Proverbs 28:9 If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law,
even his prayers are detestable.
This verse would not have jumped out at me had I not read, just yesterday, an article about a popular television personality who claims to be a Christian but has linked up with a New Age guru who doesn’t pretend to be Christian. She tells people that “The prayer of gratitude is the only prayer we need.” Gratitude is important, but it’s that sort of thinking that led to some things I read about a few months ago. Those included a gang of bank robbers (led by a woman) who prayed for success before heading out to hit the bank, and a different group of women who were praying outside a courtroom for acquittal of a young male thug relative who had been caught in his thuggery. They didn’t care that he was guilty, they just wanted him to get off Scot free. Such prayers, in their blatant disregard for God’s righteousness and holiness, are indeed detestable! We are certainly dependent on the grace and mercy of God, but we are responsible to at least try to be obedient to the rules He has laid out. Along with prayers of gratitude (though they are important) we need prayers of repentance and prayers of commitment to obedience. God’s rules are for our good and are not burdensome (1 John 5:3), and they are certainly not to be ignored. Legalism can be a trap, but flouting the rules is spitting in God’s face.
I can’t claim a perfect record here. I’ve done my share of ignoring rules I didn’t like, and often enough paying a real price for it, too. I’ve had to learn that repentance is ongoing, because in our humanity we stumble with distressing frequency. However, I’ve also learned that there is a huge difference between stumbling and saying you don’t need that rule in the first place. Anything can be forgiven, but genuine repentance is essential, and repentance means turning from sin. We can’t say we’ve repented and then jump right back into whatever it was we were doing. I’ve got to be careful that I don’t deceive myself on this issue, (James 1:22) because the devil is very crafty, and he plays us very well. I can’t outsmart him whatever my IQ, so I’ve got to depend on God and stand on His Word, committing myself afresh daily to obedience. God wants to use me, but He wants to use a pure vessel, and certainly deserves nothing less.
Father, You know the attacks and temptations I experience even better than I do. Thank You that Your grace is indeed sufficient for me in every area. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Help me never take that grace lightly, but walk in consistent holiness in thought and deed, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!