The prophet Amos gave a most startling warning when he said, “prepare to meet thy God.” (Amos 4:12) This indicates that there is some type of preparation that must take place before we are ready to meet our God. It is imperative, then, that we know what this preparation is and how to go about getting prepared.
The Old Testament gives us an account of king Rehoboam. We read, “he did evil, because he prepared 3559 not his heart to 1875 the LORD.” (2 Chronicles 12:14) Rehoboam did evil in the sight of the Lord, because He did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord. If you have not prepared your heart to seek the Lord you will do that which is evil. What does it mean to prepare your heart to seek the Lord?
The Hebrew word that was translated “prepared” means: “to be securely determined.” (Brown-Driver- Brigg’s Hebrew Lexicon) We must make ready and direct our hearts towards seeking God. The Hebrew word that was translated “seek” means: “to seek God in prayer and worship, to practice, to study, to follow, to seek with application, to seek with care.” (Ibid.) We are to have our hearts securely determined to seek the Lord with care, study, prayer and worship.
The prophet Samuel instructed the children of Israel “saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare 3559 your hearts unto the LORD, and serve Him only: and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” (1 Samuel 7:3) If we expect to prepare our hearts to seek God, we must seek Him with all our hearts, and serve Him only. Jesus said, “ (Matthew 6:24)
Joshua spoke very strongly to the Israelites when he said, “choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the L.” (Joshua 24:15) No man can serve two masters. You must choose either to serve God with your whole heart and serve Him only, or serve selfishness and Satan. I say, with Joshua, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Seek God With All Your Heart
We are exhorted to seek God with all our hearts. The Lord said, “ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) If we seek God with all our hearts He will be found of us and He will make known to us His will. “Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will He teach sinners in the way.” (Psalm 25:8) “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.” (Psalm 143:10) If we sincerely seek God with all our hearts and ask Him to show us His will, He will make it known unto us.
Ezra had determined to do the will of God. Whatever it was that was revealed to Him, that is what He was determined to do. “For Ezra had prepared 3559 his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” (Ezra 7:10) This also was the attitude that Elihu had. He said, “That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.” (Job 34:32) The Bible tells us that we need to have the attitude that says, “No matter what it is, if the Lord shows me that it is wrong I will not do it, no matter what.” Can you and I say this today? Have we truly prepared our heart to seek the Lord?
A Lesson from Abraham
Abraham had certainly made this decision. God asked him to do something that would require a great sacrifice on his part, the greatest example of selflessness that can be given. God said, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”(Genesis 22:2)
Abraham did not question the will of God. When God’s will was presented before him he did not hesitate to do it. “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.” (Genesis 22:3) Abraham’s attitude was, “No matter what the circumstances, no matter what the cost, I will give it to please God, because I know that whatever the Lord desires me to do, it is only for my benefit and the benefit of others, so that God’s wonderful plan may be carried out.” Fortunately for Abraham he was saved from completing the awful task that God had asked him to do. The angel of God cried out, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” (Genesis 22:12) God knew that if a man was willing to yield up his only begotten son to Him, that he loved Him with all his heart. Paul wrote concerning God’s love for us, “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
God delivered up His own Son, and we know that if He was willing to do that, then He will not withhold anything good from us. Abraham also was willing to yield up his only son so God knew that he would not withhold anything from Him.
Do you have the kind of love for God that withholds nothing from Him, or do you like to retain certain things for your own pleasure? Paul wrote, “she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” (1 Timothy 5:6) If you are living to serve yourself, the Bible says that you are dead while you live. If you love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, then you will be willing to forsake all for the glory of God.
The Rich Ruler
The eighteenth chapter of Luke gives us a startling account of a man who had not yet come to the point of total surrender. Luke wrote, “a certain ruler asked him [Jesus], saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.” Jesus told this man that if he wanted to inherit eternal life he needed to keep the Ten Commandments. In Matthew’s account of this conversation Jesus said, “if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” Notice how the ruler responded to this information. He said, “All these have I kept from my youth up.” Was this the truth? He obviously thought so. He was claiming that he had never transgressed God’s commandments. Yet the Bible says that “all have sinned…” (Romans 3:23)
“Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. (Luke 18:18-23) The rich ruler claimed to have kept the commandments of God all of his life, but when Christ tested him, to see whether or not he would withhold anything from God, it was shown that he lacked that pure, unselfish love for God.
The rich ruler thought that he was keeping the commandments, but He had neglected the first and greatest commandment, which is to love God with all your heart. He was not keeping the commandments of God, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)
If God revealed to you, right now, that He wanted you to sell all that you have and give to the poor, would you be willing to do it? If God revealed to you that He wanted you to sacrifice your only begotten son, would you do it? This is the kind of unselfish love that God is looking for in His people, especially in these last days. God is preparing a people who will “follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.…” (Revelation 14:4)
Make a Total Surrender to God
In the first few years of Reho- boam’s reign as king, some “out of all the tribes of Israel such as 5414 their hearts to seek the L (2 Chronicles 11:16) The Hebrew word that was translated “set” means this: “to devote, to dedicate, to consecrate, to give over, to commit.” (Ibid.) It is time to completely dedicate ourselves to seek the Lord, and to do those things that He reveals to us. While Asa was king he and the children of Israel “entered into a covenant to seek the L7522 [“will, pleasure” (Ibid.)]; and He was found of them: and the L (2 Chronicles 15:12-15) Seek the Lord with your whole being, give yourself to prayer and dedicate your whole life to God, and He will give you rest. There is no rest that can compare with the rest of knowing that you are in God’s will and that you have committed yourself to Him wholeheartedly.
The Bible speaks of those who have dedicated themselves completely to serving God when it says, “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed 3559 [“prepared” (Ibid.)], trusting in the L[“rest upon, lean against, sustain” (Ibid.)], he shall not be afraid…” (Psalm 112:7,8) Prepare your heart and trust in the Lord, and He will sustain you. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall 3557 [“to support, to nourish” (Ibid.)] thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22)
Solomon gave us some excellent counsel when he wrote, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:6) In everything that we do, we must acknowledge Him. Let all of our thoughts, words, and actions be determined by the knowledge we have of God. Let us always remember that our every decision is being watched and weighed. “Walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9)
Do Not Follow the Example of the Israelites
The history of the Israelites was given so that we would not follow after their example of unbelief. God gave the Israelites counsel to teach their children about what God had done so that they “might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set 3559 [“prepared”] not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.” (Psalms 78:8) The Jews who came out of Egypt and died in the wilderness did not prepare their heart aright. They did not make the firm decision to follow the Lord no matter what. Their spirit was not steadfast with God.
Let your attention and affections be focused on God and His wonderful love for you. Let your love and service to God be out of a pure heart. “Now the end 5056 [“the point aimed at” (Strong’s Greek Lexicon)] of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” (1 Timothy 1:5)
Our duty to God should not be unpleasant to us, but a joy and a delight. “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:8) Let us always have an appreciation for God’s character, and show that appreciation in praise. “Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name [character].” (Hebrews 13:15)
May we always have a joyful heart when following the Lord, for everything that is asked of us to do is for our greatest benefit. “I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee.” (1 Chronicles 29:17, 18)
Let us make the firm decision to do the Lord’s will, not out of fear of punishment, but knowing always that His instructions are the best possible thing that we can do. God knows the end from the beginning and He alone can rightly direct our lives for our highest benefit, and the benefit of others.
“Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6) There is a time coming soon when we may seek Him and He will not be found. Therefore it is imperative to seek Him now while He may be found. God is pleading with us to awake out of sleep and prepare our hearts, for the day of the Lord is at hand. The prophet Amos wrote, “3559 to meet thy God.” (Amos 4:12)
Make that decision right now and settle this issue forever. God’s last-day people will have decided to do His will whatever the cost. God is pleading with us right now to be a part of that number who do God’s will at all times. “ (Zephaniah 3:13) ?