How we interact with others, with God, and with ourselves. It's all intertwined.
When we speak to one another, a gentle word or tone, we can hold someone’s heart whereas a hot temper can tear someone down. God never leaves anything out. In vs 4 the word tells us that even as we speak in a gentle tone - words count. “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit”. As normal everyday people it’s a great reminder to take a breath before we speak and to remember we are speaking to another human being - not the action or words that angered us.
Our interactions with God in vs 8, and followed up in Isaiah (chapter 1 vs 11-18) tells us that “the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.” Isaiah goes in to tell us “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? ..... When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. ...Your appointed feasts my souls hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widows cause. .... if you are willing and obedient, you will eat good of the land.”
Do you ever wonder how fed up God must be with us? Yes, he is slow to anger and loving. But he is clear that there is a limit. How far have we pushed it (as a church and as a nation) ? He wants us to do good, to love, to come to him with a humble and repentant heart. We try everything BUT that! We must also have our relationship with ourselves. Vs 26 says that the THOUGHTS of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD. OUR THOUGHTS COUNT!!! Vs 30 says that the light of the eyes rejoices the heart and good news refreshes the bones. What is in our hearts comes out our mouths and, if it’s bad, dulls our eyes. We intrinsically know that God knows what’s in our hearts and we brush it off. But how will we act when we know, really know, that every though we have - HE HEARS. Every morning I need to pray, to be humble before the Lord and that He would guard my heart and mind. Please join me in that 😊