David was honoured for his decision to allow God to search and try his heart, even when the going got rough and David went walkabout! His son would learn, in some way, from his father’s struggles with his heart and would come to this understanding –
“above all else, guard your heart. Prov 4:23
The state and condition of the heart cannot be separated from the state and condition of our lives, after all, the reason Solomon and the Holy Spirit were so adamant about guarding our hearts is this: that’s where the issues of life spring from. Prov 4:23. This final blog on God as a committed and highly proficient cardiologist, concerns guarding against developing a double heart Ps 12:2 and an unbelieving heart Hebs 3:12
A Double Heart. Ps 12:2
The word double here literally translates as ‘a heart and a heart!’ What David has learnt from his experiences with Saul and his own son Absalom, he pens here. His hard-learnt advice is – watch out for deceiving and flattering words because they reveal a double heart. Saul used lies and deception in his attack against David and David’s son used flattery to influence people against his father. A heart and a heart, a double heart, speaks of a person who is saying one thing but internally they hold an entirely different sentiment or attitude. See Prov 23:7
A prime example of this is reality TV!
Seven Psalms later David would write these words – may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. Ps 19:14
may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. Ps 19:14
Contemporary words for this double heart condition would be incongruence or lack of integrity.
An Unbelieving Heart. Hebs 3:12
Context is king, and the context of Hebrews 3 is important to what an unbelieving heart is, and it is all about not responding in faith!
Hebrews 3 is a summary of servants who hear the Holy Spirit speaking and, act accordingly in faith and accomplish what the Father is commanding. The servants in this chapter are Jesus vs 1-6, Moses vs 3-5, the Founding Father’s generation vs 8-11 and the present generation of covenant servants! Vs 12-19
The overarching narrative of God to all these servants has three parts to it – out of Egypt, through the wilderness and into the promised land and the umbrella word for this in the New Testament is salvation. At the core of this epic journey is the leadership of the Holy Spirit, seen through the pillar of fire and cloud, the ark of the covenant and leaders!
In this summary chapter of their Exodus journey the Holy Spirit speaks and some of the servants are described as having an evil unbelieving heart which one commentator describes as a ‘lack of confidence in God!’ Review the Exodus generation’s journey and you’ll see that God asks some pretty big stuff of them but always He backs it up with a re-occurring promise –
“I will be with you! The classic example is the twelve spies. See Numbers 13.
The journey of salvation always includes crossing boundaries or borders! When the people of God left Egypt, it is implied that they are headed to another boundary or border. At these border crossings, there are attended guards – fear and discouragement. See Joshua 1:8&9. All God asks is that we trust Him and enter in, no matter what or whom might be in the way. Ten spies gripped by fear and having no confidence in God’s promise shrank back and spread their contagion throughout their tents. See Number 13:31-33
Only Caleb and Joshua had a believing heart, and they and their kin went and saw the provision of God in the next part of their salvation journey. David understood that he would face border and crossing-over opportunities –
“the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Ps 16:6
So, lets us continually guard our heart, so we are ready for those boundaries, crossing over moments and, to especially guard them if we successfully negotiate the crossing over point! Read Deut 8
A pathological and extremely efficient cardiologist, is my working definition of God my Father, as a heart expert! His words to Samuel when Samuel was discerning which one of the seven sons who stood before him was the new king are a helpful reminder –
“Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Sam 16:7
Eliab, was the eldest of the seven and Samuel when he saw him, made a decision – surely the Lord’s anointed stands before me!
Samuel saw but God looked and Eliab was not the one.
Fast forward a few years to the encounter with Goliath, the man mountain and Eliab and David’s other brothers would stand frozen for forty days and nights before Goliath’s challenge.
The day David arrived, he went out to meet Goliath. God saw the difference and chose David.
It’s worth remembering that the challenge of Goliath was for everyone and everything, because all the people, their land, houses and goods, would be to be given to the victorious one and vice versa.
David’s answer to Saul gives us a real insight into what is the opposite of a hard or a cold heart – “your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep…1 Sam 17:34. David had a sense, to be more precise, he was sensitive to the prompts of the Spirit of Almighty God. He knew that today, as he delivered the cheese butties, was going to be a life-changing day!
A hard heart, as described in Proverbs 28:14 and a cold heart, as described in Revelation 3:15 are about love for God and His purposes. In both of these verses, the love of the servant is under attack from outside forces, who are seeking to stop the servant from taking action, prompted by love and supported by faith, so that Father’s kingdom would come.
David’s heart was not perfect but it was maturing and central to this maturity is an attitude David adopted throughout his life which he wrote about in Ps 37:4 –
“delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
The word David and the Spirit chose for delight means to live tenderly and delicately at heart, to be sensitive at the core of our being to His love – delight yourself in the Lord. Our being should have its being and becoming in His love, His friendship, His purposes. The Father and His ways should be our greatest desire and from this starting point, He will give us the desires of our heart, that He has placed there!
An illustration might help us – being and remaining like putty in His hand. Pliable and responsive is the baseline and our Father who is a master potter will push and work, at our pliable heart level to form and mould us, ready for the purposes He has already prepared ahead of time for us. Eph 2:10
Hard and cold putty is anything but pliable and as a result, it becomes unworkable.
So, what can we do to remain pliable at heart and avoid the state of being unworkable?
- Adopt David’s attitude & approach – “Search me O God, & know my heart
- Know that His adoptive love already accepted & approves of in Christ.
- The primary role of the Holy Spirit, is to testify WE ARE HIS!!!1
- His agenda is that His perfect love would drive out fear within our hearts
- Fear keeps us in, holds us back and stops us taking on our Goliath
- Worship and Word, keep us pliable at heart.
- Worship gets us of ourselves and over ourselves
- His Word gives us the insight into the height & depth & the width & length of His love
- His Word reveals how we can serve Him & obedience to His Word shows our love for Him
The final action is taking action, as He prompts us, towards the people and purposes He has in his heart and mind.
Cardiology is the medical study of the structure, function and disorders of the heart. In this mini-series of four blogs I want to share some thoughts around the importance of the heart, as revealed in scripture. The state of our hearts, is right up there as a subject matter to our Father, in fact it is His number one subject – above all else, guard your heart! Prov 4:23.
God the Father is a committed and highly proficient cardiologist!
The heart has the ability to have affections, to think, to guide and set our life’s boundaries. It also has an overflow; the mouth which in turn has the power of life and death attached to it, namely the tongue.
The heart is so strategic to all of life, we are commanded to guard it, (Prov 4:23) as if it contained the crown jewels. The thought behind the word is to show vigilance more than over anything else we have or own. One commentator refers to it as the master-controller!
One man in Scripture understood this and that was David. He was after all, described as a man after God’s own heart! Acts 13:22. This king, warrior and minstrel penned these words –
“search me O God and know my heart…Ps 139:23”
David had the confidence, prior to Christ and Calvary’s grace, to ask God to know his heart. This is high level trust and a little risky but is the kind of prayer Father loves and will answer. David was asking His God and creator to know his heart through observing, experiencing and reflecting. All of these are the core dynamics of what the word know depicts. David was also saying “let me in,” on your observations, experiences and reflections.
For David, there were two aspects of his heart that he wanted His Father’s feedback on – the thoughts and the ways within his heart and that through these reflections Father would lead him in the way everlasting. This word everlasting means the old path and is made of two words that differ slightly. One means the right way, the way a man should go and the other, the way a man goes by habit. David’s son would learn this from his father and his own experiences –
“there is a way that seems right to man but its end is the way of death. “Prov 16:25
Here’s my attempt at paraphrasing David’s request from within this verse Ps 139:23
“I want you God to test through observation and experiences the thoughts and ways within my heart and reflect back to me, any habits that are not leading me in the well-established path of life which is Your desire for me!”
David’s prayer would be answered, numerous times and some of these were not good feedback but every time God spoke into David’s life about the state and condition of his heart, David responded with humility, transparency and faith! It is for this reason I believe God defined David as a man after my own heart, who will do my will.
David was far from perfect, however, he always, apart from sixteen months of complete madness, went after and stayed after God’s heart! Like David I have prayed his prayer and invited God to search and try my heart and give me feedback because I want what David had and I can only have that, if I do what he did!
God is a proficient cardiologist understanding the hearts structure and function like no other, he designed it but He also knows the disorders of the heart and these fall into six categories –
- unclean heart Ps 51:10
- proud heart Prov 21:4
- hard heart Prov 28:14
- cold heart Matt 24:12
- double heart Ps 12:2
- unbelieving heart Heb 3:12
The beginning of the answer to that part of us described as deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jer 17:9 NIV Is to humble asks God to do in us what He did in David – search me and try me and give me feedback!
The next three blogs I’ll take two disorders from the list and share some thoughts.
The opposite of focus is distraction.
To blend or amalgamate into a whole, through heat. Central to fusing is intensity, which is about concentration and application, all directed to a single point.
“His personality began to focus, his powers to fuse.” 1
The Bible has one word for this: wholehearted!
The realities, resources and reign of God, entering and transforming our ‘earthly contexts.’
It is the committed and wholehearted, who are changing the world, whether they are doing it for good or bad!
“Throw your heart over the bar, the rest will of you will follow!”
It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you. Gal 4:18
Is what we desire from our ego, or is it Father saying “here you go!” I want you to have this or do this for me!
I believe that God gives me the power to attain what He’s brought to my heart and mind. I expect the best and with God’s help I will attain the best! 2