“MAY THE LORD DIRECT YOUR HEARTS TO …”
As Paul concludes his 2nd letter to the Thessalonians he tells them, “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” [3 v.5] It is evident that the Lord cannot “direct” this – unless our hearts are already “looking” toward our Saviour. Paul told the Hebrews, they needed to be “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith” [Heb 12 v.2] and the Gk. For “looking” refers to a fixed direction of ‘looking.’
It is evident that this cannot happen unless our attitude of heart is already desiring this. We read today in Joshua of the judgements of God that affected the whole nation because one man coveted some of the spoil of Jericho when it was destroyed. It is evident it was a deliberate calculated act because when Achan is identified, under the direction of God, he admits, he took them, including silver and gold and “they are hidden in the earth inside my tent” [ch. 7 v.21].
The words Joshua addressed to Achan are significant, “My son, give glory to the LORD God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me what you have done.” [v.21] Honest confession to God, gives him a form of “glory” because it acknowledges the total supremacy of an all knowing Creator. But Achan’s sin was a calculated deception and “all Israel stoned him with stones” [v.25] and our thoughts turn to the words of Paul in Hebrews that “if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of Judgment …” [12 v.26]
Thankfully for our human weaknesses and failures, the grace of our Lord is readily extended to us, but let us never forget the lesson of Achan, who should have felt an awed humility when he saw the walls of Jericho fall without any human effort. What of us, when God destroys the “walls” of the remarkable ‘civilisation’(?) human beings have now created in this modern world?
Finally, the inspiring chapter we read in Isaiah today (11) gives us such a wonderful vision of the future God has planned for our world and for those faithful to him and his Son; in reading them we should feel spiritually motivated to live our lives more and more to reflect that we really are his spiritual sons and daughters looking forward to the time when “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” [v.9] Is your motivation increasing? Are you seeking more and more earnestly for “the Lord to direct your heart”? Remember what he is directing it toward – read again the opening quote from Paul’s letter.