Sunday, July 29, 2012

Good-For-Nothing Thought

How many times have you heard someone say, "It was just a thought - I didn't act on it, so it doesn't matter"  or at least something along those lines?  I may have said it myself at some point in time or another.

Deuteronomy 15:9 - Beware that there is no base thought in your heart, saying, "The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,' and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the Lord against you, and it will be a sin in you.


There are two small things I want to discuss before moving onto the main point here.  First, the seventh year, the year of remission, also known as the Sabbath year, was a year when all debt was released.  Whether you had lent it 7 years ago or 3 years ago or yesterday - when you entered the year of remission, you had to release the debt, simple as that.  Can you imagine if we still operated like this how different life would be?  From less bankruptcy, to many more homeowners, to less suicide due to unfathomable debt....the list goes on and on.... 

This verse is saying that you won't lend to the poor because you know that the year of remission is near and you won't get your money back.  It also states that if you do this, the poor can cry to the Lord and it will be a sin against you.  What I really want you to catch here is this: "What a consolation to the poor and the oppressed, that they have a sure friend in God, who will hear their cry and redress their grievances" (Clarke).  Even when we aren't a friend to the poor - they still, and always will, have Someone!

Okay...now to the main point.  Yes, this verse obviously has the connotation that we need to give to the poor.  However, it is hard to apply to our lives today since we do not have the year of remission anymore.  However, look back to the beginning of this verse where it states "Beware that there is no base thought in your heart..."  First, let us define what "base" means.  In the Hebrew, it is actually beliya 'al meaning "worthlessness, wickedness, vileness" (Strong's H1100).  Or as Clarke defines it, "good-for-nothing or unprofitable.

You see, "we mistake if we think thoughts are free from the divine cognizance and check" (Henry).  God hears our thoughts!  That's why we can pray without speaking.  Isn't it funny that we know God hears our prayers, so we don't say them out loud.  But at the same time, we like to think He doesn't hear each and every one of our individual thoughts.  After all, thinking is where our sin begins: "Those that would keep from the act of sin must keep our of their minds the very thought of sin" (Henry).  "Beware," or shamar, is defined as "to keep, guard, observe, give heed" (Strong's H8104).  As Wesley states, the natural conclusion of this defenition is that we need to "suppress the first risings of such uncharitableness."  In other words, we need to guard our thoughts.  We need to make sure that sinful thoughts are quickly suppressed and kept out of our mind.  This is not an easy task, but a vital one!

Today I challenge you to think better.  :)  When you notice that you are having a negative or sinful thought this week, stop whatever you're doing and take a deep breath.  During your "breather" refocus on something positive or holy - like God's love.  His love can change a heart of stone, so I'm sure it can change a teensy-weensy thought!  

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