Wednesday, July 17, 2013

God in the Heart of the Heathen


The fool hath said in his heart there is no God.

Psalm 14:1


God is big. His dominion is so extensive that it is commonly said that He holds the whole world in His hands. Not one sparrow dies without the decree of God, nor is there a hair on our head that is not numbered by Him (Matthew 10:29-30). That is big! 

In fact God is so big that He even directs our very footsteps (Proverbs 16:9). But God doesn’t simply limit His providence to only those who fear and follow Him, rather God is just as active in the heathen’s life too (Psalm 98:2). After all, God loves all His creation and desires that we all become
saved (1 Timothy 2:4).


The Holy Spirit has to be so intimately active in the heathen’s life in order to lead him to Christ, that the heathen doesn’t so much let God into his heart, but rather he acknowledges God existing in his heart. So it is not true to say that when somebody receives the Holy Spirit into their life that the Holy Spirit was never there previously, but rather the person only now acknowledges that the Holy Spirit is present in their heart, and he warmly welcomes the presence.

Think about this. It is impossible for God to ‘hold the whole world in His hands’ if He doesn’t direct the lives of all humans, whether they are accepting of God or not.  So God has to be in us all along.


In fact when your atheist friend does a good deed, it is not a good deed of his own, but rather the Holy Spirit within the atheist that is responsible for the good deed. The fundamental difference between the atheist and the Christian here, is that the atheist rejects God’s presence in his heart, but the Christian acknowledges and welcomes God’s providential presence within him.


God Himself forms an inseparable part of the essence of mankind. The Biblical narrative of man’s creation explicitly teaches this. It is written that the actual breath of God is in man, and it is this breath that animates us, and this breath alone that creates our soul; and [God] breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7

It was an absolute lie that Satan told to Adam and Eve that they could be gods themselves and thus be separate from God their Creator. But they fell for the deception, choosing to forsake the truth for a lie. They wanted to be self-determining like a god, and they wished to have the glory of a god which belongs only to the one true God.

But Christ has renewed the truth. Having died for our sins He showed that He alone is mankind’s salvation (Acts 4:12). We can not affect our own salvation as Adam and Eve supposed. Christ demonstrated that it is only when we die to ourselves and let Him reign in us that we can be fulfilled (Gal 2:20). We can not fulfil our own destiny as Adam and Eve reckoned.

The message of Mankind’s fall is that Man is not sufficient in himself, rather he is reliant on God for all things. The truth is that God is in every single one of us. It was God’s Purpose in sending His son that we accept this truth, which Adam and Eve rejected.



In light of all this, Psalm 14:1 takes on a slightly different meaning. Rather than saying “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God”, the verse may actually be saying that “The fool hath said, in his heart there is no God”. Notice I have placed the comma in a different spot, and thus the entire meaning changes (There are no commas in the text of the original Hebrew Bible, so the position of the comma that we now see in this verse is not at all certain).

So rather than the verse implying that the fool says ‘there is no God’, the fool is actually saying that ‘there is no God in my heart’! The fool wants to deny that God is in him. The fool wants to pretend to be his own god! To deny that God directs our steps is indeed foolish!


What greater feeling could there be to know that the benevolent God of creation is directing our lives for our benefit? No more stress, no more worry, because the Almighty God has our whole life in His hands!

All of this affirms to me just how big God is. God is so infinitely big that His presence permeates all things, even the heart of the heathen. The heathen pretends that this is not true, that he can be separate from God, but we can not escape the reality that God is part of our very essence.



“Where could I go from Your Spirit?

Or where could I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend up into heaven, You are there;

if I make my bed in Sheol (the place of the dead), behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the morning

or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there shall Your hand lead me

and Your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me

and the night shall be [the only] light about me,

Even the darkness hides nothing from You,

but the night shines as the day;

the darkness and the light are both alike to You.

Psalm 139:7-12


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