Tuesday, we enjoyed the First Lesson of the Life by The Bee Series (Series Title from my son Josh) that takes themes from popular artist Beyonce. We looked first at her song “Sorry” , featured on the Lemonade Album of 2016.
The songs lyric capture the pain and frustration of a person that has been faithful to a relationship in which faithfulness has not been reciprocated. She speaks of the pain felt as one comes to the conclusion that the inevitable has materialized. In this, she acts out of character by seeking to inflict pain on her soon to be ex.
When listening to the song on the radio, I too was caught by the lyrics and the story of her song. I thought of our relationship with God, and how we as constant breakers of our covenant with God. I thought of His forgiving nature, and how long suffering He is, and then considered that He is Just and capable of wrath and destruction as well.
“What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin
so that grace may increase? Absolutely not!
How can we who died to sin still live in it?”
In this I saw us in a lifestyle of sin, depending on the grace of our Lord and the commitment of God to maintain His covenant with us while we sow the proverbial “wild oats.” He deals with our odd hours, knowing “we should’ve been home” and even listens to our “excuses”. But unlike Beyonce, who is praying to God that “he reveal what the truth is”, we found ourselves cracking the spine once more and looking at Jeremiah 17:10 which reads,
“I, the Lord, probe into people’s minds.
I examine people’s hearts.
And I deal with each person according
to how he has behaved.
I give them what they deserved
based on what they have done.”
Which was both refreshing and enlightening. The chorus of the song, which is flat unforgettable, I feel mirrored our prayer life. While filled with many words, I thought they could be often summed up by saying, “Sorry, I ain’t sorry. Sorry, I ain’t sorry, I ain’t sorry.” Though our language and posture are both apologetic, our constant repeating of the same action displays a lack of conviction about the past act and future acts. Paul said, it is foolishness that one that is saved could continue in a lifestyle of sin. It’s as though we are in a cycle:
Sin more; So we Pray more,
So He can Forgive Us,
So We can Sin more
and on and on.
But Jeremiah enlightens us! When you get down on your knees, clasp your hands together, bow your head, and open your mouth (be it verbally spoken or silently communicated), Jeremiah informs us that we are experiencing a “Spiritual Polygraph Test.” All the while we are talking, we must remember that God “sits high and looks low and neither sleeps nor does He slumber. God doesn’t just hear our words, but He knows our hearts!
Jeremiah says God “probes into peoples minds” and “examine peoples hearts.” He is well aware not just of what you did, but why you did it and whether you are sincere in your prayer, or just trying to keep from getting a spanking! Yes, we often pray not out of remorse or conviction, but out of fear that the God who can take a life, and or administer punishment and judgement will carry out said actions upon us because of our wickedness. We figure our prayers, which once forgiveness is received is like erasing the taped evidence, and destroying the evidence collected at the scene, as He cast our transgressions into the sea of forgetfulness. And while He does, Jeremiah reminds us, that God can not be fooled, nor will He be mocked!
While we can convince each other that we are “sorry” with our stellar Oscar winning performances, we must be aware that God is able to detect our lack of sincerity and conviction even before we stand from our knees to return to commit the same act again before rushing to beg for forgiveness. Not that God would ever say these words, but if He were more like us, I fear many prayers would end with the response, “Apology not accepted” or maybe, “You are Not Forgiven” or worse, “Prove it!”
It’s not just that God knows our hearts and probes our minds, he continues to say, “I deal with each person according to how he has behaved.” Yes, we will be dealt with!!!!!! When I was younger, the word was, “I’m going to come see about you!” And no, God is no bully or thug, but He is capable of doing far worse than any man could ever do. He is God! And He loves purity and holiness. He demands it of us and holds us accountable for it! It is a requirement, not a suggestion and part of our commitment to Him to live in covenant with Him!
We ended praising God! Despite knowing that we will be punished, God comforts us through Jeremiah saying “…what that deserve based on what they have done.” Thank God that the punishment always fits the crime! Even when we are punished, it is according with what is justified. God is not cruel, nor is He inconsiderate of us. He punishes us with the hope of correcting and restoring us, not to destroy us! In this, we can continue in faith, knowing that our God is just in all His ways! Now we just have to be!
And no, we should not sin so that grace can abound, and in this, we must remember that God is not fooled. He knows when we are sorry!