Rhythm Reading Plan: Day Thirteen
Blasphemy! The religious leaders could have accused the Hebrew king, David, of speaking sacrilegiously about God after hearing his song. During the Old Testament time of David, entering into the presence of God (His temple) was restricted to an elect few. Only members of the tribe of Levi were allowed into the temple of God. And even they had to go through a series of strict rituals, including bathing, changing clothes and offering a sacrifice, before they could even think of entering the Holy of Holies: the place where God’s presence dwelled. So for David to claim that the only thing necessary to enter the presence of God was “clean hands and a pure heart” (vs. 4) could have been viewed to sacrilege. There is a reason though, that God calls David “a man after His own heart.” David understood that the outside rituals performed by the priests meant absolutely nothing if their hearts were not right with God.
Today because of the death of Jesus on the cross to pay for our sin, we are privileged to be able to enter the presence of God without any type of specific pedigree, elaborate cleansing or sacrifice (thank goodness, since sheep aren’t exactly plentiful in Cleveland). The way that we enter God’s presence is through spiritual disciplines like reading the Bible and prayer. It is important to remember the lesson that David taught in Psalm 24 though. The outward ritual of Scripture reading or spending a specific amount of time in prayer, means absolutely nothing if we do not allow it to change us on the inside.
In the New Testament, the author of Hebrews says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV) Simply reading God’s Word will not transform us. We have to allow it to show us where we have missed the mark and be willing to humbly confess that area of sin and take the necessary steps to change.
It is so easy to fall into a pattern (or ritual) when it comes to spending time with God. We can put a checkmark next to reading one or two chapters, praying for 15 minutes, memorizing a verse every week, etc. without actually letting it transform us. If we miss the point (having “clean hands and a pure heart” vs. 4) we are no closer to the presence of God when we finish then when we started. Only through upright living or inner change will we will receive “blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of [our] salvation.” (vs. 6)
Have you fallen into a routine when it comes to spending time with God?
If you were face to face with God today, would He call you a man or woman after His own heart?
What steps can you take to make your time with God a time of inner transformation instead of simply outward actions?
Devotional Contributed by Faith De Zort