Deuteronomy 29:19 

Commandments Weekly Meds

“…and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart saying, “I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart,” as though a drunkard could be included with the sober.” Deuteronomy 29:19  

Moses had just given directions to Israel that once they enter the Promised Land, half of the tribes are to go up on Mount Gerizim to declare blessings upon them as they obey the word of the Lord, and the other half will go up on Mount Ebal to pronounce curses for disobeying the word.  It’s in this context that the verse above is given.  The curses are there so that a person will not think they can have peace if they disobey the word of the Lord and follow whatever they desire to do in their own heart. 

The heart is not to be the judge of what will bring us peace. Only the word of the Lord can tell us that. The terrible irony of our fallen nature is that our hearts will tell us things and will desire things that we think will bring us peace, but it only makes things worse. “There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it is they way of death.” Proverbs 16:25. The dictates, or counsels, of our hearts must be judged by the word of God.  Whatever our hearts are telling us, whether desires for certain things, events, or evaluations of situations, people, including ourselves, all must be made to come under the light of scripture to determine whether our hearts are speaking the truth or not.   

The blessed irony for those who have faith in Christ is that the Holy Spirit is at work literally changing our hearts so that our desires conform to the word of God.  Of course, even though we are Christians it doesn’t mean that our hearts are suddenly always in line with the word.  We will always need to check our heart’s dictates against the word of God. But the Christian realizes the importance of evaluating the heart in this way and is committed to it.    

Moses says that the difference between someone who judges their heart by the word and someone who doesn’t is as easy to see as the difference between a stumbling drunkard and someone who is sober.  Furthermore, the sober person will find that the Holy Spirit is indeed changing their hearts, conforming their desires and counsel to be in line with the word of God in truth.  When one can see this, it is a cause for great rejoicing and true peace. 

His mercy endures forever! 

Pastor Flynn