Points to Ponder: Amnesia of the Heart?
Points to Ponder
Amnesia of the Heart?
Some years ago I was invited by one of our church's youth to her high school graduation. Sitting in the stands of the local college's gymnasium I observed various families of graduates sitting together in the company of friends and others whom they knew. Excitement, laughing, and quiet conversation went on as everyone prepared to watch their special graduate walk the stage. But among them were some family groups who saw no honor in this occasion, nor probably in anything else worthy of honor.
One of the fathers was visibly drunk as he tripped over himself to get to his seat, slurring comments about something. When the National Anthem was played, several people ignored it and continued in conversation without lowering the volume. Some of the parents remained seated, either out of blatant disrespect or blissful ignorance. I was amazed and troubled to see the primary role models (namely the parents) of the next generation of leaders carrying on with such total disregard for our national heritage and disrespect for the celebration of the educational accomplishments of this privileged minority of children. Minority? Unlike millions of their peers in other lands, these kids never went hungry, had a school to attend and books to read, are free to choose among many options for their future, and will not be sold into slavery by their parents to pay bills. Most of them drive and even own their own cars, have pocket money, and more than a few changes of clothes - even shoes.
Our nation didn't luck into freedom and prosperity. This generation is no more entitled to the good things we have and enjoy than the men and women of previous generations who sacrificed ease, comfort, and often their lives to secure these things. And like it or not, it's because we have been "one nation under God" that we have gone on so well for so long.
But amnesia is often the plague of the prosperous. As you read through Israel's history in the Old Testament, you see that once things got comfortable, they took it for granted and seemed to assume it always had been and always would be so.
Deuteronomy 8:10-14, 17-18: "When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest - when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; . . . then you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.' And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day."
I thought of all of this as I studied the Book of First Kings. The generation in the grandstands passes on the legacy of character. What the children pick up on graduation day is nothing compared to what they have been picking up from Mom and Dad all their lives.
Rehoboam was the son of King Solomon. The nation had already split into the northern and southern kingdoms because of Solomon's idolatry. And the legacy of apostasy continued with Rehoboam's son, Abijam.
I Kings 15:3: "And he walked in all the sins of his father, which (Rehoboam) had done before him; his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David."
The godly legacy of his great-grandfather, King David, had been forgotten. Abijam observed how his dad lived, "the sins which he had done before (Abijam)", and so Israel's heritage as one nation under God was fading from memory.
Notice that the father's lifestyle affected the heart of Abijam his son. (The heart is the core, the center of the person.). Notice also that it doesn't say Abijam was an unbeliever or had stopped going to temple. Maybe he did, but it says the Lord his God. Ponder that; especially if you are a father (or mother). Are you a believer, a professing Christian whose heart is not loyal to the Lord your God? And if your heart is not loyal to the Lord, if the core of your being is not wholly devoted to His lordship over your life, then is He really the Lord - the Lord your God?
Abijam was the son of a King. No doubt he had access to the best education, nice home, clothes, etc. The future surely is bright and full of possibilities for a king's son. But all the promise and potential, all the college scholarships and grants, and all the best money can buy can not train a child's heart. In fact, the fruit of our ancestors' past faithfulness may be sowing the seeds of our child's future destruction. How? Amnesia. Not of the mind, but of the heart.
Abijam reigned three years. He had some successes by the grace of God (II Chron. 13:18), and the nation practiced its religion; however, his heart was divided. He married fourteen wives and, like his grandfather Solomon, his heart was turned away (Deut. 17:17; II Chron. 14:21). Along with those unions came the idolatrous religions of the wives' homeland. What could Abijam have done, what great possibilities had he missed because he followed the bad examples of his father and grandfather, rather than the standard of the Holy God?
What kind of example are you following? What kind of role model are you where you lead?