Beloved: Grace and Peace
Elkmont Baptist Church
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. When God places Adam in the garden, He gives Adam this instruction: "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:17).
Imaginations of Man
The adversary, when he tempted Eve, slandered God saying, "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). The Scripture goes on and reports, "And when the woman saw that the tree
good for food, and that it
pleasant to the eyes,
and a tree to be desired to make
wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat,
and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat" (Genesis 3:6).
The Apostle John tells us, "For all that
in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust
of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (1 John 2:16). The adversary and the world both use the same tactics: the lust of the flesh (good for food), the lust of the eyes (pleasant to the eyes), and the pride of life (desirable to make one wise).
Genesis records, "And the LORD smelled a sweet savor; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart
evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living,
as I have done" (Genesis 8:21).
From our youth on, the imagination of our hearts is evil. We have a bent towards evil. The temptation we all face is to be as god in our lives and choose what we want. We must learn what God calls evil in order that we may choose the good and refuse the evil.
Before the flood, the Scripture records, "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man
great in the earth, and
every imagination of the thoughts of his heart
only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5). Again, after the flood, the Scripture records: "And
the LORD smelled a sweet savor; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart
his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done" (Genesis 8:21).
Did you notice the word imagination? Before the flood every imagination of the thoughts of the heart of men was only evil continually. After the flood, the imagination of men's hearts is evil from his youth. In Deuteronomy 31:21, God tells Moses that he is to teach the people a song that shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: "for I know their imagination which they go about . . . ." In 1 Chronicles 28:9, David tells Solomon to serve God with a perfect heart and a willing mind: ". . . for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts . . . ." 1 Chronicles 29:18 records David's prayer and petition to the LORD God to ". . . keep this forever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee."
The Hebrew word translated
in these passages is also translated
in other passages. The imagination is the framework of our thoughts and
is bent towards evil. We are prone to look at the world around us through some framework. It is often the framework of our experiences or our learning. Some people speak of this as your worldview. Since our imagination, our framework, our worldview is bent towards evil from our youth, it is before our youth, and in our youth, and today that we must being framing our thoughts biblically (a Biblical Worldview). The Apostle Paul tells us that "the weapons of our warfare
are . . .
mighty through God to the pulling
down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). We have mighty weapons to cast down our imaginations which are bent towards evil.
The Book of Jeremiah contains several references to the imagination:
Jeremiah 3:17 says, "At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart." God is telling Jeremiah and us about a time to come.
Jeremiah 7:24 says, "But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels
Jeremiah 9:14 says, "But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them."
Jeremiah 11:8 says, "Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded
to do; but they did
Jeremiah 13:10: "This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing."
Jeremiah 16:12: "And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me:"
God is speaking to Jeremiah about the people of Judah and of Jerusalem. He calls them evil because they refuse to hear His words, and they walk after the imagination of their own hearts. They obeyed not, neither inclined their ears. They hearkened not, but walked in their own counsels (plans) and in the imagination of their own hearts. They walked after other gods. They are good for nothing. Those are His words concerning those who were His people. And judgment according to the words of the covenant came upon them.
"Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (1 Corinthians 10:11).
May we receive admonition and learn from their example and not our own.
I have saved until now what is the hardest verse in Jeremiah for me concerning the imagination. In Jeremiah 18 we hear:
O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay
in the potter's hand, so
ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and not pull down, and to destroy
If that nation, against whom I have pronounced,
turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And
instant I shall speak conerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build
and to plant
If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent
of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
In this passage God is telling the house of Israel that, if they turn from their evil, He will repent of the evil He planned to bring on them. In this passage, God defines evil in His sight as not obeying His voice.
The LORD tells Jeremiah to speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, "saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good" (Jeremiah 18:11). Now comes the heartbreaker.
"And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart" (Jeremiah 18:12).
They said, "There is no hope." The Lord had just told them there was hope. They were speaking from evil, unbelieving hearts. They did not want to return from their evil way (walking after their own devices, doing the imagination of their hearts).
In times of my depression, I have said, just like them, there is no hope. What a lie! There is always hope for those of us who believe.
Why do we come together whenever we can? The writer of Hebrews tells us, "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:12-13). We come to exhort, to encourage one another, as long as it is today.
Grace to you.
in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not
- a series compilation
Dearest and Beloved
- Jeremiah 18:6-10