Posted by: rcottrill | May 18, 2016

Is Thy Heart Right with God?

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Words: Elisha Albright Hoffman (b. May 7, 1839; d. Nov. 25, 1929)
Music: Elisha Albright Hoffman

Wordwise Hymns (Elisha Hoffman born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Elisha Hoffman was an American pastor, and the author of some two thousand hymns and gospel songs. The Cyber Hymnal lists over eleven hundred of them, including Down at the Cross, and What a Wonderful Saviour.

There is a fifth stanza of the present hymn which is rarely used today. It asks, “Art thou now walking in heaven’s pure light?…Is thy soul wearing the garment of white?” This is a reference to heaven, where the saints are given white robes (Rev. 19:7-9), and where the heavenly city is illuminated by the glory of God (Rev. 21:23). But this seems incongruous. We can certainly anticipate that, but we’re are not there yet!

We all know what the heart is, that amazing pump in our chests that circulates our blood minute after minute, hour after hour. But the word heart is used to represent something else too, our inner thoughts and attitudes, our feelings and our values. It’s a word for the inner self.

Think of some of the expressions used. Something that is heart-felt is sincere, deeply held and strongly felt. A heart-to-heart talk is one that is intimate and personal, one where we pour out our heart to that individual. To be true-hearted is to be loyal to a person or a cause.

The Bible uses the word “heart” nearly a thousand times, most of them speaking of the inner self, rather than our physical hearts.

The book of Deuteronomy has a great deal to say about the subject, using the word forty-eight times. As the people of Israel prepared to enter the land of Canaan God had given them, Moses carefully instructed them about making sure their hearts were right with God. He presented to them what the Lord Jesus later called “the first and great commandment” (Matt. 22:36-38). “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:5).

Centuries later, when the Lord sent Samuel to appoint a new king for Israel from among Jesse’s sons, the prophet looked first at those who were older, and were, in their maturity, physically tall and strong. But “the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature….The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (I Sam. 16:7). Instead, young David was His choice.

When it came time for David’s son Solomon to take the throne, Solomon spoke to the people and said, “Let your heart therefore be loyal to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, as at this day” (I Kgs. 8:61). Sadly, the new king did not always follow his own wise advice. Later, we read of him, “When Solomon was old…his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David” (I Kgs. 11:4).

After Pentecost, the apostles carried on a wonderful ministry in the city of Samaria. Great miracles were done, and the Spirit of God was actively changing lives and bringing a new spiritual birth to those who trusted in Christ (Acts 8:5-8, 12). But in that city lived a man named Simon, whom the Bible describes as a sorcerer (vs. 9-11).

Simon watched the work of the Holy Spirit through the apostles and he envied the supernatural power displayed through them. He offered money to the servants of God, if they would confer on him the power of God (vs. 18-19). By his foolish request, he has actually given us a word in the English language. “Simony” describes the attempt to purchase spiritual or religious benefits with money. To him Peter gave one of harshest rebukes found in God’s Word.

“Peter said to him, ‘Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God” (Acts 8:20-21).

In his 1899 song, Pastor Hoffman takes the words of Peter and turns them into a convicting challenge for every child of God: “Is thy heart right with God?”

CH-1) Have thy affections been nailed to the cross?
Is thy heart right with God?
Dost thou count all things for Jesus but loss?
Is thy heart right with God?

Is thy heart right with God,
Washed in the crimson flood,
Cleansed and made holy, humble and lowly,
Right in the sight of God?

CH-2) Hast thou dominion o’er self and o’er sin?
Is thy heart right with God?
Over all evil without and within?
Is thy heart right with God?

CH-4) Are all thy pow’rs under Jesus’ control?
Is thy heart right with God?
Does He each moment abide in thy soul?
Is thy heart right with God?

1) Is your own heart right with God today?

2) If not, what do you need to do to correct this?

Wordwise Hymns (Elisha Hoffman born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal


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