My grandmother tells a story of when she was young. She has a younger brother, Rufus. One night she and Rufus and their other brothers and sisters were sitting beside the wood burning stove with their father. Rufus was always curious, always questioning. He asked their father, “what would happen if the stove caught the house on fire?” Their father calmly answered, “Well son, I would first get you kids and your mother safely outside and then I would put the fire out.” As my grandmother tells the story, about that time the fire popped and a small piece of wood jumped out of the stove and began to burn the rug. Their father jumped up and as he was running out of the house, he cried to his wife, “Elsie, get the kids out! The house is on fire!”
Everyone was safe, Elsie put the fire out with a bucket of water and there was no damage done. Except to his reputation!
His words and his actions didn’t line up. We have all been there, we have all panicked and ran from the fire!
Sometimes in life, a fire we never saw coming blazes up out of control. We are tested. Do the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts line up?
The words we say to God are acceptable to Him when our hearts back them up. If we pray beautiful prayers with great big words, tears and whispers, but it comes from our lips and not our hearts, we have wasted our breath. But when our hearts meditate on God our prayers flow from a place of relationship with Him. We just talk. We just praise.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or I would give it; You do not delight in the burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart- these, O God You will not despise.
This is an acceptable offering, a heart broken over its sin. A mind that understands the price that was paid for redemption. A soul that moves in repentance. A life lived differently.
Life presents many tests for us, sometimes we run and hide, sometimes we fail. Our failures prove again and again the wonder of the grace of God.
Then there are times that we stop, breathe, turn to our Father and ask “what now?” And the Father who sees all things is pleased. Pleased with our obedience, pleased with our dependent heart. Accepting of the words of our mouth, because they flow out of a heart set on Him.