Thursday, December 20, 2012

Guard Your Heart

Sometimes we forget what is best for our heart.  How many of you have experienced heart break at some point?  We gave too much of ourselves away to what we thought was that special someone, only to have our hearts shattered like a broken mirror.  Or what about giving our heart away to the sin that plagues our thoughts? 

Like Solomon, the Lord has told us to observe what he has commanded, to not turn our hearts away from Him.  'Observe' in the Hebrew is shamar, meaning "to keep, guard, observe, give heed" (Strong's H8104).  We are to guard His commandment to not turn our hearts away, we are to guard our hearts!

1 Kings 11:1-4, 9-10 - 1 Not King Solomon loved many foreign women... 2 from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, "You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods."  Solomon held fast to these in love.  3 He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away.  4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been... 9 Now the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not observe what the Lord had commanded.

In those 6 verses, "heart" is mentioned 6 times!  I truly believe that the overall message to be conveyed is to guard your heart.

First, we are to guard our heart in regards to marriage.  In verse 2, you see what the Lord told all of Israel, including King Solomon.  Just because he is king does NOT mean he is exempt from the commands of the Lord.  He did not want them to associate (let alone marry) foreign women who worshipped other gods for they would turn their hearts away from the Lord.  Likewise, we are told in 2 Corinthians 6:14 - Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?

I always refer back to an illustration I read when I was much younger - Sunday Sally represents a believer.  Foolish Freddy represents an unbeliever.  Sally stands on a chair while Freddy stands beside her on the ground.  She cannot pull him up to stand next to her, no matter how hard she tries.  But the minute Freddy tries to pull Sally down next to him, she falls right off the chair.  It is much easier to pull someone down than it is to pull someone up.  God knows that.  He has made that perfectly clear in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament.  While we may not have to deal with other "gods," unbelievers today can still certainly turn our hearts away from the Lord.  Therefore, guard your heart.  Know your morals, your standards, and don't settle for anything less!

Next, we are to guard our hearts for the sake of others.  Solomon should not have had that many wives, princesses, or concubines to begin with.  Deuteronomy 17:17 says - He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away...  Yes, Solomon sinned in marrying foreign women (multitudes of them) but he also sinned when he began "multiplying wives."  'Multiply' comes from the Hebrew word rabah meaning "be or become great, be or become many, be or become much, be or become numerous" (Strong's H7235).  Who's to say when a number becomes 'great' or 'much' or 'many,'  but I think it is safe to say that 1,000 qualifies.  But where did Solomon get this idea for multiple wives?  David set this example.  Which may have caused Solomon to believe that it was okay, you see, "One bad act of a good man may be of more [harmful] consequence to others that 20 of a wicked man" (WesleyHenry).  David was, overall, a very good man.  So it would make sense for Solomon to look to him for guidance.  His thought process might have gone something like this, "If it was okay for David, whom God loved, to have multiple wives, than it should be okay for me right?"  

We have to remember, when we are believers, when we are leaders, when we are good friends...that people are watching us.  One tiny sin of mine could be a major fall for someone I know.  We must guard our hearts against sin for the sake of others.  I do not want to be responsible for the fall of my brother or sister in Christ.

And last, but certainly not least, we must guard our hearts against the sins of the world.  That sounds like an obvious one doesn't it?  But sometimes, we need to be reminded of the obvious things.  It is easy to justify homosexuality these days since it is "the new normal."  But just because something is 'normal' according to societies standards, does not make it right.  Solomon could have easily justified his multiple wives because of the world around him.  But it still didn't make it right.  Also, it should be pointed out that, "Solomon deserved more punishment for his worship of Ashtaroth than any of the Sidonians did, though they performed precisely the same acts.  The Sidonians had never known the true God; Solomon had been fully acquainted with Him" (Clarke).  

Sin is "a willful transgression against the known law of God" (I believe that is Wesley...but I'm not sure.  I had to memorize that definition for school).  If someone does not know God and His law, they cannot be held accountable for the wrong they do.  But we do know God and because we know God we are supposed to know His law.  Therefore, our sin is sin.  No questions asked. 

I challenge you today to guard your heart in this fallen world.  It isn't easy, but it is essential.  Keep God and His word close - it is a matter of life and death.

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