Blessedness of the pure heart: Example of Joseph
The write-up, “Clean Heart Liberates: Meditation For Sixth Sunday After Trinity” by my very dearly beloved theologian, Ven. Princewill Onyinye-nke-Chukwu Ireoba, published in The Guardian last Sunday, brought out, very clearly, all we have to emulate in the life of Joseph, being the lesson of the day, Sunday, July 24, 2022, in the Church of Nigeria’s lectionary.
In fact, in all Old Testament characters, we learn a lot from the life of Joseph: from his birth in Genesis 30:22-24, in his childhood in Genesis 37, as a youth in Genesis 39, as an adult in Genesis 40-49 and to his death in Genesis 50.
Like Natha-ni-el (God has given or gift of God), Joseph (Yasaf: meaning, to increase or God will increase) can be described as: “a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”
We find some faults with OT characters like David in his immoral temptation, wise Solomon towards his life’s end, faithful Abraham in marriage, Elijah in his running away, Moses in his anger, but none with Joseph. The heart of Joseph is pure, pure in heart that will see God (Matthew 5:8), unlike the hearts of his brothers that were evil and with guilty consciences, even in their old ages (Genesis 50:15).
In the Holy Bible, the word ‘heart’ is mentioned 826 times, according to Strong’s concordance, while the holy bible did not mention ‘brain’ at all.
In science, heart, which pumps blood to all parts of the body, including the brain, is the centre of man’s life. Once the heart stops pumping of blood to all parts of the body, man dies. Heart gives the beats that keep the lungs in motion. Therefore, the thinking faculty of man depends on the heart, which helps the brain to work. It is then the heart that gives man either mind of wisdom of God or deceitful mind of the Devil.
Man is created with flesh from the earth of the ground and also in the image of God from heaven. Therefore, whenever the Holy Spirit is in man, man lives in righteousness, in ethical holiness to keep the law and lives in agape love to keep the commandments of God and abide by the rule of divine laws. On the other hand, if the Holy Spirit departs from man, man lives in his original flesh, which the Devil uses to lure him to evils and wickedness.
There are 12 passages in the Bible that show that the heart, which is not controlled by the Holy Spirit is evil and very wicked:
• Jeremiah 17:9 — Heart is wicked.
• Ecclesiastes 9:3 — Heart is evil and full of madness.
• Ephesians 4:17-18 — Heart is full of vanity, darkness, alienated from God, full of ignorance and blindness.
• Jeremiah 10:7-8 — Heart of the wicked does not fear God (to keep God’s commandments), brutish and foolish.
• Proverbs 10:20 — Heart of the wicked is of little worth or of little value.
• Genesis 6:5 — Heart of man is full of every imagination, the thought of man’s heart was only evil continually.
• Proverbs 28:26 — Trusting the heart is foolish.
• Matthew 15:19 — Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
• Romans 1:28-31 — Reprobate mind, filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.
• Mark 7:21-23 — Out of the heart comes: evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. They all defile man.
• Genesis 8:21 — Imaginations of the heart are evil from youth.
• Titus 1:15-16 — “to the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, being abominable and disobedient, and unfit for doing anything good.”
May our miraculous super-power Almighty God grant us the power of the Holy Spirit (not: ‘Holy Ghost Fire!!!’ to fight those we are to lead into conversion, but) with the fire of the Holy Spirit, to pummel our bodies, discipline us with the Holy Spirit, as in Romans 8:1-27, “for he (the Holy Spirit) will be like a refiner’s fire or a launder’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, he will purify (us) and refine (us) like gold and silver,” as you promised us in Malachi 3:2-3.
Amen!! Amen!!! Lifting our hands to God Almighty and bowing down to worship him, as in Nehemiah 8:6.
• Rejoinder to “Clean Heart Liberates: Meditation For Sixth Sunday After Trinity” by The Ven. (Dr) Princewill O. Ireoba from The Rt Rev Alfred Iheanyichukwu Sunday Nwaizuzu, the Retired Bishop of Okigwe North Diocese.