In Part 1 of this blog last week, I talked about who are YHVH’s children and those who should keep His Torah, and concluded that it is not Abraham’s biological descendants, but rather those who are His spiritual descendants. The true children of YHVH’s covenant are those are following His will and trusting Him, keeping His Torah and striving to be pleasing to Him in every part of their lives. That covered the “genes” part of this 2-part series. This week I want to focus on what God sees when He looks at us: we know from Scripture that He looks on the inside of us and does not focus on our outer appearance or the level of recognition we merit from the world. In other words, He doesn’t care whether we wear threadbare jeans vs. classy suits, or how many degrees we have achieved or awards we have won.
What is YHVH truly looking for when He looks deep down inside of our souls? From Hebrews 4:12, we know that He “discerns the thoughts and intents of our heart”. But what are His criteria in evaluating our hearts – does He look to see how perfectly we are following His Torah, or how diligently we are working to serve our congregation? Psalm 58 gives us a beautiful window into YHVH’s heart, and we know that our hearts should line up with His heart as we seek to renew ourselves more into His image every day.
God is conveying a very strong message through Isaiah when He tells Him to shout it out with a shofar blast. (Isa 58:1) He chastises His people for their false piety – they are trying to impress God by putting on sackcloth and ashes, and afflicting themselves severely when they fast. The only ones they are impressing are people around them though, not YHVH. He desires them to fast from their hearts when He says:
“..this is the kind of fasting I want: free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help”. (Isa 58:6-7)
If these concepts sound familiar to New Testament readers, that’s because they are. Listen to what Yeshua said when He was speaking to the goats on His left and the sheep on His right:
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited Me into your home. I was naked, and you gave Me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for Me. I was in prison, and you visited Me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see You hungry and feed You? Or thirsty and give You something to drink? Or a stranger and show You hospitality? Or naked and give You clothing? When did we ever see You sick or in prison and visit You?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these My brothers and sisters,[f] you were doing it to Me!’
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed Me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give Me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite Me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give Me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit Me.’ “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help You?’ “And He will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help Me.’ “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
What, then, is truly important to Abba Father when He looks into our souls? From Yeshua’s words in Matthew 5:7, we know that He desires for us to be pure in heart, not obeying Him out of obligation but because we sincerely want to please Him from the depths of our heart. And what does He say about those who are pure in heart? ‘They shall see God’.
This takes us right back to the essence of our relationship with Yehovah – if we want to know Him intimately, we need to align our hearts with His, which means we will automatically do the things that please Him: feed the poor, take care of orphans and widows, shelter the homeless, etc. In your life, try not to focus on the outward things, but look deep inside your heart. In the ‘intents and desires of your heart’, after stripping away everything superficial, do you see what YHVH is looking for?