Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Upright in Heart

My defense is of God
Who saves the upright in heart.
(Psalm 7:10)

Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy all you upright in heart.
(Psalm 32:11)

Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You,
And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.
(Psalm 36:10)

The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and trust in Him.
And all the upright in heart shall glory.
(Psalm 64:10)

But judgment will return to righteousness,
And all the upright in heart will follow it.
(Psalm 94:15)

Light is sown for the righteous,
And gladness for the upright in heart.
(Psalm 97:11)

I will praise You with uprightness of heart,
When I learn your righteous judgments.
(Psalm 119:7)
The Hebrew word for “upright” is yashar and speaks of being straight, level, right, pleasing, just, fitting, proper. To be upright in heart is to be transparent, open before the LORD. David knew much about this. His heart was so opened up to God that he was called “a man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22).

David learned that there is no hiding out from God. He had tried that and it didn’t work — he became sick inside and out (Psalm 32:3-4). It was not until he became honest before God, confessing his sin, that he not only experienced relief but also an unexpected sense of elation, for he discovered once again the graciousness of God (see Surrounded by Faithful Love and Joyful Shouts). He recommends that same kind of transparency of heart before God, because there is gladness, and twirling and shouting for joy to be had (32:11).

To be upright in heart is to know God (Psalm 36:10). Knowing God is not about having information about Him but relationship with Him. It is personal, not perfunctory. The focus is not on duty but on delighting in Him. Paul’s prayer for the Church was that “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Ephesians 1:17), to know God more and more, deeply and intimately.

To be upright in heart is to trust in the LORD. It is the transparency of faith. We can depend on Him to defend and deliver us (Psalm 7:10), enlighten and guide us (97:11), instruct us in what is right and good (119:7). It is faith in God that actually pleases Him. Not that our deeds are unimportant, but they must come from an open and trusting heart that is turned toward God. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

For those who know, honor and love the LORD, who diligently seek after Him, who are transparent before Him and confident in Him, the rewards are really quite magnificent. He will spread out His steadfast love and faithfulness to cover them (Psalm 36:10, see The Prevailing Love of God). When He comes to set everything right, they will be around to see it (94:15) and their boast will be all about what He has done (64:10), with ecstatic praise, joyful shouts and wild dancing. These are the upright in heart.