Jehu did a lot in 2 Kings 10 to wipe out the effect of Ahab’s rule. He’d destroyed Ahab’s family line, he’d executed all Baal’s priests, prophets and sermons, he’d torn down the temple of Baal. But despite all this and despite God saying that because of the things he had done his sons would rule for 4 generations -the line in the middle of the verse below is damning.
31 After all that Jehu had done, and even after the Lord had honored him, he fell from the higher path, from the ways of the Eternal. His whole heart did not belong to Israel’s God. He walked the wicked path of Jeroboam, causing the Israelites to live sinful lives.
His whole heart did not belong to Israel’s God.
The Lord is all about our hearts. Over and over and over throughout Old and New Testaments, our hearts are shown to be the most important thing about us. David fell spectacularly when he committed adultery and murder but God looked on his heart and loved him. He was called a man after God’s own heart. Solomon gave his heart to his wives and allowed them to distract him from God despite the blessings lavished on him and was condemned for it. The reason Jeroboam built golden calves was to keep the hearts of the people from turning to the Lord in Jerusalem. That piece of craftsmanship haunted and perverted the hearts of Israel for generations until it led to their destruction.
Why the heart? It’s not the piece of blood pumping flesh inside our chests that God wants. The heart is the seat of the will and emotions, the part of us that makes us ‘us’. Do a quick search for the word heart in the Bible (here’s one I did already you can check your preferred translation), check the verses and see how important the attitudes of our heart are to God.
As I read Kings and Chronicles chapter after chapter has that same indictment – his heart was not the Lord’s. There are kings who walk a little way with God obedient to a point, a few who are called righteous but not because of their actions. No, they are called righteous because they seek the Lord with all their hearts.
We’re told to guard our hearts above all else for good reason; the fact that it is the place God wants to live makes it the prime target for our enemy. That’s the sort of heart attack we are bound to have. We can be tempted in so many ways, ways that seem so small and insignificant, ways that seem harmless but that lead to us hardening our hearts. They cause us to slip slowly out of His will. They can cause us to walk away from Him.
The best way to guard our hearts is to stay in close communication with God. Reading the Bible daily is a good start, so is talking to Him in specific time we set aside as well as throughout the day. Allowing the Holy Spirit to check and balance the things we do as we listen to Him. Spending time with other Christians in accountable relationships is also vital. If you feel the urge to avoid any of these things then that’s a certain sign there’s a problem niggling at your heart and time to check just why!
Heart attacks don’t have to be fatal – God has provided the means to resist them and recover from them. Make sure you get your heart checked daily.