John T. Willis

Friday, March 15, 2013

Topsy-Turvy Values: This is a Heart Issue

Throughout history, human beings have reversed values in life. It is easy for all of us to major in minors and to minor in majors, to put the cart before the horse, to make mountains out of mole hills. Here are only a few obvious examples. 1. God's people regularly slip into the mistaken concept that external acts of religion are more important than the heart and honest godly daily living. This was a major concern for the prophets in the Hebrew Bible. Amos 5:21-24; Hosea 6;4-6; Isaiah 1:10-17; Micah 6:1-8. Just one good example is Jeremiah 7:9-10: "Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me [God] in this house [the temple=for us, the church building], which is called by my name, and say, 'We are safe'--only to go on doing all these abominations?" 2. Many have focused on the "correct" acts of worship instead of the attitude and feelings of the heart. One great example of this is the demand that one must worship God ONLY in vocal singing and not use instrumental music. No one really knows where this idea came from. But for many people, this has become "gospel" and necessary for salvation. But when one actually reads the Bible, this is not an issue at all. Here are ONLY two biblical examples. *The prophet Amos assumes that everyone who serves God in worship uses vocal songs and melody of the harp. Amos 5:23. Amos denounces these people not for singing vocally or orally or for using harps in worship, but for oppressing the poor and needy in daily living. *In Ephesians 5:19, Paul assumes that Christians gather to worship to "sing and make melody to the Lord in their hearts." Singing is vocal singing, and making melody is using instruments of music. Many texts in the Hebrew Bible clearly connect vocal singing with instrumental music. Just one example is Psalm 33:2-3, which connects "making melody to Yahweh with the harp of ten strings" and "singing." The very "make melody" means instrumental music. 3. We human beings are constantly attracted to "new gadgets." We think that by doing this we improve our lives. Many people are now putting the cart before the horse by using iPads, iPhones, computers of all kind and spending so much time with these new gadgets that they neglect PEOPLE. God is concerned deeply with PEOPLE, NOT with NEW GADGETS. Yes, it is very helpful to find a better car or a better airplane or a better computer, but none of these comes close to spending time with another person. Amos emphasized this point in Amos 2:6 and 8:6 by condemning wealthy people for buying and selling the poor and the needy for a pair of sandals. Which is more important: a pair of sandals or a person? Which is more important: To spend time with another person or to play games on a new gadget? Share YOUR concepts and reversions and desires and feelings and aspirations with others. Let me hear from YOU. John Willis


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