1 Kings 14:8 (the message)
I ripped the kingdom from the hands of David’s family and gave it to you, but you weren’t at all like my servant David who did what I told him and lived from his undivided heart, pleasing me.
The message above was for King Jeroboam. He had been given the throne of Israel, except for Judah. Solomon, David’s son, became obsessed with women and worshipped other gods so God called Jeroboam out and gave him the kingdom. Once again, God told another king, in a nutshell…if you’ll obey me and live whole heartedly for me I will make your reign great. And like the others, Jeroboam strayed from God’s way. He built shrines, golden idols and altars where the people could worship so they wouldn’t have to travel back to Jerusalem. He appointed any random person as priest at the shrines…without a care for the state of their heart. God had promised David his descendents would reign, so He kept one of the tribes, Judah, separate and David’s grandson ruled over Judah. Jeroboam did not want those under his rule to follow Rehoboam (Solomon’s son), and was concerned if they traveled to Jerusalem to worship God at the temple Solomon built they would soon be reunited under David’s rule. So, Jeroboam traded the call of God on his life as king because of fear. Apparently he forgot that the God who made him king was more than able to keep him king.
What struck me as I came across the verse above is how God’s message for Jeroboam was a reference to David’s life. David “…who did what I told him and lived from his undivided heart, pleasing me.” An undivided heart. How this touches me this morning because that is my prayer, my heart’s greatest desire! As I was reading about how Solomon did not have a strong finish (he did not stay true to God) and then how this random guy Jeroboam is noticed and appointed by God and yet still yields to the temptation to do things his own way I started to feel a little worn out! Like, my goodness! Are there any kings in this part of Biblical history who would just do things God’s way?!
Then I stop to think of how easily we can be tripped up with progress. See, when life is hard and we know how weak and disobedient we are then humility becomes our banner (hopefully). God works in a humble heart; His power is made available in a life that is contrite and yielded. What happens in our lives once there is fruit of God’s power? Once we begin to see positive changes in our character and that God can affect others through our lives? What happens once we are noticed and appointed? I think satan will try to keep us in the pit, the muck and the mire, so we are never healed and made whole, so we are never used by God. But if our lives are impacted and changed by God in such a way it takes a hold of us then I suspect the next weapon of the enemy is pride or independence. Somehow we can drift into a place where the fruit of our lives becomes the defining factor…somehow the power of God working through us becomes ours to manage and hold onto. Our hearts become divided.
God does the work. His power produces any goodness and “fruit” in our lives. He won’t share the credit…after all, how can others know His healing and experience change in their lives unless they know this is only possible in God’s power? There was a reason God chose Solomon. A reason God chose Jeroboam. They started out with God-thirsty hearts. But in time their hearts were divided. Solomon’s heart became divided between God and women. Jeroboam’s heart was divided between God and power.
I don’t think God’s power will remain on a life lived from a divided heart. Selling out to God in total obedience, a whole-hearted worship, brings more change, healing and effectiveness that we can imagine. Am I there? No, I’m not. There are times I know my heart is still divided with fear. I sense the thoughts that nip at my heels at times…measuring, comparing. Thankfully, the red flags are raised and I can ask God to help me. I don’t want to be like these kings! I don’t want God’s goodness in my life to become “mine.” It’s not mine so I don’t have to protect it or hoard it. I don’t have to prove it or promote it. The goodness is Gods. It’s not about me. Not about us. Never about our qualifications for the “christian life.” Never what we bring to God. It’s always about His amazing love and mercy…His power and goodness available to all of us. All He is looking for, it seems to me, is an Undivided Heart.