Some of my recent reading was in Luke 6, where vs. 43-45 say the following:
For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks, NKJV.
I was struck by the word “abundance” and wondered about the Greek word it translates, so I looked it up. It pretty much means “abundance”. Sometimes there are nuances the English doesn’t pick up, but this doesn’t seem to be one of those times.
In Matthew 12, in one of His frequents bouts with the Pharisees, this time when they were accusing Him of casting out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons, v. 24, the Lord Jesus responded, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give an account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned, vs. 33-37.
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.”
This is why Scripture admonishes us to keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life, Proverbs 4:23.
Solomon wasn’t writing about our physical hearts, though the same thing could be said of them. The heart oxygenates our bodies several times a minute and removes the waste products of our breathing at the same time. Have you ever really thought about that? In effect, the same truck that delivers our groceries takes away our trash? Only God could figure out something like that which actually works.
Truly, we are fearfully and wonderfully made, Psalm 139:14.
No wonder the psalmist finished that verse: Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
My mom was a nurse, so I’ve had some of her medical books. She’s been gone a long time so they were dated, but even back in the 30s and 40s, science knew enough about the wonder that is our physical makeup, that no one in their right mind should have believed that all this intricacy and interconnection “just happened”.
With the knowledge we have today, there is even less basis for that idea.
As well look at an automobile engine, though it is kindergarten simple compared to our bodies, and say that that V8 “just happened.” Such a thought would receive the ridicule it deserves. Man knows it was carefully engineered and built by a lot of people using expensive machinery and technology. Only of the physical world is it accredited and accepted to say, “This universe, this body, ‘just happened’.”
Man is very concerned to take care of his physical heart, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The other “heart,” the one that really matters, he says, “meh,” and gives it little thought. Or if he does, he doses it with some “snake oil” that a carnival barker would be ashamed to promote.
It takes more than some little “cure” dreamed up in the side-shows of life to take care of our spiritual hearts.
Why is that?
Because Scripture has already given us the diagnosis for this kind of “heart trouble.”
Jeremiah 17:9 tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?”
That “heart” tells us that there is no God, there are no absolutes, if it feels good just do it, there is nothing after death, no judgment, no hell, though there may be a “better place,” the bible (small “b”) is just another religious book, and we don’t really have to pay any attention to it.
Scripture also gives us the “cure” for our spiritual heart trouble.
Though it’s written to and about the nation of Israel, it’s applicable to us through the Lord Jesus. In Ezekiel 11:19, 20, God promised Israel, “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.”
These verses and the several like them in the prophetic books of the OT form the basis of Paul’s statement in Romans 11:26, 27 about the salvation of all Israel. These verses haven’t happened yet, but they will. They await the coming of the Lord Jesus.
How does God give us this “heart of flesh”? This new heart?
In 2 Peter 1:3-5, we read, ….His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, that by these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
This is what the Lord Jesus was talking about in John 3 when He told Nicodemus about being “born again”. The reception of a new nature, a nature that’s concerned about the things of God. That’s the only real “cure” for the spiritual troubles we have, individually and as a nation. Contrary to what the liberal revisionists would have us believe, this nation was founded by people who wanted to worship God as they believed the Scripture to teach and not as some religious authority told them they had to. We have so much trouble today because we’ve thrown out their wisdom and substituted the secular wisdom of the likes of Karl Marx and John Dewey. Who was John Dewey? He was one of the main forces behind the secularization of public education. Before him, as an example, one of the early grade McGuffey Readers, teaching little ones their ABC’s, of the letter “A” said, “In Adam’s Fall, we sinned all.” A lot of churches today don’t even believe that, let alone our educational system. This does not deny that many teachers do the best they can in a system where they might have to be physically protected from their students. A system in which “security officers” now patrol the halls.
Our churches, our schools, our families, our kids, our government, our culture all show the deterioration that has come because we’ve thrown out the “salt” of the Word and the corruption of other things has come in. Instead of a democratic republic (America is not a “democracy;” it is a constitutional republic – not that anyone cares anymore), we have the beginnings of a socialist dictatorship. Instead of a robust economy, paying for itself as we go, we’ve gotten so far into debt to nations which hate us that our great-great-great-great-etc.,-grandchildren will bear the burden of our stupidity.
That’s just a sample of what happens to nations, to cultures, when they throw out the good tree and replace it with the bad tree.
The heart is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things, and who can know it?