21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
When the heart is mentioned above it is not in a positive way. Can’t make foolish hearts that were darkened read positive. Before we go much further let’s look at what we find in the preceding verses
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
What has been seen? God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. An example of what can be seen of God is in this video of the Milky Way as seen in the Middle East. Take the two and one half minutes to watch it and ask yourself if you could ignore the wonders of what God has created during or afterwards.
Those with foolish hearts could see this every clear night in the Middle East and so they knew of God, but they would not give thanks to Him nor glorify Him. In refusing to acknowledge their Creator they became fools, meaning they became vain, self-focused/centered, wicked, and idolatrous. They made idols of men as well as of birds, animals and reptiles to worship.
So they ended up with foolish hearts that were darkened by their focus on anything but God. Foolish in the Bible means something very different than it does today. Today a foolish person is someone who makes a rash decision or a decision based on passion or a playful decision. Not so in Biblical times. Then it meant unintelligent and by implication, wicked (Strongs) or simply ungodly (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). Knowing this, is it any wonder their hearts were darkened, by their own actions as they moved further and further away from God. They had reversed what John 3:30 states, He must increase, but I must decrease (ESV) or He must become more important, while I become less important (CJB) or Jesus must become more important, while I become less important (CEV).
There is a real lesson there for all of us. The more we focus on ourselves, the less we focus on God, and the likelihood of our hearts being darkened increases as we give less and less thought to Him, our Creator. So it is a good idea for us to acknowledge Him every single day and in all we do, as well as giving thanks for the blessings we have and keep our hearts from being darkened.
It’s Friday and I hope you have a Great Weekend and you remember to Go To Church. Don’t wait for church to Give thanks to God for the Free Gift of Grace through His Son Jesus Christ.