Their Heart Was Not Right
“Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.” (Ps 78:36-37)
This is a passage that is speaking of Ephraim and the sons of Israel. The Psalmist is lamenting that though the Children of Israel had received many benefits from their God; still, they were unthankful unto God, rebellious towards God, and selfish and wicked in their desires and behaviors.
This sounds a lot like many so-called Christians today. Too often, men and women will be consumed with their own desires and affections, and will give only lip service unto the God Whom they claim to serve. What does the Psalmist mean, when he says of Israel that “their heart was not right with Him”? Well, the context tells us a couple of reasons that Ephraim was not in good fellowship with God – and I believe these reasons are evident in Christianity today.
First, they were full of flattery towards God, and they lied unto God. It is a shame that folks would flatter God, when there isn’t enough glory or praise in the sum total of our beings, that we could honor Him as He truly deserves! It seems that their words were empty and without meaning; and their words were insincere and full of deceit. They said what they didn’t really mean! This could be true when they praised Him; this could be true when they thanked Him; this could be true when they called upon Him for aid – they didn’t really mean any of it! I think that insincere Christians behave the same way today: Their hearts are not right with God, because they lie and deceive in their every pretense of worship, praise, or supplication towards God.
Second, the Israelites were not right with God because they were not “stedfast in His covenant.” This people knew what God could do – they had received God’s provision and protection throughout their journeys in the wilderness and throughout their history in the Land of Canaan. This people knew what love God had for them, and also what obedience God expected from them. They knew the Law of God – the Word of God was delivered unto them. And yet, knowing the Power of God, and knowing the Favor of God, and knowing the Justice of God, they still resisted Him, and ignored or disobeyed His Word.
This seems comparable to much of Christianity today: Their hearts are not right with God, because they do not steadfastly obey His Word and contend for the Truths that have been delivered unto us. Despite God’s blessings upon so many in Christianity, still, men and women are not faithful unto Him. Many Christians will say with their lips that God is Good and Holy and the Ruler of men. Then they will proceed to give the lie to their words by disobeying the same God Whom they pretended to follow.
I pray God that more and more of those who call upon the Name of the Lord will be truly saved, and will have hearts that are right with God – hearts that are full of sincere love (not flattery); and hearts that are full of steadfastness in the Ways and Word of God. To obey God, rather than men. To pursue Him and His Will, rather than our own fleshly desires.