Devotional – As Far From Good As You Can Get

Psalm 64:6 They plot injustice and say, “We have devised a perfect plan!” Surely the human mind and heart are cunning.

I hear a lot how humans are basically good. That we can make for ourselves right and wrong. In many conversations I’ve taken the not too popular position that humans are not good. Not at all. That our natural inclination, our basic foundation of being is evil. That there aren’t “good” people. That belief is something I’ve long-held true, a belief I only have to watch my children to see firsthand. I mean, I didn’t ever have to teach them to lie, or be mean to each other. But I’ve never done any specific Bible searching about. It was particularly troubling me yesterday, and behold – God gave me a verse to start with in my reading today. He is so awesome at meeting us exactly where we are. Coming right down and essentially saying “So Tonya, something is bugging you? Let’s talk about it.” Man the Lord is incredible.

I did a little digging after reading this passage from Psalms (the whole chapter is only 10 verses and it’s so amazing, I would encourage you to read it). I wanted to know more about what the meaning behind the word “cunning”, and what God says about the nature of the human heart. The word for cunning here comes from the word “amoq” (pronounced ä·mōke…sounds almost exactly like our English word “amuck”). It means deep, unsearchable. The King James version of this verse reads “Both the inward thought and the heart of man are deep.” Well, that doesn’t sound so bad right? We’re just intricate people. Not evil. Right? Wrong.

I thought probably that thought/heart were taking about man’s soul. His inner being. The core of who we are being deep, unknowable. So I looked up other instances of that root word. Here’s what jumped off the page at me. Two passages from Genesis discussing the heart/soul nature of people. God tackles this issue of the “goodness” of man right from the beginning of the Bible. The first one was pre-flood Gen 6:5 “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” God doesn’t pull any punches describing just how rotten humans are. Just in case you thought that after God practically wiped out humans with a flood, the new crop was going to be better somehow, this verse from AFTER the destruction of evil man. Gen 8:21 Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.”

Every intent of man’s heart is evil continually, and the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Well, that pretty much sums it up for me. Man is not good. In fact, we are as far from good as you can get. The truly amazing thing to me is that even knowing all about the condition of our hearts, God is promising never to curse the ground again. In full understanding of our basic evilness, the Lord is making a vow not destroy us. Rather, He offers us mercy and grace. He accepts that we are pitiful messy ugly people and offers us the saving love and sacrifice of Jesus to cover all that evil in our souls.

How freeing. How amazing. I don’t have to try to be good. I don’t have to somehow attempt to overcome my basic nature (not that I ever could anyway). It’s all God. It is redeeming love that accepts me just as I am, and loves me too much to leave me in that pathetic mess I called “my life”. Thank you Jesus.

So although God showed me today that indeed I’m as far from “good” as you can possibly get – He also reminded me that where I fail, He succeeds. Where I am weak and pathetic, He is strong. That it’s not about me. It’s about Him. And He is absolutely amazing. Wow. Thanks for the chat this morning God.

2 thoughts on “Devotional – As Far From Good As You Can Get

  1. As in Jeremiah: the heart is desperately wicked–who can know it? Of course, we KNOW: the Lord knows it and condescended in love to save and heal us!

    Nice blog. I recommended you to a friend of mine–I happened upon your blog when researching pumpkin scones (so guess who’s recipe I have?)…I haven’t written in a long time but enjoy your recipes, musings, etc.

    God bless you–& have a wonderful Resurrection season! May Christ hear your prayers.

    Much love
    from Barbara in SF, CA (though moving to Denver soon if the Lord wills).

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