Disqualifcations continued...

Jonah (Jonah 1 & 2; 3:1-3)

Jonah is a good example of the mercy of the Lord, even when we are disobedient.  The word of the Lord came to Jonah and he was to deliver it to the people of Nineveh.  When Jonah received that word, he ran in the opposite direction from his assignment.  That is blatant disobedience.  But the Lord is good and He has a way of persuading us to do His will – one way or another.  After spending three days in the belly of a great fish, Jonah was not only praising the Lord for his deliverance, he was ready to go where the Lord wanted him to go.  God is very mindful of where we are in our walk with Him, and He is gracious enough to meet us at our level of maturity.  This should encourage anyone who has failed to obey the Lord in the past (haven’t we all at one time or another?)  Let’s determine in our hearts to obey Him from this day forward. 

Deuteronomy 28

This very important chapter in the Bible describes in detail the blessings of obedience to God’s commands in verses 1-14, and the curses of disobedience in the rest of the chapter.  Notice that both verses one and fifteen begin almost the same way: verse one begins with “If you will” and verse fifteen begins with “But if you will not.”  “If” essentially means that the things that follow are conditional upon our meeting the “if” requirement.  We can choose, by an act of our will, to do one thing or the other.  But each section lets us know in no uncertain terms what will happen in either case as the result of our choice.  The Word of God also says in Deuteronomy 30:19-20

19 I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live 20 And may love the Lord your God, obey His voice, and cling to Him. For He is your life and the length of your days, that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

We choose either the blessing or the curse.  It’s up to us.

Disobedience not only means that we miss out on the blessing, it also means that we are not trustworthy.  God can’t put what He desires into our hands if He can’t trust us to do what He tells us to do with it.  Would you continue to give your car keys to a teenager who repeatedly goes where you tell them not to go, does what you tell them not to do, and doesn’t do what you ask them to do?

Now let’s talk about the other disqualifying factor: a heart condition.

(2) A Heart Condition

Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-20

18 But whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what makes a man unclean and defiles [him]. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts (reasonings and disputings and designs) such as murder, adultery, sexual vice, theft, false witnessing, slander, and irreverent speech. 20 These are what make a man unclean and defile [him]; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him unclean or defile [him].

Another account of this is found in Mark 7:20-23

20 And He said, What comes out of a man is what makes a man unclean and renders [him] unhallowed. 21 For from within, [that is] out of the hearts of men, come base and wicked thoughts, sexual immorality, stealing, murder, adultery, 22 Coveting (a greedy desire to have more wealth), dangerous and destructive wickedness, deceit; unrestrained (indecent) conduct; an evil eye (envy), slander (evil speaking, malicious misrepresentation, abusiveness), pride ( the sin of an uplifted heart against God and man), foolishness (folly, lack of sense, recklessness, thoughtlessness). 23 All these evil [purposes and desires] come from within, and they make the man unclean and render him unhallowed.

Jesus clearly tells us that evil thoughts come from our hearts, and He gives us examples of manifestations of those thoughts.  We find some of the same examples, along with others, in the following scriptures.

Galatians 5:19-21 - 19 Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, 20 Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), 21 Envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.