"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8)."
God doesn't look on a person's television image when he decides who are pure in heart. In fact, those who appear to be doing God's will may be a long way from him.
Leslie A. Turvey: As Jesus looked down the mountain where he was teaching his disciples he saw among the multitude at the bottom many who were pure in heart. These were among the people who were down-trodden by the self-righteous Pharisees and by the Roman government, yet whose lives were filled with seeking God's will.
They weren't particularly special: indeed they were likely men and women in the autumn of their years, wrinkled with the cares of their age. They prayed daily for Messiah to come and release them and their families from their plight.
Who Will God Choose?
When God sent Samuel to anoint one of Jesse's sons as the next king over Israel, Samuel looked at Eliab and said, "This one is surely God's choice. He's tall. He's strong. He's handsome. Just the kind of person the people will look for in a king."
But the Lord said to Samuel, "Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature, because I have refused him: for the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart (I Samuel 16:7). Today, God might say, "Don't look at his television image."
God sees into the heart [mind] of you and me, and knows even what we think. I'm sure he finds many people who appear to be doing God's will, but whose hearts are far from him. Isaiah spoke of them when he prophesied. "...this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear [respect] toward me is taught by the precept of men." (Isaiah 29:13). Politicians, for example, who haven't darkened a church door for years, suddenly become "life-long members" of this or that prestigious church at election time. That's respect toward God as taught by the advice of their human advisors!
Ministers of God?
Jesus upheld Isaiah's prophecy when the scribes and Pharisees challenged him about his disciples. He said, "Well has Esaias [Isaiah] prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, `This people honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men'" (Mark 7:7-8).
Here were the Pharisees, considered to be the most righteous men in the land, being told their hearts were far from God. If Jesus were here today, one might wonder what he would say of the televangelists who claim to he ministers of God, but whose prayers seem predicated on the size of the individual's offering.
The Pure In Heart
You needn't look far to find a little widow lady whose heart is right with God, who believes this or that tele-ministry is God's work, so supports it with a check every time the minister pleads, "Please don't let this work go off the air." She may be deceived, but her heart is pure.
How can you know whether your heart is pure? The psalmist, David, gives us a clue. He wrote, "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that has clean hands, and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully (Psalm 24:34).
If your hands are clean of doing ungodly things, and if you are a good neighbor, a credit to your community; if you haven't put the emptiness of the world ahead of the things of God; if your word can he trusted at all times in and out of Court; then you are likely among those of whom Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." (Matt. 5:8)
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For PDF or mailed copy, see CGOM. Excerpt from New Horizons Vol. 5 No. 2, March-April, 2001. Edited by James McBride of the Churches of God, United Kingdom.
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