SETTING YOUR HEART ARIGHT
Psalm 78:8 KJV: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation [that] set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.
It is a great truth that the Holy Spirit always has a present emphasis: ‘present truth’ is what the Spirit of God is saying from the Word that you are going to need in the particular season you are in, in your life, and it comes from rightly dividing the Word. It comes by the grace and the mercy of God and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Those who are in spiritual authority do not just pick these truths out of a hat, but discern what the Spirit of God is saying that will feed the people.
For example, the scripture in Ps.104:27 says, “God gave them their meat in due season”. We see the same thought in:
Luke 12:42 KJV: And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
It is not enough to give meat (Heb.5:10-14); it must be given in due season.
This present truth on ‘setting your heart’ is a very important message to which all should give full attention! God in Ps.78:8 is highlighting the problem of the children of Israel after they came out of Egypt. The majority of them, the Bible says, “set not their heart aright”. They were a stubborn and rebellious generation. The important point here is that it was, and still is today, the responsibility of present day Israelites, the Church to set their heart aright!
It says “they set not”; in other words, it was them that did not set their hearts aright. The problem that Israel had that made them stubborn and rebellious was the willful sin of omission. They did not set their hearts aright. This means that they had the ability to do so! If they could not of their own will do so, then God would have been unfair to say that they didn’t set their hearts aright. In other words, they could have set their hearts aright, but they chose not to; and the same thing is true today!
When the scripture refers to the heart, it is talking about the soul, which comprises of the will, mind and emotions, and in particular the human will. It is your responsibility as a Christian to set your will aright, because it has the tendency to stray from the will of God and this is true for all!
Those people who set their will aright choose to align their will with the will of God. To prove that it was possible to do so, God gave us a witness in Joshua and Caleb. These two were slaves like all of Israel that came out of Egypt. They both were born in Egypt; they both suffered the same punishment from the task masters like all Israelites suffered in Egypt. Joshua and Caleb had all the same experiences: they witnessed the plagues of Egypt; they went through the Red Sea and the wilderness. But God said this about the two of them, (He said it particularly about Caleb, but it was true of both of them) that they had “a different spirit” (Num.14: 24).
Now all the Israelites were unregenerate men and so had not been baptized in the Holy Spirit, so it couldn’t have been the quality of the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts God was talking about. Joshua and Caleb had decided of their freewill to set their hearts aright and that made them different from the approximately three million who perished in the wilderness! This shows the very severe consequences of not setting one’s heart aright; but we are persuaded of better things of you, that you will set and continue to set your heart aright!
The point is that having a heart that is set aright is not automatic. You have to make up your mind to do it; and there is a way to do this. Many Christians do not do it, and it is part of the dishonesty of the people of God in handling the Word of God that we always try and push the responsibility back to God. The scripture says it was not God who set their hearts aright, but it was Joshua and Caleb, of their own freewill, who set their hearts aright!
We may be prompted to ask if God had a part in Joshua and Caleb’s decision? The answer is “Yes!” Men are not robots, and so are allowed to use their free will. When you decide of your own free will to set your heart aright and God sees that you have made up your mind to do so, then God’s power will come and back your decision: but the initiative is with you!
The Bible says in:
Philippians 2:13 KJV: For it is God, which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Consider this does not mean that God takes over your will; rather God will strengthen your will when you are willing! The Lord does not take away the freewill He has given to man. It is Satan who tries to do that!
The insane people we see sometimes on our roads are totally possessed. Something else has taken over their mind! It is the devil that does that, not Holy Spirit. But if you invite the Holy Spirit to possess you, He will! However only if you give Him the permission to do so. Some people are demon-possessed; but we as Christians are, or should be Holy Ghost possessed: full of the Holy Ghost! Again, that it is the choice made by the vessel of his freewill to allow himself to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
It is very important to understand this truth because this is the reason why the majority of Israel missed their destiny to enter the Promised Land! God however did not leave Himself without a witness: He preserved Joshua and Caleb! Here is an amazing truth: Joshua and Caleb suffered the same conditions in Egypt, they were oppressed by the same Pharaoh as all others! Why then were they different? They were so because of the choices they made: they set their hearts aright!
There is a truth that all Christians should be aware of. There are some times that the Holy Spirit helps us to do something, but we are not really sure how it worked out! Now, the Lord wants us to be aware and to be conscious of the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives! It is very important of your own freewill to deliberately make positive choices inside your heart. You and God have ‘a meeting’ and you set your heart to do certain things and ask Him for His help. I did that as a young man. I made up my mind to leave Imperial College, London to answer the call of God on my life. I did so deliberately without wavering; it was a ‘coldblooded’ decision if you will, though, it wasn’t easy decision! I didn’t tell my parents or anybody else. I just knew in my heart that if I stayed in England, I would not do the things I should do spiritually and would not be able to learn what I should learn. I had no idea where my decision would take me to! It was as though I saw two roads; one looked okay in the natural, but I concluded, if I don’t have God with me something will happen! The other road was not so rosy, but God is there, so even if there were to be difficulties, God will help me. So I chose the latter option. I did it deliberately, I set my heart to do it. And over these years, by the mercy and grace of God, I have kept resetting my heart to follow that same road!