Guard the Heart

A devotion on Psalm 106:1-23

Image result for heart shaped shield
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Yesterday we looked through God’s lens at his outlook and intention for his people. We had a bird’s eye view and were up looking down. Today we will see the exact same scene from man’s outlook and the outcome of attempting to walk in faith in a soulish manner. It is a miserable flop. If you apply these scenes to your life it will powerfully transform you and your soul (also known as your heart.) Remember that the soul is your Will, your Intellect, and your Emotions (WIE.) If you don’t submit our soul to God it will wreck your faith!

1 Praise the Lord!

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

God’s goodness is stated in scripture as a fact. The world, the devil, and the flesh will instantly tell you that it is not true. Guard your heart against even a drop of this poison in your well. Your thanks quotient is one way that will demonstrate your understanding and belief of this. How are you doing in that area? If you have any room for improvement, make a concerted effort to be more grateful and to express it.

2 Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Who can declare all His praise?

3 Blessed are those who keep justice, and he who does righteousness at all times!

You can! Are you? You get to be a vanguard. You get to walk at the front of the King’s procession and make way for him with your grand proclamations of his mighty acts and his praise. You are invited to do this. Do you, believer?

4 Remember me, O Lord, with the favor You have toward Your people. Oh, visit me with Your salvation,

5 That I may see the benefit of Your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation,

That I may glory with Your inheritance.

What a privilege, what an honor, what a prized position to be favored by the Most High! O, he remembers you, beloved. Great are your benefits, you chosen one – and all so you can rejoice in the gladness. Rejoice exuberantly to the point of glory, halal. That means celebrate wildly, shine and rave about this, make a show. It is all the rage. If we truly understood our identity and its benefits, we would be running wildly down the street and telling all about it.

6 We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.

7 Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders;

They did not remember the multitude of Your mercies, but rebelled by the sea—the Red Sea.

Remembrance, and thus our memory is a function of the intellectual aspect of our souls. It is easy to point fingers of blame when it comes to sin. We look back at our forefathers and marvel at what dimwits they were. They saw all those grand things and still didn’t believe? They saw it live, how could they not understand the wonders? It was still in their working memory, how could they forget? But we are in the exact same position. He has given us as much if not more to remember him by. He has given us our own experiences plus theirs to build and jog our memories of his greatness.

8 Nevertheless He saved them for His name’s sake, that He might make His mighty power known.

9 He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it dried up; so He led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.

10 He saved them from the hand of him who hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.

11 The waters covered their enemies; there was not one of them left.

12 Then they believed His words; they sang His praise.

Thank God that he saves us for his name’s sake. If he saved us for our own sake we would be doomed. We humbly thank you Father for your deliverance in our lives. Thank you for covering us where we fail, for your name’s sake. Thank you for standing by your promise to us, for your name’s sake. What a marvelous name it is!

I was enthralled by this screen-saver yesterday.

How many Red Seas has he parted in your life? I hope you collected some artefacts while you were down there for show and tell. How many enemies did he shield you from and even drown in that same sea? If we are not talking about these things at the dinner table and in our coming and going, what one earth are we talking about? It’s no wonder that if we don’t praise him the rocks will cry out – this stuff is uncontainable!

13 They soon forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel,

14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert.

15 And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul.

Oh friends! This must make the angels hang their heads and cry. That he would part a Red Sea for me and I’d turn right around and forget it? That’s horrific. Note the word ‘soon’ in that line. It means hastily, promptly, speedily. No sooner was the deed done then it was forgotten. How heart-breaking. May this never be said about you. The word forget, shakach, means to ignore, to cease to care. I pray that this is cutting your heart. I describe it as a ‘myeh’ attitude towards God and his works. No marveling, no wide-eyed wonder, just “‘myeh’ that was good.”

What does it mean to wait for his counsel? It means he guides and directs me. He is the boss. It also means I have the privilege of conferring with him; we deliberate and purpose together. That’s a function of our soul too. Are we waiting for his counsel or are we running pell-mell into plans of our own devising? Are we listening for and attending to his admonition? Are we subjecting our plans to his scrutiny and submitting them to his plans or are we bucking his at every turn, if we even care to know what they are? ‘Myeh.

Image result for jet pack

What about our desires? They burn like a roaring jet-engine flame and drive us wherever we want – fast and furious. No waiting here. We’ve got places to go and things to do. Lust is merely desire, neither positive nor negative. It is yet another function of the soul. In this context the longing and craving surely isn’t for things of God. It’s for unbridled human appetites that gnaw at us from the inside. We live our undisciplined lives wanting and getting what we crave when we want it. Lust fulfilled is not quelled – it is inflamed. We have appetites that will consume us if we don’t hold a tight rein on them – loose lips, cutting tongues, ‘judgey’ attitudes, competitive or manipulative spirits, self-absorption; the list is endless. Nab them as Holy Spirit highlights them in your life. With his help, hog-tie them or they swiftly become hang-ups that impede your intimacy with God and with other people.

There is an answer to prayer that you don’t want God to grant. May we open our mouths and beseech him not to answer prayers that are driven by a heart that does not remember his works, that does not wait for his counsel, that not only lusts but lusts exceedingly. God, save me from myself and my implosive requests. May my heart hunger and thirst for you alone. Anything else, no matter how appetizing brings leanness to my soul. It leaves my soul gaunt and anorectic. In your mercy, please do not answer that prayer, God.

16 When they envied Moses in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the Lord,

17 The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan, and covered the faction of Abiram.

18 A fire was kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked.

Envy, qana, speaks to a jealousy and smoldering hatred towards those that God has appointed to positions or given blessings that we think we want or deserve. This is another insidious vice that can crouch at the door of our hearts if we are not on guard. We can even harbor envy with a smile on our faces. It swims in murky waters and keeps company with ingratitude, entitlement, comparison, greed, and other shifty characters.

19 They made a calf in Horeb, and worshiped the molded image.

20 Thus they changed their glory into the image of an ox that eats grass.

21 They forgot God their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt,

22 Wondrous works in the land of Ham, awesome things by the Red Sea.

23 Therefore He said that He would destroy them, had not Moses His chosen one stood before Him in the breach, to turn away His wrath, lest He destroy them.

Image result for golden calf

And all those things we have listed before idolatry even knocks on the door! By the time we erect the golden calf in our life we have long been excavating ground, laid a foundation, and constructed a stable altar to hold it up. We may focus on the golden calf as the problem but let’s not forget the groundwork it stands on, which is all the things we’ve discussed so far, frequently unseen by other human eyes.

Earlier we read of glory, halal, meaning wild celebration. This time glory, kabod, means honor, abundance, dignity, splendor. When we engage in idolatry, we give up our glory. We become worthless like the idols we worship. As the moon reflects the sun, beloved, we borrow our worth from what we worship. Our glory is on loan. What are you getting yours from? We become like Esau, exchanging a bowl of pottage for a birthright. What? We know that that is the most foolish thing we could ever do but in the heat of the moment; in the cavernous cravings, we devalue our glory. We trade an ingot of pure gold for a can of beans.

No wonder scripture says to “guard the heart above all else, for it is the source of life,” Proverbs 4:23. Contemplate that as you walk about today. In your comings and goings, shine a light in your heart, zahar, and with Holy Spirit’s help, root out these enemies of your soul.

Published by hannahtk

Hannah is a footloose Jesus-girl who enjoys family and friends, writing, painting, calligraphy, speaking and teaching, reading, cooking, gardening...

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