Thursday, April 4, 2013

Above All Else

I don’t know which translation this is:
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

I found that verse in my Bible amid some very good advice:

My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:20-23)

Whether it was a message from David to Solomon, or from Solomon to his own son, it’s good advice.  Unfortunately, Rehoboam did not follow his father’s advice. He looked elsewhere:

And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people? (1 Kings 12:6)

He received good advice from experienced statesmen:

And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever. (1 Kings 12:7)

Apparently that wasn’t what he wanted to hear, so he asked his close and dear friends:

But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him: (1 Kings 12:8)

They were young, virile, capable of changing an entire generation and they knew just what should be done:

And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. (1 Kings 12:10-11)

That’s the way he chose, but it didn’t work:

And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was come again, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only. (1 Kings 12:20)

Rehoboam didn’t know his heart, much less guard it. No matter what example was set by his father, no matter what experienced statesmen offered, no matter what he had learned growing up, he listened to his friends. The kingdom of Israel remained divided until it vanished.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

We do need to be aware of the issues in our lives, the impact they have on numerous generations. Whether we say “Above all else, guard your heart” or “Keep thy heart with all diligence”, we’re teaching that there are important decisions to be made that affect multiple generations. We need to seek experienced counsel and consider all possible results of our decision – for ourselves and others.

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