A Heavy Heart

Generally in Western culture when we refer to someone having a ‘heavy heart’ we are speaking of someone dealing with grief or deep sadness. The Lord has a different perspective.

2  Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts. Proverbs 21:2 (NKJV)

When He speaks of weighing the heart the Lord is examining our motivations. From His perspective a heavy heart is one that carries His presence.

In the New Testament Paul said his afflictions were working in his life the eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Paul was a Hebrew and a former Pharisee. His comment on the ‘weight of glory’ is a reference to the Hebrew word kabod, which literally means ‘heavy’ but is used it in a figurative sense to mean glory, honour or splendour. The reason Paul spoke of the weight is twofold, one is that the primary meaning of kabod is heavy or weighty. The other is that we can see the tangible result of the weight of His presence in the lives of believers.  

The context for Paul talking about the weight of glory is our transformation into the image of Jesus.

18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)

As Christians we carry His presence. When we respond correctly to whatever is happening in our lives the ‘weight of glory,’ His presence, increases in us. I am sure all or most of us have met someone in whom we see Jesus. Those are people that from His perspective have a ‘heavy heart.’ They get that way by how they respond to circumstances. When Paul talked about beholding Jesus I believe He referred to sitting with and before Him, fixing the gaze of our heart upon Him. I also believe, based on what he wrote in chapter four of his afflictions and what they were working in him, that another aspect of beholding Jesus and being changed is seeing Him in whatever we are going through and looking for His presence there.

So what is the Lord looking for when He weighs our hearts? He is looking for Jesus. Are we also looking for Jesus in our circumstances no matter what they are and thus carrying and releasing Jesus splendour, glory and character wherever we go?

Sheep Into Horses

Have you ever wondered how to turn sheep into horses? No I am not talking about evolution: this is more akin to revolution. In general Christians, like the nation of Israel, are often referred to as sheep. We have Psalm 23 with the Lord’s people being the sheep and Him the Shepherd. We have Jesus affirming this in John 10 saying He is the good shepherd. We also have Jesus restoring Peter in John 21 referring to His people as sheep. Suffice to say this is a well established teaching and perspective, nor is it a wrong one. Yet we have this interesting verse.

Zechariah 10:3 (NKJV)
3  “My anger is kindled against the shepherds, And I will punish the goatherds. For the LORD of hosts will visit His flock, The house of Judah, And will make them as His royal horse in the battle.”

In the church believers are frequently referred to as sheep, and treated that way, herded into pens and fed once or twice a week. There are varying degrees of leadership and mindsets that drive that leadership. While some leadership is very effective we are all deceiving ourselves if we think we can lead as effectively and with the same wisdom as Jesus. He alone can make sheep like horses in battle.

The current situation is a bit like Joshua’s encounter (Josh. 5:13-15). The Lord had trained Joshua through Moses, displayed His power through Joshua in the crossing of the Jordan, the people had been circumcised, and now Joshua meets a warrior with a drawn sword. Joshua wants to know whose side the warrior is on. It is the Lord and in essence He says, “I didn’t come to take side, I came to take over.”

While Jesus is always present in our services the environment shifts when our experience moves from His omnipresence to His manifest presence. When He begins to move on our hearts and manifest His glory our responsibility is to bow our hearts and knees and passionately walk in obedience. Presently, like the sons of Issachar, we need to know times and seasons and know what to do (1 Chron. 12:32). I believe it is time for His church to arise and shine (Is. 60:1-2). As darkness has been increasing in our nation I believe a shift is available for hungry hearts. Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice (Jn. 10:3, 16). Do we hear Him calling us to be a horse in His battle? Is this our heart cry? If it is let us join in this ancient prayer.

1  Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence – 2  As fire burns brushwood, As fire causes water to boil – To make Your name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Your presence! 3  When You did awesome things for which we did not look, You came down, The mountains shook at Your presence. 4  For since the beginning of the world Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, Nor has the eye seen any God besides You, Who acts for the one who waits for Him. Isaiah 64:1-4 (NKJV)

We Will Ride by Andy Park

To Behold His Beauty

Here are some verses that are designed to draw our hearts in.

1  O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. 2  So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Psalm 63:1-2 (NKJV)

4  One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple. Psalm 27:4 (NKJV)

18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)

If we are not, or have not, experienced the reality of 2 Corinthians 3:18 it may be that we need to understand and apply the verses in the Psalms. A literal rendering of Psalm 63:2 from the Hebrew is, So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary, beholding Your power and glory. That is in fact how the ESV renders it,

2  So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Psalm 63:2 (ESV)

The word ‘see/behold’ in Psalm 63:2 is the same Hebrew translated behold in Psalm 27:4. In both Psalms there is an expression of a longing and desire to encounter our King and our God. We have David giving expression to the key longing in his life, a desire for intimacy with Yahweh.

Paul’s heart mirrors David’s but to get to Paul’s heart in 2 Corinthians 3:18 it is important to read Philippians 3:7-14 where Paul gives voice to his one ‘one thing’ longing and says he has given up everything else for his pursuit of Jesus heart. It may be tempting to assume the transformation spoken of by Paul, this beholding, is automatic, it is not. Beholding Jesus is a choice. After all 2 Corinthians 3:17 tells us that where the Holy Spirit is we have liberty. We must choose to pursue His heart and value His presence enough to be transformed.  

Is this beholding easy to do? Yes. Is it difficult to maintain? Yes. I do not know what works for everyone. I know in my own life I need to set aside distractions and by faith focus the gaze of my heart upon Him. I usually do not see anything, I do experience His presence and hear Him speaking to my heart. When I am faithful in this pursuit it spills over into other parts of my day. Others can assess whether or not I am being transformed into His image, I know I am encountering His heart.

So, find a way and time that works for you and make it a habit to come to Him with a hunger and longing. He will fill it.

This song gives expression to a longing heart. The idea of ‘waiting’ in the Old Testament is to look to Yahweh with expectation.  Waiting Here for You

The Battle for Water

In Genesis we discover a battle for water that is connected to wells. The first instance happens in Genesis 21.

25  Then Abraham rebuked Abimelech because of a well of water which Abimelech’s servants had seized. Genesis 21:25 (NKJV)

In this case Abraham had dug the well and others tried to take it. We see the same issue, a contention over water being played out in the life of Isaac.

17  Then Isaac departed from there and pitched his tent in the Valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. 18  And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them. 19  Also Isaac’s servants dug in the valley, and found a well of running water there. 20  But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well Esek, because they quarreled with him. 21  Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that one also. So he called its name Sitnah. 22  And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, because he said, “For now the LORD has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” 23  Then he went up from there to Beersheba. 24  And the LORD appeared to him the same night and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.” 25  So he built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD, and he pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well. Genesis 26:17-25 (NKJV)

In the passage above Isaac had to again dig the wells of Abraham because the enemy had filled them with dirt and debris. A message here is that we cannot subsist on the water of our parents. They may have provided something for us but we need to clean it off and engage with it, we need to dig down and keep the well unstopped. Another point is that there is a battle for our well. The word Esek means ‘quarrel’ and the word Sitnah means ‘enmity.” Accessing water is a battle and we must value this water enough to contend for it!

The last point in the passage above is that there is a connection between worship (the altar) and digging wells. It is presented so casually it is easy to miss, build an altar, dig a well. There is no contention mentioned. In fact as the chapter continues later on we find his enemies recognizing God’s favour on Isaac and coming and making a covenant with him and committing to not offend against him. Then what happens?

32  It came to pass the same day that Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well which they had dug, and said to him, “We have found water.” Genesis 26:32 (NKJV)

We see from Jesus that the well represents drawing on the water of the Spirit. Jesus ideal is that living water will flow out from our hearts.

37  On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38 (NKJV)

The order Jesus gives us is that we come to Him and drink and then the water flows out from us. Or as Isaiah put it.

3  Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation. Isaiah 12:3 (NKJV)

In summary, when we were born again a well of living water was established in our spirit. To walk as Jesus desires we need to continually draw on this well. The enemy knows this and contends with us for it and seeks to plug it up through things like anger, bitterness and unforgiveness – the quarreling and enmity Isaac experienced. We keep the water flowing by guarding our hearts and walking in love and forgiveness. We like Isaac need to establish an altar of worship that releases this living water to those around us.

My own experience and that of many others is that we keep the well flowing through sitting with Him, drawing on His word and engaging our heart in worship. So let’s contend for the flow of living water by establishing a lifestyle of being in the word, communion and worship.