the natural world, it is both logical and reasonable to assume that good preparation leads to good performance. “Practice makes perfect” is a well-worn verbal incentive used by generations of coaches and teachers of various disciplines. This is true to be sure, but only to a point. Think about Solomon, for instance.
Of the nearly nine hundred times that the heart is mentioned in Scripture, more than one hundred of those occasions came to us through the writings of Solomon, the son of David and the king of Israel. He penned or verbally spoke God’s inspired words that we find in Proverbs 16:1 which states, “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.” Solomon understood, by divine revelation, the importance of a prepared heart.
Furthermore, according to I Kings chapter three, Solomon, while still in his youth, requested and received an understanding heart from God. His prayer request pleased the LORD and, by young Solomon’s own personal testimony, this sanctified desire was prompted by his father David’s parental example of uprightness of heart. And the resulting peace, prosperity, and world-wide impact of this historically wise man extended the news of our God throughout the world. Surely Solomon exemplified the importance of a prepared heart.
But in I Kings 11 we find a change in heart taking place in this well-prepared man. This turning of the heart would forever alter what could have been a stellar life performance to the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom.
Solomon’s “wives turned away his heart”, we are told. Seven hundred weddings to “strange” women of forbidden and foreign nations transformed a well-prepared in heart wise man into an idolater and financial supporter of heathen gods. Solomon unwisely “went after” the most abominable of evil religions. We are told that he “did evil in the sight of the LORD” and “did build an high place for Chemosh….likewise did he for all his strange wives”.
Solomon had been well-prepared in his heart and for a time he sought and served God wonderfully. But Solomon’s heart was turned away from the LORD through close association with godless individuals. Perhaps he was driven by sensual lust or maybe he saw marriage to the princesses of neighboring kings as a means of security. Whatever the motivation may be, the destructive results of allying one’s self with people who do not love nor serve the LORD will surely lure us away from worshipping and serving our God exclusively and wholeheartedly.
The LORD stirred up adversaries against Solomon as a result of the turning of Solomon’s heart. These enemies destroyed the peace and prosperity Israel had known. And Solomon’s own son Rehoboam, following the death of his father, foolishly led the nation of Israel into civil war and eventual division.
The heart that has been prepared by God for sacred service may or may not perform well in life experience. Solomon’s spiritual demise was not the result of a life that was not properly prepared. No. He could not blame his parents or mentors or spiritual advisors or even God. The blame rested on Solomon himself. Intimacy with evil companions was his undoing.
The biblical boundaries of personal separation are as relevant and necessary today as in the days of Solomon. God placed restrictions on Solomon’s associations and Solomon chose to ignore those rules to pursue his own personal pleasure and security and his plan backfired.
We must not, therefore, rely upon our excellent preparation as a guarantee of future success. We must constantly guard our associations. Evaluating and eliminating the influence of media and people who will not help us to love and serve God more effectively is necessary for maintaining a properly prepared heart throughout the performance of life.
In conclusion, let me share with you a personal example of this principle from my own life. As a sixteen-year-old Christian teen I had a great home, church, and spiritually minded friends to help me grow in the Lord. But along the way, I developed an appetite for music that dishonored God. As my heart for rock and roll music increased, my passion for spiritual things diminished. My commitment to obey my parents was compromised.
Thank God, however, for Bible preaching on the subject of separation. Under conviction from the Holy Spirit, I took the rock albums from my room to our driveway and laid them out in two long lines. Then I drove my car back and forth over them. A joy and freedom filled my heart that had been absent for some time.
Closeness with carnal music would have become to me what Solomon’s wives became to him. Let us prepare but then let us beware lest we fall into Solomon’s sin.