Heart Drift

One of the things I have noticed about my life now that I have been a Christian for about 40 years is how easy it is to have my heart drift from simple allegiance and obedience to God! It is something that I have to be sensitive to and be disciplined to stay in the Word and focused prayer.

This morning I was struck by this issue in the life of Solomon. We know of God’s incredible blessings in his life, including wisdom, power, industry and worldwide fame. In spite of these amazing blessings in his life, he made the tragic mistake of letting his heart drift from his allegiance to God. This gradual process led to a lifestyle of sin which resulted in God’s judgment. This story is found in 1 Kin. 10 and 11. What was the sin he repeated that led his heart astray? He chose to marry 700 women, and the text says that they led him away from God in idolatry.

Marrying that many women must have taken years, so this was a gradual decline that ended in the pursuit of other gods. I found 1 Kin. 11:11 to be very insightful and encouraging even though it must have been very heard for Solomon to hear. This verse says,

“Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, ‘Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant.’”

The wording that I found so encouraging is “Since this has been your practice.” This judgment from God was not for one act of defiance but a practice of sin over many of years.

God’s patience with Solomon eventually wore out, and he paid the price for his disobedience. But what we can be encouraged with is the example of God’s patience in our lives. We all sin, and sometimes that sin may have immediate consequences from God. Other times, He is slow to respond, and is extremely patient, waiting for us to repent.

Let us be disciples who keep our heart focused on God and not allow our hearts to drift in our absolute allegiance to him.  And let us be thankful for all that God has given us and not take it for granted like Solomon.

Father, thank you for being so patient with my failings as I pursue you. May you keep my heart hungry for you and may my life display this passionate pursuit by keeping you the #1 allegiance of my heart.

Following Jesus with you,

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Laser Focus

In the book of Daniel, we get a glimpse of a hero, a true man of God and that person is Daniel. In chapter 5, great drama is unfolding, and a startling confrontation takes place between Daniel and King Belshazzar.

Belshazzar was the son of Nebuchadnezzar and became the king of Babylon when his father died. Although Belshazzar had known of the God of Daniel and seen his work in his father’s life, he rejected God. He also left Daniel out of his role of influence in the kingdom that he had with his father. In addition it seems that Belshazzar had no regard for God at all. He had the audacity to use the items of the temple for his drunken party and worshiped the gods of gold and silver. He was a very proud man until confronted by a miraculous writing which appeared on the wall during this celebration.

When no one could read the writing on the wall, the queen reminded him of Daniel. It is interesting here the queen was not one of his wives since they are already present and was most likely the queen mother. That is, his mother who would have experienced all that happened to Nebuchadnezzar! At his mom’s prompting, he seeks out Daniel to interpret the message on the wall.

I love how Daniel responds to the king’s promise of riches and power if he would reveal the writing. In Dan. 5:17 it says,

“Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another.”

Daniel was so laser focused on being God’s faithful servant that he did not even entertain the thought of money and power for doing God’s work. To me, this is such a challenging example because we all are tempted by money and power and unfortunately see the corruption that follows those who have been lured away by its appeal. Daniel’s ability to reject the king’s offer reminds me of 1 Tim. 6:9-10 which says,

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

The pursuit of money can lead a person to wander away from following God and as a result, pierce themselves with unnecessary pain. Daniel’s ability to keep it simple, by living a life of faithfulness without responding to the temptation of money and power allowed him to be laser focused as he spoke a blistering message explaining the meaning of the writing on the wall. In a nutshell, that wording said, “your pride has brought you to the end, and your kingdom will be given to another.” That night the king was killed!

Can you imagine the courage to be that direct and unwavering in speaking with the king who could have had him tortured and killed by his command? WOW! What a man!

Father, thank you for the great example of Daniel. He kept the right priorities in life and was not lured away to pursue things that could lead him away from his laser focus of being the man you wanted him to be. May you help me be such a man.

Following Jesus with you,