Yesterday when I was wondering the aisles of Target gathering the dozen or so items I didn’t realize I needed until I stepped in the store, I heard a woman offer a stern warning to another.
“Judy, don’t walk off from your cart like that! Don’t you know someone could steal your purse if you leave it in your cart unattended?” !!!
I didn’t bother to look up to see if the two women were mother/daughter, sisters or friends. I was too busy perusing the Mother’s Day cards. But I silently nodded in agreement. I’m one of those gals who may walk away from her cart, but my purse goes with me if I do. I’m vigilant about watching over my purse!
Unfortunately, in the past, I’ve not always been as careful about guarding my heart.
Why We Need to be Vigilant
Did you know we have a mutual enemy who seeks to steal our hearts away? (John 10:10) The enemy can’t steal your soul from the One who holds it like treasure in His hand (John 10:29), but he constantly seeks to divert your affection, attention and allegiance away from God.
Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them.” (Deuteronomy 11:16)
The enemy plots to steal your devotion from the One who is devoted to you. He schemes to tie up your time, energy, thoughts and allegiance with some lesser thing. He gets you obsessed with something good so you miss what is best. And make no mistake about it, he can even make this obsession look good and even noble to others. And he can deceive you by making it feel right and rewarding and somewhat satisfying.
But these feelings are a deception, my friend.
A Lesson From a Page in History
When Absalom desired to take the throne from his father David (2 Samuel 15:1-6), he began by stealing the hearts of the people from their king. As I read this story I realized that our enemy continues to use the same tactics in his efforts to dethrone our King from His rightful place in our lives. And, unfortunately, there have been times I’ve been suckered into shifting my allegiance to lesser things.
Rising early and positioning himself in a place of influence at the palace gates, Absalom would engage the king’s subjects in what seemed like harmless conversations. In fact, the citizens were on their way to appeal to and hear from King David when this enemy of the throne would intercede with “friendly chatter.”
Absalom would call to him and say, ‘From what city are you?'”
Do you ever catch the enemy trying to engage you in conversations in your mind? Especially ones that flatter your ego? Hmm. Me, too. I still struggle with consistently cutting the enemy off at this entry point, but one thing I’ve learned: When thoughts of what I “deserve” enter my mind they are probably not from God.If you need to speak to the King, don't pause to listen to a sneaky snake. Get to the throne! Click To Tweet
Once Absalom had the citizen engaged in cordial chatter, he’d level a one-two-three punch. I often catch the enemy using the same tactics with me. See if this subversive strategy looks familiar to you.
- First Absalom undermined the character and conduct of the King. “Then Absalom would say to him, ‘See, your claims are good and right, but no man listens to you on the part of the king.” (vs. 3) Absalom insinuated that the King didn’t care, wasn’t attentive and couldn’t be bothered. When we begin to doubt God’s goodness, His compassion and His involvement in our lives, we’re listening to the enemy.
- Second Absalom proposed that he could offer more than the King. “Moreover, Absalom would say, ‘Oh that one would appoint me judge in the land, then every man who has any suit or cause could come to me, and I would give him justice.'” (vs. 4) The enemy tried similar tactics in the garden with Eve (and succeeded) and in the desert with Jesus (and failed). Ultimately, the enemy wants you to believe God is holding out on you. But you know He’s not, right? Check out Psalm 16:5-6; Psalm 145:16; and Psalm 103:8.
- Third Absalom fed fleshly desires and egos. “And it happened that when a man came near to prostrate himself before him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him.” (vs. 5) Absalom simply made the citizens feel good. He extended an understanding hand, stroked their egos, touched them tenderly and kissed them compassionately. Our enemy does the same with us when he makes us feel noticed, understood, loved, desired and significant.
And in this manner Absalom dealt with all Israel who came to the king for judgment; so Absalom stole away the hearts of the men of Israel.” (2 Samuel 15:6)Sweet talk is appealing but always sticky. Has the enemy drawn you in w sugarcoated promises? Click To Tweet
Just as the great deceiver sent Absalom to do his bidding at the gates of David’s palace, he continues to send people, positions, pursuits and possessions to lure away our hearts from our King. Through these lesser things he offers us more than he can deliver…and he knows that. But, because we are so like the citizens of Israel, we are often led away by the silky promises, smooth words and soft touch.
How Can I Avoid an Absalom?
Analogies like these in Scripture draw me in because they help me flesh out spiritual dilemmas that otherwise seem beyond my grasp. But just getting a grip on what transpired between Absalom and David’s subjects is not enough to keep me from following suit. I have to figure out how to avoid the slimy but shiny appeal of my tempter.
My bet is that Absalom could not turn the head, much less the heart, of those who knew their king more intimately. Those who avoided Absalom’s syrupy appeal and pressed in to meet their king instead were not disappointed. They heard their king’s heart, listened to his wisdom and heeded his judgments. And as a result their hearts stayed true to him.
Secondly, I imagine there were those who knew Absalom for the sneaky snake he was. They knew he had been disloyal to the king and had, therefore, been thrown out of the palace. He wasn’t in relationship with King David, and so he was bitter, resentful and divisive. While he was allowed to live in Jerusalem, he had made himself an enemy of the king.
The lady in Target knew there are enemies who steal purses out of shopping carts. Therefore, she was vigilant over protecting hers. If we’re fully aware that a persistent enemy seeks to steal our affections from our King, we’ll watch our hearts just as vigilantly.
Sister, don’t wander away from your cart at Target, at least not if it contains your purse…or your child. There are those out there who will steal those precious things from you.
But more importantly, don’t wander away from your God and leave your heart up for grabs. When you focus on your King, the sneaky snake kissing up at the gates…will look like the weasel he really is.
If you realize the enemy has successfully stolen your heart from your King through a person, possession, position or pursuit, you might benefit from my Bible study, Satisfied…at Last! This six-week study helps you identify idols of the heart, tear them down and replace them with a satisfying relationship with the Bread of Life. It’s also available at Amazon.