Ouch! The Circumcision of the Heart
by Pam Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org)
To the world, especially today, Christians for the most part are just people with another faith. To them, most of them are at best nice people; others see them as greedy opportunists who take advantage of weaker people. It is up us as Christians to make the difference!
From the beginning, God was after the heart. Some won’t go there and they will just move on, similar to Esau. For him the flesh came first, even over Spiritual things. There was no conscience, no twinge, no time for thoughtful consideration, just “give me something to eat now!”
Now Esau was raised to know better. It’s not like he was a severely malnourished soul. And he was a good hunter and cook. He was just an “in the moment” guy, and even when confronted, he chose rebellion over his heart life and went to the “foreign women” not of their faith. (Genesis 25 & 28) For him, it was sin.
It was common also in what is known as the “patriarchal age” in history for men to have more than one wife. Men were the strength and food providers and enemy resisters, and women were the nurturers, often having many children. Keeping house was a full time chore without the modern conveniences we know today. Again, most were in the moment, fighting more than negotiating for what they wanted.
But Job and Abraham and even Moses heard something more in the Spirit. They heard God saying “no” to some things, especially in the area of marriage and the family. Job made a covenant with his eyes not to lust after other women, and Abraham, who chose to raise his family well, stumbled at the crazy suggestion of his wife to get into a relationship with Hagar for a baby that has now caused centuries of trouble.
Yet these are the men and women God used. When Samson’s and John the Baptist’s parents encoutered the angel, again, there were things they were to say “no” to. There was a covenant of sacrifice for the flesh desires. The flesh is the flesh but God says there is something more and you can rise above it to attain it.
Moses instructed all the children of Israel under Pharoah to get a perfect baby lamb and tend it for 14 days. Without a doubt the children would fall in love with it. The adults would see it as sinless, yet also to be sacrificed by killing it as a message for a redemption. Their thoughts, because of that situation, was something they were meditating upon as serious life changes were about to take place. The drama of the Lord, the witnessing of His supernatural Move was upon them.
Abraham took some wood and his son to walk up a hill and make a sacrifice. To his shocked and tender soul, God was asking him to give up his beloved son. As he raised the knife over his rope-bound boy, God saw the willing sacrifice of both of them and the angel intervened. They had passed the test of a heart sacrifice. God is not into murder, He is after the willing heart. He was going to give His Son.
Now this test is not the test we get to design. So often we want to “help” God in dealing with things, even ourselves. And God does want our companionship, but He also wants to be Lord. God wants to raise us up to a higher level of thinking and being. There is an enemy to that, to our very souls and life, and we have to discern what is God and what is not. And that is not an always easy discerning, but if we choose to be the people of God, we have to work at it.
Sacrifice alone is not what God is after, but He is after changes. It reads in I Samuel 15:22,
‘So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the Voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.”‘ And obviously that means we have to determine when it is God speaking, or man or the enemy!
“God will hear, and afflict them, Even He who abides from of old. Selah Because they do not change, therefore they do not fear God.” Psalm 55:19 What this means is that God wants an interactive relationship with His people so that He can guide them on the best and most fulfilling path for their lives!
God wants to get us to the place of Isaiah 30:21: ‘
Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.”‘ This is something we progress into, but as we do, we will learn how to ride the high places of the earth!
And excessiveness is not always the fast track to get you there, but you will do good to learn the Word of God (the Holy Bible) for yourself. The Bible says in Philippians 4: 5 “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.”
God allowed a Book that can be for all people, great and small, for all times and for all seasons, no matter their station in life, as a help and guide for successful living. It is not just a natural book but a Spiritual one. He also created an order for the Church – the people of God – for corporate unity. We also learn that and these are things that are revealed to us more and more in our Spiritual walk as we prayerfully do study His Word.
Learning to pray is an adventure in knowing God. And it is somewhat like a puzzle, learning what works. But God has provided leadership in His Church for these helps we need (Ephesians 4:11-16) and even today our resources are vast, especially on the internet.
God says through Moses in Exodus 6:7 “I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” In his time, the Egyptians were their oppressors but today and for others, it could be anything else. God wants to set you free from your burdens to live and to love and overcome by learning and serving Him.
It is true that some problems are greater than others and in the School of the Holy Spirit, God will show you what He can deliver you from. It’s an exciting walk and one worth doing. And it certainly beats the alternatives.