruction he needed from the right one.
Not faulting him at all, this is why this is such a scary story, because it happened so easy and it is a great warning to us, that there are those for whatever reason would try to lead us completely out of the will of God or even snare and trap us just to try to cause us to stumble and fall.
The overwhelming thread of this story is that he had had been told every single thing he needed to know about the man of God, including the command that God gave him against eating and drinking in that “place” and the direction in which he had been commanded to travel and he had all he needed to convince him into going “back” with him. So much symbolism going on there.
God is greater than your heart, if you know God and I mean truly know God, that you are a born again, spirit filled Bible believing person, you know what your heart is saying, and God is greater.
So if your heart is telling you a way that you should not go while someone else is saying that is the only way to go, take a note from your heart and know that God through his word has already told you how to go.
As said in 1 Corinthians, God is NOT the author of confusion but of PEACE. The God that saved you is the same God today and anything that takes your joy and your peace and bring confusion and strife into your mind and heart is NOT of him and anything contrary to his word and his teachings will never be his will for your life.
Thanks for reading! have a blessed week!
Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson