“And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 12:14 (ESV)
Most of the time when we hear preachers talk about seeking God, they come from Jeremiah 29:13 where the Lord through Jeremiah advises the exiles that if they sought Him with all their heart, He would be found by them.
Preachers may sometimes segue from this verse to Matthew 6:33 which talks about seeking God first and experiencing “all the other things” being given to us.
All this sounds good, palatable even, but I want to talk about the opening verse and what happens when we do not intentionally seek God.
Let’s revisit the book of Jeremiah…
In Chapter 17 verse 9, we are told that the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. The word deceitful speaks to being dishonest, a desire to deceive or lie to others. I do not need to define what the word wicked means but I want to point to the description given to the type of wickedness of the heart. The word used – desperately. This word is used to described an extreme degree of something.
Breaking it down, the little old lady across the road who doesn’t know God and is all smiles every day- has a heart that is deceitful and desperately wicked. You and I who do not endeavor to get our hearts washed by the Word and who refuse to die daily have the same kind of heart – a deceptive one that is desperately wicked.
It does sound cruel to think like that though, doesn’t it?
I have found throughout my short time on earth that contrary to the teaching of the Bible, even Christians are prone to tell someone in a bind or decision quandary to “follow their heart”. That advice has always left me doing a double take. The suggestion to follow that evil, wicked heart that is so deceitful.
Completely ungodly advice.
We should never tell someone to follow or trust their heart. It is so fickle, so deceptive and as scripture describes, so desperately wicked. Our job is to encourage others and even very selves to follow the Word.
If anyone’s heart must be followed, it must be the heart of Christ. His is pure, undefiled, untainted by sin, culture, tradition or a worldview. By knowing and following His heart is the only way we can please God, the Father.
Paul reminds us in Philippians that the mind we need to have is that of Christ. To the Corinthians he told them that he died daily which can translate to, “you all need to die daily too.” To the Romans he admonished them to become transformed by the renewing of their mind.
Nowhere in scripture are we told to follow our hearts and trust our instincts. We are told to trust in God with ALL our hearts and to NOT lean on our own understanding.
How many times have we found ourselves settling for the status quo in our walks with God? Living on the periphery of His presence. Dining on the breadcrumbs from His magnificent table. Settling for mediocrity instead of seeking for the bounty of His spread.
My friends, as I write this I too am convicted in every way. There are times when I will rush through my time with Yahweh because I have too much to do. Other times, I will give Him the residue of my day when I am tired and cannot even utter a prayer to say “Thank You, Jesus.” Still, there are times when I do not feast on the liberal helpings of His Word. Instead, I am satisfied with the thoughts of others either in sermons or in books. What about being consistent in practicing the spiritual disciplines? I can come up with every excuse in the book to abstain from them and do my own thing. These things my brethren ought not to be so.
When we do not seek God, we are prone to remain in our sinful state and be without power to stand against the wiles of the enemy.
When we do not seek God, we are given to our own wills and desires and operate in the realm of the flesh by fulfilling its deeds instead of walking in the direction of Holy Spirit.
When we do not seek God, we are weak and become friends of the adversary and sadly, walk in enmity with God.
When we do not seek God, we rob ourselves of the power to trod upon scorpions and serpents.
When we do not seek God, we end up without His peace that surpasses all understanding.
When we do not seek God, we are filled with such anxieties and fear.
When we do not seek God, we become enemies of the cross and our attitudes reflect rebellion and selfishness.
When we do not seek God, we swing the door wide open for the enemy to attack us through robbing, destroying and ultimately killing us.
When we do not seek God we displease our Daddy and if we continue on this trajectory, we end up incurring His wrath and displeasure. Sadly, some folks reach a state where the Lord gives them over to their reprobate minds.
Back to the verse at the onset of this stream of thoughts 😉, Rehoboam was described as doing evil because he refused to set his heart to seek God.
A review of his life shows a stark contrast between that of his grandfather, David. He did not walk in the way of the Lord. He did not intentionally seek after the Lord. Pleasing God was not his priority. He was rebellious, arrogant, stiff-necked, prideful, disobedient and the list can go on and on. Bottom line though, his evil ways were a result of him not seeking the Lord. If we are not intentional in our endeavors, the same state will befall us.
Let us commit to seeking the Lord consistently and with all our hearts.
Let us pledge that we will not lean on our own understanding but that we will ask the Lord His input on every area of our lives.
Let us make every effort to be intentional in pursuing peace with all men while we pursue the Prince of peace.
Let us rid ourselves of every hindrance that would keep us from chasing after God.
Father, through Your Son’s name we come to You. We repent Father for being lazy and neglectful. We repent Father for being lovers of ourselves and others, more than lovers of You. We repent Father for knowing the good and blatantly doing the wrong. We repent Father for being apathetic to the things which You have been teaching and showing us to do. Father, we repent for desiring other gods and not the one true God. We repent for settling for yesterday’s lessons and revelations instead of daily seeking for fresh nourishment from Your ever flowing streams. We repent for trying to snuff our Your light and hiding it under the bushel of selfishness and people pleasing. We repent for wanting to fit in with the crowd to lose Your flavor instead of being the salt of the earth. We repent for our insipid offerings and our mediocre worship. Lord, we repent for forsaking the assembling of ourselves with the Body of believers. We repent for putting our own agendas before Yours. We repent for thinking we can function without Your input. We repent for doing our own thing and pursuing our own paths, Father. We ask for Your forgiveness Father. We ask Lord that You would cleanse us of our sins and cause us to see You. Clothe us Father in Your Son’s righteousness and bring us into right standing with You. Cleanse our hearts of our stubborn will and pride. Remove every distractions, every barriers, every hindrances that would keep us from seeking after You and spending quality time in Your presence. Lord, cause us to be so fearful of missing out on what it is that You are saying that we would keep at Your heels. Restore the joy of Your salvation in our hearts, Lord. Make us feel Your presence always. Incline our hearts to Your voice so that we would not lean on our own understanding, but we would be so connected to You that when You speak, we can easily discern and follow. Thank You Father for the examples You have given us in Your Word about those who seek You versus those who do not. May we be those who seek You. May our feet be planted by the rivers of water that bring forth fruit in its season. May our hands be ready to give You praise. May our lips be purified to give You worship. May our temples Lord be always filled with Holy Spirit. We love you, Lord and thank You today for one more chance. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.