10 Studies in Proverbs: 7
Study 7 GOD’S REQUEST FOR OUR HEART
(Key-verse: Proverbs 23:26)
This is often referred to as the Heart Chapter because it has much to say about the human heart. The heart in scripture signifies the seat of the affections, also of wisdom and understanding; it is the centre of a man’s being. By nature the human heart is evil (Genesis 6:5; Genesis 8:21); it is deceitful and wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). The words of our key-verse are spoken by Solomon, who is speaking in the name of wisdom; and wisdom is just another name for the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30). It is the Lord Himself, therefore, who says to you and to me, “My son (or daughter), give me your heart”. Notice three truths:
- There is a RELATIONSHIP. The Lord says, “My son…” As their Creator He is addressing men and women everywhere, for in this sense He is the Father of all men (Acts 17:28). But there is a deeper and more intimate sense in which we need to become the children of God; the way is indicated in Galatians 3:26.
- Then there is a REQUEST. “My son, give me…” The petitioner is God who is asking me to give Him my heart, which really means myself, my whole being. The fact that God seeks us out and then asks for our hearts, or our love, proves His great love for us.
- There is also a REQUIREMENT. “Give me your heart”. No gift is acceptable to God until we have given Him our hearts; even if we pray, or give our money, He will not accept these unless we have first given ourselves to Him (Proverbs 15:8; 28:9). God wants our hearts, He wants us.
Why is this? In Ezekiel 36:26-28 we find there are four reasons:
- 1. He wants our hearts in order to Exchange them
In Ezekiel 36:26 the Lord says, “I will give you a new heart…I will remove from you your heart of stone”! This is the message of the gospel, and if we ask why we need a new heart, the answer is that verse 25 tells us that our heart is unclean and verse 26 tells us that it is hard, and therefore cold. In exchange God offers us a heart that is clean, true, tender and warm. Notice he does not offer to patch up the old heart (2 Corinthians 5:17). If you have not done so, will you give Him your old heart and let Him give you His new one?
- 2. He wants our hearts in order to Empower them
In Ezekiel 36:27 the Lord says, “I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws”. God gives us a new piece of machinery within but He also gives us the power to drive the machinery. We cannot be moved to follow His decrees on our own, but God will enable us to do this by the indwelling Person and presence of the Holy Spirit. This is what the Christian life is all about; we cannot live it; but God says He will come and dwell within us so that we walk in ways that please Him.
Here is an old-fashioned water mill that has been used for grinding the corn into flour. The miller is very old and his sons now run the business. One day they come to him and say, ‘Father, we’ve arranged to have the old water-driven grinders taken away, and we’re going to replace them with electrically-driven grinders’. A month or so later the old man takes a look round the mill house. Everything is new; in place of the antiquated machinery is new and modern machinery. Underneath him he can still hear the water rushing along in a torrent. The water has driven the mill for 300 years. Then the old father begins to look to see how the water can possibly drive this new machinery, and he is very puzzled, until his son comes in and says, ‘Father, it’s all different now’ – and then he touches a switch. There is a hum, and gradually those great grinders begin to work, driven by a new power, a mighty current of power that comes along an overhead cable.
This is why God wants your heart, so that He can empower it.
- 3. He wants our hearts in order to Establish them
In Ezekiel 36:28 God says, “You will live in the land…” The primary reference in these words is to Israel’s restoration. For years the Jews have been scattered over the earth but the Bible promises that in the end they will all go back to their own land to live there. All that is a parable for us. Our hearts have been wanderers over the earth and there has been nowhere to rest; but God says, ‘Give me your heart and I will cause it to live in the land; I will establish it’. The trouble with our hearts is that they wander, they cannot rest. But David knew the blessing of a steadfast heart (Psalm 57:7; 112:7) – something we need in these days of crisis, calamity and fear! But there is another reason why we need to have our hearts established: it is mentioned in Hebrews 13:9. Notice that this verse follows verse 8! The reason we have a steadfast heart is because we are united with One who never changes, our Lord Jesus Christ. If you have not done so, will you give your heart to the Lord to establish it?
- 4. He wants our hearts in order to Enrich them
In Ezekiel 36:28 God says, “You will be my people, and I will be your God”. This is too wonderful to be true because, if I am His and He is mine, how rich I am! Look at Ezekiel 36:29-30 and note that God promises to provide the corn, the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field – in other words, Philippians 4:19! If you have not done so, will you give Him your heart, that He may enrich it?
It may be that you have very little else to give to the Lord – but you can give Him your heart. If you will do this He will exchange it, empower it, establish it and enrich it.
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