August 13, 2016

Proverbs 28:9 If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law,
even his prayers are detestable.

We are back to the fact that God sees and pays attention to our hearts, rather than to whatever facade we put up to show the world. The NIV says “the law” here, implying God’s law, which is true enough, but the Japanese is far broader, translating that phrase simply to “teaching.” In other words, if you don’t have a teachable heart, it’s not much use praying. It’s amazing how often we pray with our minds made up, demanding that God do things our way. That is counterproductive, to the point of being detestable. One of the great struggles of faith is the whole matter of leaving control in God’s hands and being at peace with that. That’s not at all to say we aren’t to express to God how we would like things to be; Jesus explicitly told us to ask, seek, and knock. (Matthew 7:7) However, we must do so with teachable hearts, letting God show us how He is going to fulfill our needs, and even our wants, far better than we could have imagined. The devil and our flesh constantly tempt us to try to be God, or at least a god. That’s what got Lucifer thrown out of heaven, (Isaiah 14:12-15) and it got Adam and Even thrown out of Eden. (Genesis 3:4-5) We need to make full use of all the abilities and opportunities we are given, but always remember that God is God, and let Him teach us all that He wants us to know.

As a school teacher as well as a pastor, I certainly know the difference between a teachable heart and an unteachable one. I sometimes get students whose minds are like steel traps – rusted shut! They never really hear what I try to impart to them, much less seek to take it in to make use of it. I don’t want to be that way toward God! Just as the way to stay young mentally is to keep learning, the way to stay like a little child (Matthew 18:3) spiritually is to keep learning from God. It’s interesting that the longer I walk with the Lord, the more I know that I don’t know. Even as I have assurance of some bedrock truths, I realize that the scope of what I don’t know is literally infinite, so I seek to stay open for the Lord to teach me all that He wants me to know. I am to share what the Lord has taught me, but with humility and grace, learning even as I teach, so that I and those to whom I minister may together grow as God intends, for His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for what You are going to teach me today. Help me be open to all of it, to You, so that all of Your purposes for me may be fulfilled, on Your schedule and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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