Calvary Road Baptist Church

“HE PREPARED NOT HIS HEART”

Second Chronicles 12.14

 

This evening we learn something from the life of a man named Rehoboam, a man you do not want to be anything like. Three thousand years ago, God gave to Israel the king they longed for. His name was Saul, and he ruled for forty years. While Saul was yet alive, God anointed a young shepherd named David to be Saul’s successor, and after being seasoned both as a warrior and by means of the strange circumstance of leading men as a fugitive, he eventually became king in Israel. David ruled the twelve tribes that comprised Israel for forty years and was succeeded by his son Solomon. King David had been a man of war, but King Solomon was a man of peace and under his rule, Israel experienced unequaled prosperity, though he burdened his people with heavy taxes. When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam ascended to the throne of the kingdom of Israel, the third in the Davidic dynasty. When the time came for the tribes of Israel to recognize Rehoboam as their king, he chose to heed the counsel of young and inexperienced advisors. The issue was taxation. Rather than heed the sage advice of the old men that had stood before his father Solomon while he reigned, Rehoboam ignored them. “So the king hearkened not unto the people: for the cause was of God, that the LORD might perform his word.” The result was civil war and a permanent division into two kingdoms, Israel to the north and Judah to the south.[1]

Despite that devastating miscalculation, Rehoboam seemed to recover his footing as a ruler, enjoyed success during his reign, “And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him.”[2] Five years after becoming king, however, “Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the LORD.”[3] Rehoboam was terribly embarrassed by Shishak when he was taken into Egyptian custody, and the Temple in Jerusalem was stripped of its gold. Yet God was merciful to Rehoboam and the people, for “when he humbled himself, the wrath of the LORD turned from him, that he would not destroy him altogether: and also in Judah things went well.” Do not think, however, that Rehoboam was a converted man because of any temporary change. He experienced something akin to a false hope, for as soon as the Egyptians left and his kingdom recovered to a level of material prosperity, he went back to his old wicked ways. The cause of this dog returning to its vomit? It can be found in Second Chronicles 12.14, where we read, “And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.”

Ever wonder why a sinner will experience affliction of some kind, either because of adversities in life or because of conviction coming from strong gospel preaching, and seem to improve his life before going back to his old wicked ways, with hardly any concern about his sins against God? This is referred to by some as a fox hole conversion, owing to the number of soldiers who promised God while fearing for their lives in combat that if they ever got out of their dangerous predicament they would surely honor Him. Of course, it rarely happens. Perhaps you have experienced something like this. Have you come under serious concern for your soul and humbled yourself before God in some way, perhaps even claiming to have trusted Jesus, only to find that when things improved in your life you reverted to your old ways?

You are like Rehoboam in that you prepared not your heart to seek the LORD. I want to address that omission this evening, in three particulars:

 

First, THE PRINCIPLE OF PREPAREDNESS

 

Who would deny the principle of preparedness everywhere in life? Yet we find our entire nation bogged down by entitlements that are promised to people who have refused to prepare themselves for life. A petulant child refuses to do her homework in junior high school, is socially promoted through high school, graduates with no skills for living or for working, and spends her adult life living off the taxpayer’s money. Yet I am supposed to take care of this negative example of the principle of preparedness, which is unable to take care of herself in middle age because she has never prepared herself?

 

My friends, there is a principle of preparedness:

 

We see the principle of preparedness taught by the light of nature. Do not bears and penguins prepare for winter by eating as much as they can when food is available so they can survive the cold winter when food is scarce? Do not birds and butterflies migrate south to warmer regions while there is time, as their particular means of preparing for survival in winter? Beavers build dams in streams so the backed up water will be deep enough for their safety and survival from predators in the winter, when the surface is frozen solid. Though they are famous for forgetting where they hide some of them, squirrels prepare by hiding nuts everywhere so they will have food available for the cold winters that lie ahead. Throughout nature we see that preparation is necessary for survival, and those who do not survive are those who did not prepare at all, or did not prepare well enough. Do not think that preparation is not just as necessary in the spiritual realm.

We see the principle of preparedness taught by the successes of men. Who has not heard the saying, “He who fails to prepare prepares to fail”? In all human endeavors, success is in great measure determined not by intelligence, not by ability, and not by anything called luck, but by preparation. Successful football coaches are coaches who prepare to succeed, by preparing to recruit players, by preparing to practice their players, by preparing the game plan for their players to execute, and by preparing for every eventuality during the course of a season or a game. In the world of business, those who are best prepared are in a position to react properly to a set of competitive circumstances that result in success in the market place. Sam Walton prepared to succeed, and his preparation propelled Wal-Mart to world dominance in the retail industry. In like manner, men such as Buffet, Slim, Gates and Jobs are men who were first prepared to succeed in their professional pursuits. Do you honestly think you have any hope of success in the spiritual realm apart from diligent preparation? My friend the professional painter will tell you that one of the key factors of a job well done in his profession is the proper preparation of the surface that is to be painted. Those who are not painters would be surprised at how little time is spent painting and how much time is spent preparing to paint. Men who succeed are men who are prepared to succeed. Do not tell me that there is an area of life in which proper preparation is not vital to success, because your experience as well as my own tells me otherwise. Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail.

Throughout scripture, we see the principle of preparedness illustrated. When it came time to cross over the Jordan River to enter the Promised Land, “Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel,” to place stones for a memorial of what God had done, before “forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the LORD unto battle, to the plains of Jericho.”[4] How can we explain the usefulness to God of the prophet Ezra? Ezra 7.10 tells us, “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” Do not think it was any different for any other prophet of God. Read the book of Esther sometime, and take note of the number of times specific mention is made how Esther prepared the banquet whereby she exposed evil Haman’s plot against the Jewish people to her husband the king. Consider Proverbs 6.6-11:

 

6      Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:

7      Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,

8      Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

9      How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?

10     Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

11     So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

 

Why will poverty overtake this sluggard? Because of his laziness, he fails to prepare. Now, consider Proverbs 24.30-34:

 

30     I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;

31     And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.

32     Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.

33     Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

34     So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.

 

Again, why will poverty overtake this slothful man? Just as before, because of his laziness he fails to prepare. We could go on and on but for the press of time. Success requires preparation, and the slothfulness that results in the lazy man’s failure to prepare guarantees his failure. What is the lesson that all but the foolish learn from the light of nature, from the successes of men, and from the illustrations of scripture? It is the principle of preparedness. You must prepare to have any reasonable expectation of success in anything, no less with spiritual matters.

 

Next, THE PARABLE OF THE SOILS

 

We do not have the time to fully consider the parable of the soils, which is the most important of all the parables our Lord taught during His earthly ministry. However, I would like you to turn to Matthew 13, so I can point out something very important for your consideration. We read from verse 1.

 

1      The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.

2      And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

3      And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

4      And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

5      Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

6      And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

7      And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

8      But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

 

We know from Christ’s explanation later in the chapter that the first three types of soil mentioned in this parable describe the hearts of those who are not converted, while the final kind of soil, where fruit is brought forth in varying amounts, represents the condition of the believer’s heart and the result of real conversion. Will you take note of the first soil, described as “the way side,” in verse 4? There is next what is called “stony places,” in verse 5. Third, we see soil that is described by the phrase “among thorns,” in verse 7. What do these three types of soils, which Matthew 13.19 shows are different conditions of sinner’s hearts, have in common? None of them is properly prepared. They have not been weeded, they have not been plowed to loosen the soil, and the rocks have not been removed.

Only the final soil, which has been weeded, which has been loosened and broken up by plowing, and which has had the rocks removed, representing the properly prepared heart, is described as “good ground,” and produces fruit as a result of real conversion. The point that I seek to make? Unless your heart is properly prepared to receive God’s Word when it is sown you will not be saved. Do not think you can pay little attention to your own heart and then expect to come to church, hear the gospel, and be saved. It does not work that way. As the soil must be properly prepared to receive the seed that is cast, so your heart must be properly prepared to receive the Word that is preached.

 

Finally, THE PRACTICALITIES OF PREPAREDNESS

 

I can only hope that you see the wisdom of not being like Rehoboam, who “did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.” On the other hand, what do we find concerning those who seek the LORD? In Psalm 9.10, David tells us that the LORD does not forsake them that seek Him. Psalm 10.4 informs us that refusal to seek after God is a matter of one’s pride. Psalm 119.2 shows that those who seek Him with their whole heart will be blessed. In addition, in Isaiah 55.6 we are commanded, “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” To this end, that you might prepare your heart to seek the LORD while He may be found, I offer some very practical necessities. These are no mere suggestions, but requirements.

First, there is the matter of your attitude. You must be humble. Humility is not an option, but a requirement. Salvation is by grace, yet God clearly states in His Word that He resists the proud and gives grace only to the humble, James 4.6 and First Peter 5.5. However, humility is not at all a bad thing, since the eternal Son of the living God humbled Himself. In Philippians 2.8, we are told that Jesus “humbled himself.” What is humility? For the sinner, it is a lowliness of mind acknowledging that you have lost your way, that you are incapable of sorting this matter of salvation out by yourself, that you will never understand or comprehend spiritual truths while you are lost, and that you will surrender your will to another to so that he might guide you to Christ. The Ethiopian eunuch illustrated this attitude in Acts 8.30-31, when he was asked by Philip, “Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me?” It was again illustrated by the Apostle Paul himself, then known as Saul of Tarsus, when he submitted himself to a man named Ananias after his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus. Then, there was the Philippian jailor who asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Acts 16.30. You do not understand spiritual truths, according to First Corinthians 2.14. According to the Savior, you are lost, Luke 19.10: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Without Christ, you are doomed to an eternity in the lake of fire, Matthew 25.41. If you exhibit any humility, you will admit you cannot save yourself or find your way out. If you exhibit any humility, you will recognize that you desperately need Christ. In addition, if you exhibit any humility you will do what you are told in the hopes that Christ might be yours.

Next, there is the matter of your actions. Becoming a Christian is simplicity itself. In Matthew 11.28, Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The difficulty lies with the heart that is unprepared. If you are humble, you will follow these instructions as one who does not think you know better, but realizes that one who is humble follows direction: First, listen to the sermons that are preached and listen to all of them. Gospel sermons are the primary means employed by God to save sinners, and it is a proud man who thinks he can pick and choose which services to attend and which sermons he needs to hear. Second, seek your pastor’s counsel concerning this matter of coming to Christ. Scripture is very clear regarding following the directions of those who watch for your soul, Hebrews 13.7 and 17. To avoid talking to the pastor after a service because people will be aware of what you are doing is a manifestation of pride, and pride will get you nowhere. Third, cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s convicting ministry. The Spirit of God will use God’s Word and preaching to cultivate a spirit of repentance and sorrow for sins. Do not resist. Do not give in to any distractions from people or activities. Do not in any way thwart the Holy Spirit’s ministry of creating in your bosom a seriousness about your guilt and sinfulness. There is a great spiritual conflict raging, with your soul as the prize. The battleground is your mind, and the goal is to influence the desires of your heart. The gospel minister seeks only to guide you to Christ, while the world, the flesh, and the devil seek to interfere, distract, and divert you from coming to Christ. And how will these diversions and distractions work? By means of the unsaved people, you know. My recommendation is that you steer clear of your unsaved acquaintances during these special meetings. In addition to those who are obviously lost, they are easily identified as those who find reasons not to pray with others for you before or after these services. Think about it. Jesus told us that those who are not for Him are against Him, and those who gather not scatter. Therefore, I am suspicious of anyone who claims to be a Christian but who will not gather with the saints to pray for your soul. You should be suspicious, as well. Jesus said, “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household,” Matthew 10.36.

 

Your soul is your soul, my friend. The salvation of your soul should be your chief concern. Yet it is not likely that you will be saved from your sins until you prepare your heart to seek the LORD. Jesus died on the cross of Calvary for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead so that you might be forgiven all your sins. However, sin’s effects on you have so hardened your heart and seared your conscience that you are not receptive to the gospel. Only by preparing your heart to seek the LORD, will you respond with faith believing and be saved.

Romans 10.10 reads, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness.” The parable of the soils clearly shows that different kinds of soils illustrate conditions of a person’s heart, with prepared soil being likened to a prepared heart.

Your attitude must be humility, as evidenced by a teachable spirit. Your actions must be planned. Attend each service, follow your pastor’s counsel, cooperate with the Spirit’s convicting and convincing work, and steer clear of the influence of unsaved people, even if they are members of your own family.

Do not be like Rehoboam, who “prepared not his heart to seek the L


[1] 2 Chronicles 10

[2] 2 Chronicles 12.1

[3] 2 Chronicles 12.2

[4] Joshua 4.4, 13



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org