Summary: A heart for God beats with God’s heart.
Title: Heart Health: A Spiritual Heart Check
Thesis: A heart for God beats with God’s heart.
Series: The Bible in 90 Days Whole Church Challenge
Our story today takes place during what we call the “Era of the Judges.” We talked about the cyclical pattern of how Israel would experience God blessing and a period of prosperity but would eventually fall into sin, experience the consequences of their sin and after crying out to God for deliverance God would rescue them and restore them to a period of prosperity and blessing. In our story last week we read of how God raised up Gideon to lead the charge in delivering his people from the Midianites. It was a story of how God meets us where we are, tests or proves us and then empowers us to overcome the obstacles in our lives.
In our reading this week we have leapt from the “Era of the Judges” to the “Period of the Kings” during which God ruled his people through kings anointed to lead his people. At the heart of our story today is the selection of Israel’s second king, King David, who is described as “a man after God’s own heart.”
I can’t cite the source but I read somewhere that the real secret to a long life is remembering to breath. In any case, remembering to breath, having good health and a healthy heart are critical to living well for a long time.
The University of Colorado Hospital cites cardiovascular disease as the number one killer of both men and women in America and for that reason the folks there have created what they call a Cardiac & Vascular Prevention Center which provides screening, imaging and evaluation services toward the end of improving health and preventing costly procedures. In an attempt to educate the public, their web site lists the risks of heart disease as : Increasing age (45 years old for men and 50 years old for women); Post-menopausal status in women; Smoking; High blood pressure; Diabetes; Obesity; Inactivity; and Hyperlipidemia (high levels of fat in the blood). They suggest that to prevent or reduce the spread of heart disease you should: Visit your doctor regularly; Make lifestyle changes; and Take prescribed medications.
Checking heart health has advanced far beyond listening to it with a stethoscope. Now we can use an ECG or a CT scanner or a cardiac MRI. And cardiologists can perform an angiogram using dye and a fluoscopy (camera) to examine the arteries on the surface of the heart.
The bible says that God is also able to examine the health of our hearts…. God is able to look beneath the surface and determine the real condition of our hearts.
The Lord does not look at the things that man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart. I Samuel 16:7
So with that in mind we are going to take a look King David’s heart… if he had a heart for God, what does a heart that beats for God look like?
First we see that David had a worshipful heart.
I. A Worshipful Heart in Peace and Prosperity
After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.” II Samuel 7:1-2
A.V. Pink defines worship as a redeemed heart occupied with God, expressing itself in adoration and thanksgiving. A worshipping person, who worships in spirit and truth, has a heart that desires God. A person with a worshipping heart wants to live in such a way that everything they do honors and glorifies God. The Children of Israel did not always exemplify a desire to please God in all things.
Last week we talked about the cyclical nature of Israel’s relationship with God. During periods of peace and prosperity, their hearts would wander from God and they would fall into sin. Then they would languish for a time during which God punished them by allowing them to suffer the consequences of their sin. After a time the oppression would become so harsh that they would realize how far they had strayed from God, repent of their sin and ask God to rescue and restore them. God would then rescue them and they would once again enjoy a period of peace and prosperity.
Peace and prosperity should trigger heartfelt gratitude and reverence. In Romans 2:4 we read of how it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. But it seems we are likely to drift when life is good but when our well-being is threatened, we realize we have drifted too far and turn our hearts back toward God.