We can’t follow our heart because it can distract and deceive us so we have desires that are contrary to God. Our heart is our whole being, our mind, our thoughts, and our spiritual intentions.
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
The heart is deceitful. If we trust in our own heart, we’ll be a fool.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Proverbs 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
We have to trust the Lord and serve him by giving him 100% of our heart. If we trust our heart a little, we’ll be deceived.
Proverbs 3:5-6 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.
Jesus said our actions and speech come from our heart. What we say is how we’re thinking in our heart. We’ve all said things we wish we hadn’t. We should ask forgiveness right away. If we’re not willing to say I’m sorry, there’s a problem in the heart.
Matthew 15:16-20…Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not…
We are not responsible for our children’s hearts. Each person is responsible for what they do. Our desire to teach our children about God is because we want them to serve God. We can’t make them serve God. They choose whether they will serve him. The devil will tell us it’s our fault they aren’t serving God because of something we did, but that’s a lie. King Ahaz wasn’t saved and he served idols, but his son Hezekiah served God. Hezekiah was the only king that served God except Jehoshaphat who was 3 kings before him. The brazen serpent Moses made in the wilderness was worshipped by the people as an idol. This shows us that people can make anything into an idol that they worship. Hezekiah chose to serve God, to trust him, and to cleave to him. He restored the temple worship and destroyed the idols in the land.
II Kings 18:1-6 Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea…king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. Twenty and five years…he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem…he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord…He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made…the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan. He trusted in the Lord…after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to the Lord, and departed not…but kept his commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses.
Hezekiah’s son Manasseh chose to serve idols even though he wasn’t taught that at home. He caused his sons to pass through the fire in his false worship. Manasseh did worse than any of the other kings before him.
II Kings 21:1-9 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem… And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out …of Israel. For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. And he built altars in the house of the Lord…for all the host of heaven…And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger…Lord said…In this house…I put my name for ever: Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded…according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them. But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel.
God brought evil on Jerusalem because of their wickedness. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon besieged the city so they were starving. Some people became cannibals. Manasseh died and his son became king and worshipped idols like his father.
II Kings 21:10-16 And the Lord spake by his servants the prophets, saying, Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols: Therefore thus saith the Lord…I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle…I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down. And…forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies…Because they have done…evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger…Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem…beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.
Josiah became king when he was 8 years old. Hezekiah was his great grandfather. Josiah looked everywhere to make sure there weren’t any idols or groves left in the land to worship. He had the bodies of the prophets of Baal removed from their graves and burned (II Kings 23:4). He didn’t want to leave anything of the idols for the people to worship. When we get saved, God wants us to cut down any idols that are in our life. God wants us to be diligent when he shows us things we missed. We might see a little pride or a little roughness. We need to get rid of it or it will eventually cause us to backslide.
II Kings 22:1-2 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.
When Josiah was 20 years old, he purged Jerusalem and Judah of the idols, groves of idol worship, and altars of Baal.
II Chronicles 34:2-7 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David…in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images. And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images…and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem…And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.
When Josiah was 26 years old, he collected money and hired men to repair the temple.
II Chronicles 34:8-10 Now in the eighteenth year of his reign…he sent…to repair the house of the Lord his God. And when they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that was brought into the house of God…and they gave it to the workmen that wrought in the house of the Lord, to repair and amend the house:
Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of Moses. When Josiah heard it, he tore his clothes because he was grieved and repenting. He knew they hadn’t been doing what was written in the law.
II Chronicles 34:12-19 And the men did the work faithfully…all that could skill of instruments of musick. Also they were over the bearers of burdens, and were overseers of all that wrought the work…And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the Lord given by Moses. And Hilkiah answered…Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan. And Shaphan carried the book to the king…saying, All that was committed to thy servants, they do it. And they have gathered together the money that was found in the house of the Lord, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers, and…workmen. Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. And…when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes.
Josiah’s heart was tender when he heard the word so he humbled himself and repented. You can hear the word over and over until your heart becomes callus and not tender. We need to pray that God will help us keep a tender heart, so when God shows us to do something, we do it. Josiah wanted to serve God and he chose to. His father or grandfather didn’t choose for him. Our children choose whether they will serve God, regardless of how we raise them. Josiah sent the priest to the prophetess Huldah (Jeremiah’s uncle’s wife) to find out what to do. The other prophets had left Jerusalem. She said Josiah wouldn’t see the evil that God was going to bring to Jerusalem because his heart was tender to God.
II Chronicles 34:20-28 And the king commanded Hilkiah…Go, enquire of the Lord for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord…written in this book. And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath…keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college:)…And she answered them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Tell ye the man that sent you to me, Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place…even all the curses that are written in the book…Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out…and shall not be quenched. And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to enquire of the Lord, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the Lord…concerning the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place…and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee…I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same…
To keep our heart tender, we have to control our thoughts. We have to bring all our thoughts into captivity and cast down imaginations. We have to battle against wrong or evil thoughts and imaginations.
II Corinthians 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)