The Telltale Heart

The old man’s clouded, pale, blue “vulture-like” eye drove the narrator crazy. Although he loved his housemate, the narrator’s “over-acuteness of the senses” distressed him so severely that he decided to murder the man.

In Edgar Allen Poe’s short story The Telltale Heart, the narrator kills his housemate and buries him under the floorboards of his house. The old man’s screams while dying prompt a neighbor to call the police. When they arrive, no evidence of the murder can be found.

Except a faint heartbeat that rises from the floorboards.

No one can hear it but the narrator.  Louder and louder it gets until the he can stand it no longer. He confesses his sin to the police who arrest him.

Such is the work of a telltale heart. Pray that you have one, too.

Please join me as we learn about another man with a telltale heart.

TODAY’S READING

2 Chronicles 33:14-34:33
Romans 16:10-27
Psalm 26:1-12
Proverbs 20:19

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

2 Chronicles 33:14-34:33. While King Manasseh turned from his evil, his son Amon did not—and he didn’t have much time to make the change because he died only two years into his reign. The Chronicler gives him the briefest explanation of any of Judah’s kings.

Josiah followed his father Amon and reversed the work of his father. By comparing his reign to David’s, the Chronicler is telling us that he was a godly king. Not every “godly” king was treated this way.

Romans 16:10-27. After finishing his greetings to numerous people, Paul issues a stern warning about people who create divisions and create doctrine contrary to the doctrine they had been taught.

False doctrine continues to plague the church today. Any person who offers a “new” teaching or a departure from the doctrine that has been taught for the last 2000 years should be considered suspect. Granted, church teaching has followed different tangents over the years, but the basic beliefs and practices have been intact since the beginning.

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THE WORD MADE FRESH

After the Book of the Law (probably Deuteronomy) is found, God speaks through Huldah the prophet and tells King Josiah that judgment is coming, but not yet. The reason? The verse is worth meditating on:

Your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord.

2 Chronicles 34:27

Rather than defend himself, Josiah humbled himself. His heart is described as “responsive,” which can also be translated “tender” or “soft.” A responsive heart doesn’t harden itself toward God nor does it defend itself. A responsive heart not only feels conviction from the Holy Spirit, but it also responds with action.

So much of our lives lie outside our direct control. You likely can’t control the economy. You definitely can’t control the weather. But you can control the state of your heart.

According to 2 Chronicles 34:27, a responsive heart:

  • Senses conviction when sin has been committed
  • Humbles itself by acknowledging the offense
  • Feels the depths of the offense
  • Repents and makes a change

Most telling of all about Josiah’s responsive heart is the fact that he didn’t even commit the sin. God was addressing the sins that had been committed by his forefathers.

Now that’s a responsive heart.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. Describe your telltale heart.
  3. What help your heart stay responsive? What prevents it from being responsive?

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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.

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