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Checking the Landscape of Our Hearts

August 3, 2018

“On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.” – Zechariah 14:4

I wish today’s blog could come with a boarding pass.

Instead of meeting here, we would travel together to one of my favorite places to study God’s Word — the Holy Land. There is something so powerful and humbling about standing in a place where you know Jesus Himself once stood.

As incredible as that would be, I’m thankful we don’t have to travel internationally in order to glean something personally from Scripture today. All we need to do is dig a bit deeper into the history of a pivotal location found in this chapter of Zechariah — the Mount of Olives.

The Mount of Olives is a ridge that runs about two and a half miles from north to south on the eastern side of Jerusalem. Three of the peaks that make up this mountain range are Mount Scopus (the north peak), Mount of Olives (the center peak) and Mount of Corruption (the south peak). It is separated from the city of Jerusalem by the Kidron Valley, also known as the Valley of Decision. And it serves as an important location for a variety of biblical events.

In the New Testament, we discover that Jesus’ feet were found standing on this mount often. He rested, taught and prayed in this place. It is where He was on the night of His betrayal (John 18:1), and it is on this very mount that His disciples watched Him ascend into heaven. (Acts 1:9-12)

In our key verse, Zechariah 14:4, we learn that it is the place where His feet will one day land again: “On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.”

I don’t want us to miss what the prophet Zechariah says will happen when the Lord’s feet hit the Mount of Olives on that day. The land will be split in two. Divided. And before we think this is simply a geography lesson, God wants us to know there is so much more going on here.

The physical ramifications brought on by Israel’s divided hearts hold powerful spiritual implications for our hearts today.

On the day Jesus returns, He will destroy the Mount of Corruption. This is the part of the mountain range where King Solomon allowed his pagan wives to build altars to worship false gods. (1 Kings 11:7) This area defiled by Solomon as he clung to his wives instead of the Lord will fall. And water will come up from the temple and flow both directions, east and west (Zechariah 14:8), moving with such force that the Mount of Corruption will be rushed with the water into the Dead Sea.

Why? Because God will always tear down anything that is detestable to Him.

How this convicts my heart.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be in the camp of Solomon on that glorious day when Jesus returns. I don’t want to be like the children of Israel, found time and again clinging to things that do not honor Him.

I want to ask the Lord to convict me. To reveal the places where I’m holding fast to sin. To show me if there is anything in my life that dishonors Him. I know it’s not an easy or comfortable thing to do. But when we repent and press past the initial discomfort of conviction, we get to step into the glorious work of God’s restoration.

Ezekiel 47:8-9 tells us that when the Mount of Corruption is washed away into the Dead Sea, those waters will once again be teeming with life. How like Jesus! When we ask forgiveness for our sins, He washes us clean. He says that our sins will be cast into the sea to be remembered no more. He makes us new and offers eternal life to all who profess Him as Lord.

What an incredible gift it is to be His.

Let’s ask Him to help us check the landscape of our hearts. Let’s allow Him to reveal any divided affections. Any idols taking up space that belongs to Him.

The things in our life that don’t honor God will eventually be removed. We have a choice. Either we can release them, or He will remove them. May today be the day we choose release.

God, create in me a clean heart. Purify me, Lord. I know that anything in my life that dishonors You will not stand. And I don’t want to wait until the last day when those areas of compromise and sin fall and become my shame. I want to confess them now. I want to release each one into Your hands so they can be carried away into the Dead Sea. Thank You for being a God of both grace and truth. A God of conviction and restoration. I surrender anew to Your work in me today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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7 Comments
  1. Brenda

    In my heart I want go Jerusalem more anything stand Jesus stood pray , honor worship our lord who loved all of us so much gave his life us
    I pray find way go visit Holy Land learn more

    Reply
  2. Kelly

    That prayer is so powerful! Lord help me confess, repent, and get rid of all the things that do not honor you!

    Reply
  3. Brandy Richardson

    The heart is the key to everything. Thank you Lysa for allowing God to use you to bring us words of wisdom. I think God is trying to tell me something LOL This morning I read this blog post and just the other day I finished up reading a chapter in my current study called “Lord, Cleanse Me and Make my Heart Right Before You.” As much as I love God, I have many days where I will run out ahead of him. What stood out most to me in your post was this, “The things in our life that don’t honor God will eventually be removed. We have a choice. Either we can release them, or He will remove them. May today be the day we choose release.”

    Every day we have a choice. A choice to spend time with God and invite Him into our day or to run out ahead hoping that we will have time later so sit with Him. What I realize is that in order to do that it may require sacrifice, maybe I have to rise 30 minutes earlier to do it. I’m blessed to have a very flexible schedule as far as my job goes but that can also be a curse. I have no set schedule, no daily structure which means some days I just waste a lot of time because I lack focus.

    This past Saturday, I stumbled upon something that I plan to incorporate into my daily life; instrumental soaking worship. This tool has been a game changer as far as spending time with God. I put my headphones in, hit play, pull out the Word and it allows me to get completely immersed in it and not be distracted by the things around me. It’s changed the way I pray and I’ve been more connected to God in the last 3 days than I have the last 3 weeks. I really take time to meditate on things now and this heart thing has come up not once but twice in the last 3 days.

    My deepest desire is to live a life that is honoring and pleasing to Him. What that means for me is daily surrender of the things that hold me back from doing that. Taking time to ask Him to create a clean heart in me, to show me all the areas where I fall short, and ask for His supernatural power to enable me to release these things and fully rely on Him.

    Sorry for such a long response. I pray you have an amazingly blessed week Lysa.

    Reply
  4. Janice E Rehmeyer

    Good Morning. I bought your book Embraced 100 Devotions this past winter. I read it each day in my time with God. Today was on being Lonely. Thank you for helping me to understand why i am in this period of my life. I have been in this phase of my life for awhile. You can have so my thoughts that our not good when you our alone. Great book.
    Thank you,

    Janice

    Reply
  5. Bethany Georgia

    That is a beautiful–and incredibly difficult–prayer to pray. May God give us all the strength to pray it and to remove the strongholds from our lives.

    Reply
  6. John R

    Lysa, I came across your book on dieting/losing weight in a Meetup group post, but I don’t understand why you limit your ministry to women. There’s too much of this kind of exclusion going on in the world today. It’s very un-Christian.

    Reply
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