How we responded to our earthly father can carry over into our relationship with our heavenly Father. What was your heart-response when your dad called your name? Did you immediately stop what you were doing and joyfully go to him? Did you drag out your response? Did you hide?

What did Adam and Eve do when God called out to them? They hid. I want to go back to Moses, Samuel, and Isaiah. Moses was reluctant. He gave the Lord excuses when the Lord called him. Isaiah’s heart-response was quick and open. Samuel, once Eli taught him what to do, was waiting and ready.

Hebrews 3:12 says, “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.” I want to peer into this word ‘depart’ and bring another facet of understanding. We depart in our heart, though not move away physically. Psalm 119:10 says, “With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments.” Wander in this verse means to go astray. 

Isaiah 53:6 calls us sheep. It says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way…” That is why sheep need a shepherd to lead them. If they are left to their natural ways, they will wander and indiscriminately eat weeds that could poison them.

The Lord is our Shepherd, and He uses the rod of His word to lead, instruct, and protect us. Ezekiel 20:37 was written about Israel. We can make a personal application. It says, “I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant.” Think of when we read God’s word daily as symbolizing this verse.

I imagine the shepherd looks for anything that would be irritating his sheep. He carefully inspects them. A tick burrows under the skin. An attentive shepherd would feel that bump. Our Shepherd looks for things that have burrowed into our heart. Tick-lies can burrow in undetected by us. Nothing is hidden from the Lord. As we pass under His rod, He inspects our heart through conviction.

Does what you read affect your heart? When the Holy Spirit highlights a word or phrase, do you immediately stop, or continue on? Proverbs 24:30-34 was written about a young man who had no understanding. Let’s apply it this way: he neglected his vineyard-heart. Verse 31 says, “And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; its stone wall was broken down.”

Mark 4 described thorns this way. Verse 19 says, “And the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” These three ‘thorns’ are tick-lies that will cause us to wander off God’s chosen path for us. Psalm 119:9 asked the question of how we can cleanse our ways. The answer, “…by taking heed according to Your word.” Let us read for understanding and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the tick-lies that are tormenting our spirit.

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