The Vacuum Of The Mind Saturday, December 16, 2017
The Vacuum Of The Mind (KJV)
By James L. Thornton
“G in G out” is a new computer term which means, Garbage in Garbage out. What’s put in is what comes out. The same is true of the human mind. If garbage goes in garbage comes out. If a person is surrounded by debasing and degenerating influences, how can he escape becoming affected by them? How can one touch pitch and not be defiled? How can one living in a modern environment avoid being defiled?
The answer to that anxious question is found in the passage of scripture which forms my text.
Leviticus 18:1. “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2. Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God.
3. After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.
4. Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.
5. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.”
There is an old Jewish proverb which expresses effectively the powerful influence of environment. “No man can entirely rid himself of that influence which colors his speech, his dress, and, above all his mode of thought.”
In fact the two most powerful influences in the devolvement of man are heredity and environment.
Heredity is the influence of the person’s home, mother, father, brothers and sister and other close relatives.
Environment is the neighborhood, the school, the bus driver, the policeman, the shopkeeper, the nurse, the television, the newspaper, these and everyone else a person comes in contact with, all add to the sum total of environmental influences.
In our text (Leviticus 18:1-5) the Children of Israel had emerged from the bondage of Egypt. But worse than the physical bondage was the moral degeneracy in the midst of which they lived. The utterly corrupt Egyptian civilizations of the time, with its animal worship, its incestuous licentiousness, its utter moral depravity are too well known to need detailing.
They had successfully emerged from that environmental influence to proceed to one infinitely worse, from out of the frying pan into the fire, so to speak.
Already five-hundred years before, God had told Abraham that the possession of the land of Israel by his descendants would be delayed for four generations, “Because the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full (complete) Genesis 15:16.
But now it had become complete. So utterly and completely depraved and corrupt were they that the whole future of civilization demanded their ruthless extermination. But tragically, as so often happens, a people can be destroyed and the evil which they did live after them. Ahab and Jezebel were slain but their evil ways lived on in their son Ahaziah. (1 Kings 22:51-53)
That is what the verse says, “After the doings of the land of Egypt where ye dwelt, ye shall not do; nor according to the deeds of the land of Canaan where I am bringing you, ye shall not do. Neither shall ye walk in their ordinances (ways).” (Leviticus 18:3)
There Must Be A Counterbalancing Force:
But mere verbal adjuration is powerless against the terrific force of environment. Some counterbalancing force, some compensatory power had to be evolved which could act as a prevention against that influence.
In our state laws have been passed to control the driving habits of its citizens. Signs have been posted to show the public the speed limits on a particular road. Yet laws and signs alone will not control the impulse to speed by some motorists. That’s the reason law-makers imposed fines for breaking the speed limits, and also assigned police to enforce these laws.
So we see some kind of deterrent must be in place or the human nature will obey the impulse to allow environment to rule their lives. There has to be some inner power which should be strong enough to resist the relentless pressure of external forces, and it is the power which is referred to in the next verse. There is only one way to countervail the influence of environment, and that is by what God told Israel.
“Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 18:4)
The inner convictions of the Word of the Lord are alone the only force able to counterweight against the prevailing influence of environment. Nothing else, I say nothing else has the power to keep one straight and moral, upright and holy, in the face of hostile environments at school, at play, at work, at home, or all places in between, but the Word of God.
The Psalmist Davis said, “Thy word have I hid in my heart, lest I sin against Thee” (Psalms 119:11).
From the time we cast off “The deeds of the Land of Egypt,” at our conversion, we have lived in an environment of “The deeds of the Land of Canaan.”
What is the counter-force to “The deeds of the Land of Canaan?” it is our adhering to “My judgments and my statutes,” our passionate adherence to the dictates and tenets of our Faith that, “if a man does it, he lives by them” (Leviticus 18:5). Without it we would have died a miserable spiritual death.
Nothing else, I repeat, nothing else will keep us alive spiritually except God’s eternal Word residing in our hearts.
The lesson I want us to take to heart from it is that unless we are imbued with inner conviction of the truth, the nobility and sublimity of the ideals of our faith, unless they enter into the very vitals and marrow of our being, unless they claim passionate and wholehearted obedience, Christianity must succumb, disintegrate and disappear from our lives.
No magnificent Churches, or Cathedrals, no grand musical presentations by choir or organ, no social services, no mechanistic apparatus of our organizations, no stand up appeal of self-defense against Anti-Christian forces, can take the place of the Word of God, read, proclaimed, adhered to, ingested, and breathed to keep us sanctified in the face of the terrific pressures of environment.
Without the power of inner convictions, external influences will breach the walls of the fortress of Christianity.
When Joseph’s brethren cast him into the pit, scripture tells us, “And the pit was empty, it had no water in it” (Genesis 37:24). To which the Midrash (Jewish commentaries on the Hebrew Scriptures) adds the peculiar comment; “There was no water in it, but there was snakes and scorpions in it.”
However true it may be of the pit in which Joseph was cast, it is certainly true of the human mind. There are no two ways. Nature hates a vacuum—science tells us it is next to impossible to create a vacuum on earth.
The same with the human mind it cannot remain empty or void of thoughts. Psychologists tell us that the human mind is attracted by every thing it sees, hears, smells, tastes, and feels, in fact all that take place around him works like a magnet to catch the human mind. Psychologist calls this “free association.” The human mind is never empty.
The mind of man must be filled, and if it is not filled with the “waters of the Word of God” it becomes filled with loathsome and poisonous snakes and scorpions.
If there is not “The sitting in the house of God” there is “The sitting at street corners;” if there is not “Words of God’s Law,” there are “Words of vanity.”
And if there are not “My Judgments and Statutes,” then there is “The deeds of the Land of Egypt, and the deeds of the Land of Canaan.”
Take that urgent lesson to heart before it is too late.
Those of you, who deplore the fact that your children have become addicted to drugs and alcohol, ask yourselves what inspiration of ideals of Christianity you have given them. Those of you who fear that your children may marry, or deplore the fact that they have already married out of the faith, What have you taught them of the statutes and judgments of God’s Word?
There is no middle course. The only way to avoid the snakes and the scorpions of the spirit is to give them the waters of God’s Word.
The only way to assure that assimilation (joined to the world) does not set in, the only salvation for this generation is; “We shall therefore keep my statutes and mine ordinances, which if a man do, he shall live by them.”
How true, how tragically true it is of all of us. With what noble, heart-warming ideals do we start out on our life’s journey? And we set before us the ultimate ideal which gives a purpose and a meaning and worthwhileness to life, the blood tossing in our veins, and our eyes agleam. And we set out hopefully, but we do not advance far on our journey before we are met on the way by distractions which disrupt our minds from that ultimate ideal.
The distractions to attain wealth, the distractions of material pleasure, the distractions of power and honor. And to one we give part of our life’s blood and to another part of our heart. And still that glorious ideal beckons and we vainly try to cut ourselves loose from those entanglements so that we may continue on our way.
We compare the ideals with which we set out on life’s journey with our actual accomplishments, and we all realize we have squandered our divine gifts on emptiness and vanity—we feel that our souls are becoming empty—we have nothing left but an empty heart.
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By James L. Thornton