Taking diligent heed
One of my favorite Precept Upon Precept (PUP) Bible studies was in the book of Joshua. Go figure! Who knew it contained such practical and applicable tips for living? Oh, the Word of God has treasures to be mined! But think about it. Here God's people were going into the land that God had promised them. A land of milk and honey - yes! But also a land with giants, gods and hostile to God. I love the sub-title given to this PUP study. It was something like "possessing your possessions" or "learning to possess your possessions." Here on this earth, if I am ever going to possess what is mine in Christ Jesus, then practical and applicable tips are certainly needed! One of the "tips" that pricked my heart then and now is Joshua 23:11. It says "... take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord your God." Okay. So, what does diligent heed look like?
We used to live in a house that was built in the late 1800's. One of the previous owners had planted gardens and I became passionate about gardening. But, beautiful gardens don't just happen. No, they take a lot of work! Each week I would spend hours and hours weeding, watering, feeding and tending those gardens. Each season certain things would have to be done to prepare the gardens for the next season. It was only a few months each year when the snow was on the ground that I didn't need to HEED those gardens. If I didn't "take heed" on a regular basis those gardens could get out of hand very quickly. During the growing season? Forget about it. I would have to "take diligent heed. " God has once again reminded me that I need to take that same diligent heed of myself - of my heart. If I don't the things of this world will come in a crowd out and choke my love of the Lord. Doesn't it seem strange that I would have to weed, water, feed and tend after my heart like that in order to love the Lord my God? With as glorious as He is and after all He has done for me, you would think it be natural to love God with all of my heart. No so. In fact, God says that when I stop giving heed to the Lord that's exactly when I start playing the harlot (Hosea 4:10).
Yes, I finally finished my PUP study of Hosea. God has used the truths from Hosea to remind me of just how easily I can forget Him. God says this in Hosea 13:6: "As they had their pasture, they became satisfied and being satisfied, their heart became proud; Therefore they forgot Me." You know why I gave up gardening? I lost my passion for it. I no longer wanted to spend the hours necessary to take diligent heed of gardens. Compared to other things that came into my life, gardening lost its value. Actually, I gave up gardening to spend more time with and serving God. But, I have to wonder. Could I give up God that easily? Unless I take diligent heed I know I could - I know I have.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. “Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. Deuteronomy 6:5-12