If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done? – NIV
I had to read these verses a few times before the meaning really sank in. And when it did, well…let’s just say I didn’t feel “blessed” by God’s Word. The best word to describe how I felt was “convicted.”
You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Sometimes we read the Bible and find ourselves encouraged after being down and depressed. Other times we go to Scripture to find peace in the middle of a storm. This time, however, was one of those times when the truth was painful to accept. This time I felt worse after I read the Bible than before!
The KJV renders this proverb in the form of a hypothetical “if,” while the NIV renders this proverb as a command. One version says, “Do this”; the other says, “If, then…” It really doesn’t matter too much, however; the idea is still the same: God knows what we know, even when we deny it.
The KJV says: “If you don’t help, then say, ‘I didn’t know,’ you will have a hard time explaining your lack of action to the One who knows and keeps your soul.” The NIV says, “Rescue the innocent, because you know as well as God does you’re aware of the need.”
I can’t help but think of the German citizens of WWII who told the Allies they never knew Jews were being led to the slaughter. They benefited from how the Jews were being treated, went along with everything, then feigned ignorance as human ash from the ovens floated down from the sky.
Genocide is taking place in Nigeria; Christians are being killed in Egypt; innocents are being beheaded as they walk down the streets of England; yet, those who could do something say, “I don’t know why this is happening.”
Thousands of innocents are butchered every day for a fee, yet the average Christian does little.
Millions of youth are staggering toward a spiritual slaughter, while parents convince themselves it’s natural and healthy.
Families are falling apart, marriages are failing, while we look in another direction. All the while thugs roam the streets killing old veterans and joggers for fun. Why?
We must ask ourselves this question: “What does God know about my heart that I am not willing to admit?”
You see, we know why many of the evils in our world are taking place. We observe the paths many are taking, yet say nothing. We watch, seemingly helpless, as the slaughter takes place. Deep inside we know what we could do, but the doing is hard; denying is easy.
Just remember, God knows our hearts. “Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?”