Thinking Aloud... "Examine Yourselves"
By Paul Ravenhill
Isaiah speaks of a people that draw near to God with their lips, but not with their hearts, and whose knowledge of God is through the words of men - a people who have never known God for themselves by divine revelation...
In this our 20th century church, to contrast divine revelation
with mens teaching, seems almost blasphemy...
but revelation was the way that Moses, Samuel, and
Paul learned of God.
Matthew quotes this prophecy, and then gives Gods summing up of this situation in the next verse (Mt. 15:9), "In vain do they worship Me."
Ezequiel puts it in a slightly different light, "With their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after covetousness:"
In other words
with their mouths they are GIVING
with their hearts they are intent on GETTING.
Isnt so much of our Christianity preoccupied with our getting rather than giving? Even our giving in "praise and worship" is contaminated with the expectation of getting feelings of peace, joy etc. We have set ourselves up for deception. We want for ourselves whatever it is that God is giving out! This is what we have been taught. The important thing seems to be not our relationship with God, but our ability to plunge headlong into the "move," to "surf the wave," and then repeat the process over and over.
We have leaned too much on mans teaching, exhortation and "encouragement" and sought too little for the Presence of God behind the words. Paul exhorts "examine yourselves... prove your own selves..." The faith which is the product of mans instigation will soon fade when real shaking comes, but the faith built on God alone will endure and bring forth the fruit of life.
Copyright © Paul Ravenhill 1997 - http://www.ravenhill.org/