October 18, 2009

Turning A Cold Hardened Heart Back To The Lord – God Does It Out Of Love

Posted in Devotionals tagged , , , , , , at 10:49 pm by Sarah Bosse

I was praying in the car tonight. I prayed out loud so that I could focus my thoughts. At one point, I asked God, “How much pain, suffering, poor health, financial troubles, emotional difficulties, etc are required to turn a hard and cold heart back to you? How much would you give me to and how much would it take to turn around a hard heart like mine?” I really wanted to know, “Okay, God, how many more trials do you have to send me?” as well as, “How hard is my heart, Lord, and how serious are you about turning it around?” In the end, however, the question deep down within me was, “How serious is my sin and how seriously do you consider it?”

Nebuchadnezzar

Nebuchadnezzar

He answered me with a vivid picture of King Nebuchadnezzar crawling on the ground as a beast. I was frightened at the image. Then His voice came through again, “I would do this much and more to turn one I loved and have chosen back to Myself. But I do it all in love, and I allow no more suffering than is necessary.” I had nothing left to say. I just became humbled and grateful that God would even do such a thing and put such obstacles in my life to turn me towards Him. He loves me that much.

God will lay us low so that He can raise us up.

In the last of four poems by John Piper about Nebuchadnezzar (December, 2006), he writes of Nebuchadnezzar’s enlightenment following the seven bestial years he spent clawing the ground and eating grass as an ox in the fields. Here, therefore, is a creative insight into Nebuchadnezzar’s praise.

“O God Most High, yours is the pow’r.
Yours is dominion every hour
Until there is no time, and then
Forevermore. Yours are the men
Who think they are their own. And yours
The empires of the world, and doors
That men think they can shut against
Your plan. You are a God unfenced
By any bound’ries on the earth
Or in the skies above. To birth
And death you bring the smallest bird
And greatest king. One simple word
From you: It comes to pass, and none
Dare think or say, ‘What have you done?’

To you, O God of grace, I bow,
And by your mercy I do vow,
O God, from this day forth to give
You thanks, and by the way I live,
To say with all my heart I love
You, and I stand amazed that though
I tried to burn your saints, I owe
Them now my soul. And shall I boast
In anything but grace? Foremost
Of all my boasts and thanks is not
That I was king or pow’r my lot,
Or led the nations with a hook,
Or plundered Israel, or took
Your people in captivity,
But that by this you captured me.
This day I choose another fame:
May Hananiah be my name.”

The flame is sent from candle four
To burn the moons that we adore, (idols)
Lest we become, by baying for
The moon, a beast. But even more:
The light of candle four is sent
To show us that the Lord’s intent
Is this: that if he must, God makes
A man a beast and kindly takes
His mind, that in due time the beast
Will lift his gaze to heav’n and feast
His eyes on God. And should you say,
“Is there a sacrifice today
Required?” The Lord himself will give
Reply: “There is. But as I live,
And love to save, that deed is done!
This time I gave my only Son.”

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