Christian Universe ™
June 24, 2012
God says that man's imagination is evil from his youth, and upward. When left to his own imagination, man -- who can only imitate and cannot create -- makes idol gods shaped like animals, fish, birds, snakes, and the like. He also ignores God's law, replacing it with comforting traditions. And he tends to make up new, useless, and unnecessary laws. That is, he becomes self-righteous.
by Bernie Parsons
Presented to Load church of Christ on 06-24-2012
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 07-01-2012
Last time, we studied how that true knowledge and wisdom come from God. Man’s wisdom is foolishness to God. Today we want to examine why it is that man is foolish rather than wise.
Genesis 6:5 "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them."
Genesis 8:21 "And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done."
The Lord determined that man is wicked from his youth onward and the imagination of his heart is evil. God, from the beginning, set down laws for His creation to follow. From the beginning, man chose to depart from those laws, preferring to follow his own heart. That led to the creation of fake gods, fashioned from wood, stone, or metal.
Jeremiah 7:23 "But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.
24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.
25 Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them:
26 Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.
27 Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee.
28 But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth."
Jeremiah 23:16 "Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.
17 They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.
18 For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?"
The Lord spoke much more through Jeremiah along these same lines, making the point that, when left to think on things himself, man departs from the Lord and follows his own heart. The result is unrighteousness, wickedness, and the making of false gods to worship.
Deuteronomy 29:16 "(For ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the nations which ye passed by;
17 And ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them:)
18 Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;
19 And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst:
20 The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven."
The prophets and men of God recognized that man is not capable of finding his own way.
Jeremiah 10:23 "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
24 O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing."
In Proverbs, the wise king Solomon confirmed that man must follow God and not his own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Romans 1:18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."
When man turns his mind and heart from God, he wallows in every manner of evildoing imaginable. When man thinks himself smarter than God, he turns from the truth to lies. He worships animals and birds, and makes up imaginary gods. He turns to fleshly abominations like homosexual behavior.
The problem with being ignorant of God’s will is that we replace His word and ways with our own. Instead of merely embracing His word for us, we think that we are smarter than He is – that somehow, our own thoughts and ways are more important than His.
Mark 7:5 "Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition."
Man’s so-called wisdom leads to traditions that supplant the truth of God’s word. As the apostle Paul wrote, zeal is not a replacement for righteousness. Truth comes from God, not man.
Romans 10:1 "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."
It is not enough to be enthusiastic in our worship of God, but we must also worship God according to His actual instructions, commandments and precepts. I am not talking about how to conduct an assembly in the local congregations, which is discussed by the apostle Paul in 1Corinthians chapter 14. I am talking about our daily lives. We cannot substitute our own thoughts of what is right for what God says is right.
Man’s thinking and wisdom are foolishness to God, because man invents false gods to worship, makes up false doctrine when claiming to worship the true God, and does all kinds of ungodly things. He disregards God’s word, and that is why Jesus called for all to repent, or turn their hearts back to God.
First, John the baptizer was sent to turn the hearts back to God, followed by the preaching of Jesus.
Luke 1:16 "And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
Mark 1:14 "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."