A Good Heart These Days is Hard to Find.

Recently hearing the words... ‘A Good Heart these Days is Hard to Find’ it immediately flooded my mind with old memories, they’re the words from Feargal Sharkey’s UK number one hit ‘A Good Heart’ from way back in the cool 1980’s.

And a good heart, these days, is hard to find (a good heart)... True love, the lasting kind... A good heart, these days, is hard to find... So please be gentle with this heart of mine.

It never ceases to amazing me how daily events fire-up the Scriptures embedded in my heart and how they shed so much light and truth on seemingly mundane every day events. Everyone says in their own heart “I’m faithful, I’m true” but are quick to contemn others who have let them down in even the smallest way. If only we would be honest with ourselves and examine the motives and intent of our own hearts, then we would realise and understand the truth. But the truth can be hard to bare, so turning away we find relief and comfort in a lie. But these lies will fail when the piercing light of God’s truth strips away the cloak that we found so much comfort in. Who shall stand one day, naked before Him whom we have our concern.

Proverbs 21:2
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD ponders the hearts.

Proverbs 24:12
If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?

Proverbs 30:20
This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, “I have done no wrong.

For having no excuse, isn’t it better that we face this now, today while we still have the chance, choice and opportunity? For looking more closely at our seemingly beautiful heart through the Word of truth the picture begins to fade, the mask slips revealing a heart that is as black as coal and sick as leprosy.

Jeremiah 17:9
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it

Feargal’s words reminded me of an old blog that I’d given-up on some time ago, and not being able to find it set about re-writing it... and as far as I can tell, this is very different from my original.

Abraham, Isaac and Abimelech.

When Abraham dwelt in Canaan (today’s Israel) he journeyed south towards the Sinai near Egypt. In doing so he passed through the region of Gerar whose King was Abimelech. Knowing that his wife Sarah was a beautiful women Abraham feared that the Philistines would kill him for his wife’s sake and so he told Sarah to tell them that she was his Sister. However, unaware of their marriage status the King took Sarah for his own.

However, before Abimelech came near to her God spoke to him in a dream and said “You are a dead man for she is a man’s Wife”. Fearing, Abimelech protesting said “He said she was his Sister”. God informed Abimelech that aware of this truth He had spared him by keeping him from touching Sarah, He further informed Abimelech that Abraham was a prophet of God. As you can imagine Abimelech, up early the next morning immediately set about warning all of his subjects that a prophet was amongst them and that Sarah was his Wife. Summoning Abraham and still fearful, he bless Abraham and Sarah with many blessings sending them on their way with great riches. Before Abraham departed he prayed for Abimelech and his people. As during the period Sarah was under his care none of their women nor animals had conceived. God answered Abraham's prayer and healed them all. Verse 15 of this account recorded in Genesis 20 tells us that Abimelech then told Abraham that he could dwell anywhere in his land he wished.

Genesis 20:15
And Abimelech said, “Behold, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.”

Some years later, driven by a famine Isaac Abraham’s Son, also found himself in the region of Gerar where an older but still living King Abimelech reigned. With the local Philistines showing an interest in Rebekah, Isaac's beautiful Wife, Isaac resorted to the same old tactic as did his Father before by declaring Rebekah to be his Sister. After a long while in the land King Abimelech looking out of his window noticed Rebekah and Isaac play fighting, as only lovers do.

Genesis 26:10
9 - So Abimelech called Isaac and said, “Behold, she is your wife. How then could you say, ‘She is my sister’?” Isaac said to him, “Because I thought, ‘Lest I die because of her.’
10 - Then Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”
11 - So Abimelech gave orders to all the people: “Anyone who molests this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”
12 - Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him.
13 - The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy.

Who was it that Abimelech was fearful of offending, was it not God? When we consider Abimelech’s previous experience with Isaac's father Abraham and his run-in with God, we can see that Abimelech had learned to fear the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. An attitude that had truly saved him from a multitude of sins and blessed him greatly as it does all who fear Him. However, verse 12 really begins to highlight the blessings that fearing the Lord has on the heart of a man.

Genesis 26:12
Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him”.

But why did God bless him so when he sowed seed in Abimelech’s soil, what was so special about the land of Abimelech?

2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Romans 15:4
For whatsoever things were written beforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Many of the physical narratives in the Old Testament have a spiritual application for us under the New. We live in a new dispensation and under a new covenant (agreement) with our God. And when I first read Genesis 26:12 I couldn’t help but notice it’s similarity to the New Testament’s parable of the Sower. This parable and it’s interpretation is recorded for us in both Matthew 13 and Mark 4.

The Parable of the Sower - Matthew 13

The Parable Jesus’ Interpretation
3 - And he told them many things in parables, saying: A sower went out to sow. 18 - Hear then the parable of the sower:.
4 - And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 19 - When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.
Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil,
6 - but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away.
20 - As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy,
21 - yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
7 - Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 22 - As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
8 - Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
9 - He who has ears, let him hear.
23 - As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.

When Isaac sowed his seed into Abimelech’s soil it brought forth one hundred fold because Abimelech, as we have seen Feared God! It is a picture to us that only those who fear the Lord have hearts that will prosper God's Word sown in their hearts. It will grow and bring forth a crop of righteousness even to eternal life. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness and faith (Galatians 5:22). But as good seed sown into poor soil will bring forth sour fruit how much more will wicked seed sown into bad soil bring forth a crop of vile fruit! Paul speaking of those whose hearts are fixed on this age, exposes their thoughts when he says.

1 Corinthians 15:32b
Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die

For without any understanding of the Scriptures ‘this appears to be all that there is’. And if this is all that there is then we take whatsoever we can and God help any who gets in our way.

Luke 12:34
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Faithfulness is foolishness and long-suffering a flaw. When a wife has spent her body baring children, cast her off and find a younger. And women, unsatisfied with their lot in life seek for a richer man, despising their vows of marriage taken before a mighty God. Fallen Man's cry is ‘all is fair in love and war’ which spoken of as though it was a legal document encourages them to cast off all restraint. Even the words ‘life is too short’ is paraded as their justification. But still, even these lies can not suffice as still hearing the muffled cry of a desperate conscience, stopping their ears they need to beat it down until at the last it too falls silent.

Galatians 5:19-21
19 - Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 - Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 - Envying's, murders, drunkenness, revelling’s, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

I recall many years ago when discovering an overgrown Church. The roof of which had long since collapsed, but amazingly there were still remains of the old pews that had once seated long gone congregations, now broken and crumpled. It was an amazing sight from a house which I was working on. All the stonework having been overgrown with ivy made it appeared like some immense green plant growing high in the middle of an old forgotten wood. Looking out from among the ruins with a breeze on my face I could see one single well kept grave surrounded by three foot grass, still tended by the living.
I thought of how many others had peered through this now glassless frame, those that had stood here but were now long gone. Of the rings of laughter and joy that had filled this Church now silenced. What of their passions, what of their lust and their pride of life? All these are now out of their reach but one thing remains . . . their deeds. Unless removed in life they now stick to them like chocolate to the face of a child who has been at the biscuit tin while his parents weren't looking.

Proverbs 30:20
This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says, “I have done no wrong.

Whom if now in Hades, must wish they had changed those filthy garments whilst they still had the chance! But now they know for a certainty, that very soon they will be led before the almighty. And like the drunken fool who has soiled himself before all...they will at last understand their shame.

John 9:41
Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

Now you are certain that I think myself above all! lofty with my head held high. Well consider carefully why I turned to Christ, because I dared look in the mirror and search my heart, and what I saw shocked me. With a humble heart I say this, “if you think you are a ‘good person’ you are blind and have not seen the truth”.

Proverbs 2:1-10
1 - My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you,
2 - making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;
3 - yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding,
4 - if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures,
5 - then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.
6 - For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 - he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 - guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.
9 - Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path;
10 - for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;

Well, I started with a song and so I shall end with one of my favourites written by ‘Stevie Wonder’. Although sad, this song beautifully epitomises the Worldly saying “All is Fair in Love and War” and thus Man's total destain for the sanctity of marriage and faithfulness to one another.

All is fair in love
Love's a crazy game
Two people vow to stay
In love as one they say
But all is changed with time
The future no one can see
The road you leave behind
Ahead lies mystery
But all is fair in love
I had to go away...

A writer takes his pen
To write the words again
That all in love is fair.