Kind of a one two punch this morning. Set up with the “left hand” in Hebrews 4 . . . the “right hook” coming in Proverbs 21. Less about intense conviction, more about a sober reminder. Don’t think I have any significant things to do but some serious stuff to think about. Noodling this morning on how important it is to guard your heart.
There is a rest for the people of God . . . so says the writer to the Hebrews (Heb. 4:9). It is a rest established on a creation principle. When the work is done, it is time to rest. God rested on the seventh day after six days of giving the world form, inhabiting it, and giving life to those who would bear His image. The work was finished, it was good and very good, and so, God rested.
And this same rest is available to those who hear, receive, and believe the good news of a another great work. The work of the Son of God when, by Himself, He made purification for sin upon a cross. The One who is greater than Moses, greater than angels, in fact, the One who is the express image of God, undertook to deal with the sin and death problem once for all. And, as He declared on the cross, and as was corroborated by the empty tomb, that work is finished. What’s left to enter that rest is to believe. And to that end, the writer quotes God’s words spoken long before through David in Psalm 95:
Today, if you hear His voice,
do not harden your hearts. (Hebrews 4:7b ESV)
Do not harden your hearts. That’s the third time I’ve read this warning in this letter (Heb. 3:7, 15; 4:7). And this morning it rang out like a bell. Watch your heart. Don’t allow it to become hardened, insensitive, or obstinate. As much as lies in you, and by the Spirit who works in you, seek to maintain a soft, supple, heart.
And then I read this in Proverbs . . .
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes,
but the LORD weighs the heart. (Proverbs 21:2 ESV)
The LORD weighs the heart. It’s not so much about what we do, as why we do it. Piety without passion . . . obedience without surrender . . . service without humility. There’s so much “good stuff” we can do and yet do it with a wanting heart . . . a hardened heart . . . a deceitful heart — maybe not even deceitful but a disengaged heart. Going through the motions . . . driven not by what we believe but who we think we need to impress. Acting not for an Audience of One but out of fear of what the many might think.
The LORD weighs the heart. Do not harden your heart. Guard your heart.
Guard it by not allowing sin to linger . . . saying, “Go away” to the flesh by confessing, repenting and returning to the leading of the Spirit. Guard your heart by feeding often on His word . . .not just reading it to check it off on your reading plan, but receiving it as the very word of life from God Himself. Guard your heart by abiding with the Savior . . . determining to want nothing more than to communion with Him even though your prayer life might feel kind of feeble. Guard your heart as, by faith, you seek first the King and His kingdom.
Oh, that by God’s grace I might be such a person. A person who maintains a soft heart, one whose heart, when weighed by the LORD, is found to reflect something of nature of His Son.
By God’s grace . . . for God’s glory.