Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Heart-Knowing God

One of the unique characteristics of the LORD God is his ability to know the heart of man. Others may have some remarkable insights into human psychology. Nevertheless, God alone knows the heart. We see this taught in the Old Testament:

1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

1 Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

Proverbs 24:12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?

Jesus is shown to be God in this way, for Jesus knew the thoughts and heart of men.

Luke 6:8 But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth.

Matthew 12:25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:

Mark 8:16-18
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread. And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?

One of the most poignant testimonies to Jesus' knowledge of the heart is seen in Jesus' admonishing to Simon Peter (notice that Jesus is still calling him "Simon, son of Jonas" after Matthew 16 ... the name Peter is a surname, not a change of name):

John 21:15-17
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?"
He saith unto him, "Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee."
He saith unto him, "Feed my lambs." He saith to him again the second time, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?"
He saith unto him, "Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee."
He saith unto him, "Feed my sheep. " He saith unto him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?"
Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, "Lovest thou me?" And he said unto him, "Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee."
Jesus saith unto him, "Feed my sheep."
Notice that Peter is attributing omniscience to Jesus, but particularly Peter is attributing to Jesus a knowledge of Peter's own heart. We see the same thing in the Apostles' prayer to Jesus about replacing Judas.

Acts 1:24-26
And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

In case there is any question that the "Lord" here is Jesus, consider the preceding verses:

Acts 1:21-22
Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

And for the connection between Jesus being Lord and Jesus being the Lord God, consider the basis upon which the apostles prayed over the casting of lots.

Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

Finally, perhaps we should conclude with a quotation from Jeremiah that brings us back to the point of the post:

Jeremiah 17:9-10
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

This too connects us back to Jesus:

Revelation 22:11-16
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

There's an additional link back to the prophets here:

Isaiah 62:11 Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

Perhaps you'll say that the salvation who comes is Jesus, but this verse doesn't specifically say that the salvation is God. That argument has been anticipated:

Isaiah 40:10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

Even so, let us praise our God with the words of Psalmist:

The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. (Psalm 118:14)


UPDATE: An alert reader (Manu) brought to my attention a further evidence consistent with this theme:

Revelation 2:18 & 23
And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; ... And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

That also relates back to Jeremiah 17:9-10.


Alan E. Kurschner said...

Great subject Tur.

You can add Psalm 139.

“O LORD, you examine me and know. (2) You know when I sit down and when I get up; even from far away you understand my motives. (3) You carefully observe me when I travel or when I lie down to rest; you are aware of everything I do. (4) Certainly my tongue does not frame a word without you, O LORD, being thoroughly aware of it. (5) You squeeze me in from behind and in front; you place your hand on me. (6) Your knowledge is beyond my comprehension; it is so far beyond me, I am unable to fathom it. (7) Where can I go to escape your spirit? Where can I flee to escape your presence? (8) If I were to ascend to heaven, you would be there. If I were to sprawl out in Sheol, there you would be. (9) If I were to fly away on the wings of the dawn, and settle down on the other side of the sea, (10) even there your hand would guide me, your right hand would grab hold of me. (11) If I were to say, “Certainly the darkness will cover me, and the light will turn to night all around me,” (12) even the darkness is not too dark for you to see, and the night is as bright as day; darkness and light are the same to you. (13) Certainly you made my mind and heart; you wove me together in my mother’s womb. (14) I will give you thanks because your deeds are awesome and amazing. You knew me thoroughly; (15) my bones were not hidden from you, when I was made in secret and sewed together in the depths of the earth. (16) Your eyes saw me when I was inside the womb. All the days ordained for me were recorded in your scroll before one of them came into existence. (17) How difficult it is for me to fathom your thoughts about me, O God! How vast is their sum total! (18) If I tried to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. Even if I finished counting them, I would still have to contend with you. (19) If only you would kill the wicked, O God! Get away from me, you violent men! (20) They rebel against you and act deceitfully; your enemies lie. (21) O LORD, do I not hate those who hate you, and despise those who oppose you? (22) I absolutely hate them, they have become my enemies! (23) Examine me, and probe my thoughts! Test me, and know my concerns! (24) See if there is any idolatrous tendency in me, and lead me in the reliable ancient path!” (Ps 139:1–24 NET)

Turretinfan said...

Good point!

Anonymous said...

Another instance where a "human", [Luke], gives "revelation" to us that points to the Divinity of Christ is found in Luke 16:19-31.

The whole of the chapter is power packed and revelatory in the few subjects taken up for our learning and admonition.

The focus is broken up into two main yet differing theses. In the two main parts we are seeing through the Eyes of Christ two rich men and their experiences in their unique worlds.

I propose to say, Christ is the first rich man, Luke 16:1 and the second rich man represents the devil and his error in Life manifested through one disobedient to the Faith, Luke 16:19.

The basis of the arguments center in the justification of the one and repentance and the outcome for one's obedience to the Faith.

What makes this a distinguishing mark of Christ being Divine is the stories focus us on a behind the scene looks at the afterlife. Only God has this insight. For Christ to show us this establishes His Divinity.

We do not see this with any of the Prophets in such detail as this, as "one" Who is eyewitness to the events as we see here laid out by Jesus Christ as He "opens" up the afterlife in such marvelous fashion.

This to me indicates the Divinity of Our Invisible Triune God and Their knowledge of what indeed comes after death. It establishes Christ's omniscience.

The only other place we see something on this order of thought and isn't so negative or harsh in impact, but rather more of a pleasant virture is Revelation 22. There is a mild reference to the "accursed", ever so slight as it may be, it still doesn't take the sting of death and the gravity of the experience away from the concious memory:

Rev 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
Rev 22:2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Rev 22:3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.
Rev 22:4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
Rev 22:5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Rev 22:6 And he said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place."
Rev 22:7 "And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."

For me, I look forward to more of this line of reasoning as it is so deep and spiritual in a refreshing way! Thanks TF, yet again, for the wisdom of Christ that is apparent guiding your "Psalm 139" sort of life! :)