“The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is incurable sick; who can know it? I יהוה search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” (Yirme-Yahu 17:9-10)
The prophet Yirme-Yahu (Jeremiah) in the previous verses was declaring the judgement over the Tribe of Yehuda who had gone into idolatry and sin. They took up the practices of the surrounding pagan nations and worshiped in their ways. Christmas trees, babies sacrificed, and all the while calling it “worshiping God” . They probably thought “It’s Ok. God doesn’t care as long as I say it’s for Him, and about Him. It FEELS right. He knows my heart, and My HEART says it’s right”. What profanity. The creator does not share His glory with another. And as I’ve come to learn, the manner we worship HIM indeed matters the most.
We have a skewed outlook on what ‘worship’ is these days. From mood lights, smoke and repetitious music that invokes a trance like state, to loud chaotic behaviors, all encouraged and deemed OK as long as we ‘feel in our hearts’ that it is right. But is this the way the Creator יהוה taught us to worship Him?
It is also likely that we believe ‘worship’ is only done in a religious service. We call it a worship service and if we enjoy the music time, we say “worship was good today”. We also have ideas about how the Ruakh HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) works and moves. I do not read in the Bible anywhere that Yeshua practiced ‘worship’ in the ways we do today. Did he sway and move, arms lifted as the beautiful music evoked the feel goods, on Sabbath? Did the Believers who followed Him do it too? Did the Israelites do this? What verses say this is the manner we should approach the Creator?
Yehuda borrowed the practices of the pagans, and mixed them with the true worship of the One True Elohim. This is Adultry. This is Idolatry. They followed their own hearts and minds, and it led them into sin. In His word, Yah pleads with Israel to return to Him and destroy those things they took from the pagans, the world, and return to Worshiping Him in Truth. Without mixing things, they could return to the Father’s instructions, to His Torah, and be once again a Kadosh people, Holy, set apart for the Creator.
When I came out of idolatry and began to understand the Fathers instructions, and that He did not ever change His ways, I had to face some hard decisions. Besides the manner I used to worship, the holidays I used to celebrate, I also had to look at the artifacts I had accumulated over time, that also had symbols of pagan worship. The mixing of methods and symbols are the things that tripped up Yehuda, and Israel, and will trip us up too.
I am seeing as we live our lives, our hearts (dare I say emotions) tend to be driving the cart. We do what we feel like doing, or not. We make decisions every day based on our own ideas, and heart. And when we acquire an object from a loved one, or a good friend, we cherish those things. Objects we treasure and when we see them we remember the one who gave them to us. We pause and cherish the memory, the love the other had for us. The moment they gave us the thing. Their heart toward us. How Precious!!! Like Gollum in the Lord of the Rings??!! The object of our affection is transferred to the thing, and ultimately ourselves as we realized how special we are or at least were at that moment, for someone to give us such a nice ‘thing’. This is what I call a heart string.
The heart gets anchored, tied to the person or memory, event or moment when we felt special. Or conversely we may anchor our heart to a negative event in our past. We can keep anything tied to our heart to mull over later, to take out and polish. I was given a beautiful handmade item from a friend a few years ago. We had just started keeping Torah and were learning so much. In an effort to accommodate our new walk, my friend incorporated both pagan originated symbolism and the name of the Creator. And so, when months later I learned about the command to make and wear tzittzit on the garments, I thought I’d attach a pair to the gift she gave me. Sort of ‘making it more Jewish’. I took something with pagan symbols on it, that used Abba’s NAME, and added the fringes to it. Then I hung it up, pleased with my addition and happy to remember my friend. Five years later, I recently realized I was clinging to a ‘thing’ I had tried to make ‘holy’ by attaching fringes that belong on a garment, to remind us to keep the Commands of the Father, and on it were Pagan symbols. Worse yet, when I thought it was right to throw it out, it was HARD! I didn’t know if I was right to do that. My heart wants to keep it, the heartstring is tied on with double knots! That’s when I realized I had a heartstring attached to it. The thing.
The second of the Ten Commandments says, “You will have no other gods”. But by making a heartstring attachment, and mixing the worship of Yah with our own ways, we break this command. Nothing and no one should take the place of the Creator in our hearts. NOTHING comes before HIM. He is יהוה .
“I יהוה search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.”
Matti 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures in the earth, a place where rust and moth destroy, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves a treasure in heaven, where neither rust nor moth destroys, and where thieves do not break through and steal. For where your treasure is, there also is your heart.”
What’s in your heart?