Direct me in the path of your commands,Psalm 119:35 – 37 NIV
for there I find delight.
Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.
Do you remember the contest on Mount Carmel, Isaiah vs the prophets of Baal? The prophets of Baal call on their gods to consume the sacrifice, and nothing happens. Then Isaiah sets up his sacrifice, pouring water over it and praying simply. He gives God two reasons to answer his prayer — he wants the people to know two things!
“O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”1 Kings 18:36-37 ESV
His first reason was so the people would know that God truly is God. He wanted the people to know that if their hearts were turning towards God, only God could do that. God is the One who turns hearts to Himself.
If God can direct a King’s heart …
A king’s heart is like channeled water in the Lord’s hand:Proverbs 21:1 CSB
He directs it wherever he chooses.
God turned the heart of Pharaoh to Joseph when Joseph interpreted his dreams. He did the same when He caused Darius to care about Daniel and to even lose sleep over his being in the lion’s den. God turned Cyrus’ heart toward the Jews, allowing them to return to their promised land and rebuild their temple. If God can turn the hearts of kings, He can certainly turn our hearts. The king isn’t named here to be exclusive but to remind us that even the freest and most powerful human must respond to God.
And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.Ezra 6:22 ESV
We can only imagine the impact of the defeat of Baal and God’s decisive victory on the people who witnessed it. The scripture tells us the people fell on their faces and acknowledged God as God. We have to wonder how long that mountain high lasted. We know for Elijah, it didn’t last long.
If God has to redirect our hearts over and over …
Do you wonder if God gets tired of turning our hearts back to Him? In turning our eyes away from worthless things and setting our eyes on things above? (Hint – read the scriptures – He goes after His people repeatedly!)
During this season of Lent, I’m asking God to turn my heart towards His royal law of love, to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love others as He has loved me!
Father, You who created us to enjoy you,
To follow, serve, and love you –
Turn our hearts back to you –
May we see the folly of our ways –
May we seek undivided hearts
Hearts that long for you
Even as the deer pants for water
Turn our eyes towards you –
May we look full in your wonderful face
May all the distractions, the glittering idols
Grow strangely dim
In the light of your glory and grace!