As the king passed by, the prophet cried out, “I was brought into the thick of battle; and there was a man who came over and brought a man to me, and said, Guard this man; if by any means he is missing, your life shall be for his life, or else you will pay a talent of silver. While your servant was busy here and there, he was gone.” The King of Israel said to him, “So shall your judgment be; you yourself have decided it” (1 Kings 20:39-40).
See Also Acts 2:40; 1 John 5:21; 1 Corinthians 10:13
The request was simple. During the battle, this prophet’s only responsibility was to guard a prisoner. But as the battle raged on, the prophet got busy, concerned with other matters, and before he knew it the prisoner was gone. “Guard this man,” he was told. The King James uses the term “keep this man.” The word keep means “to hedge in with thorns, to set perimeters and boundaries around.” More importantly, the prophet was told if the man went missing, “your life shall be for his life.”
Our battlefield is the world we live in and the skirmishes we experience day-by-day in our hearts and minds. Just as the battlefield is noisy, so is our world; busy here, busy there; this has to be done, that has to be done. Then, as days turn into weeks, your focus on what matters most gets lost in the cares of the day. It starts slowly at first but soon you lose focus on what you are supposed to guard with your life … your relationship with Jesus.
Your one charge in the midst of your warfare with the world is to guard this relationship. Do not get distracted with this world, because if you do, you will lose this relationship, and you will lose yourself. It starts off small and slow and then gradually, if you are not careful, the drift will pick up steam. Before you know it, you are thinking less and less about that relationship and focusing on worldly pursuits and pleasures. You are to guard who you are and your relationship with your Lord and Savior above all.
How Do We Lose Focus on Our Number One Responsibility?
1. Busyness: Too many distractions and hindrances in life.
2. Focus: We focus more on our flesh than our spirit. Your flesh cannot be trusted. Paul said, “There’s no good thing in my flesh” (Romans 7:18).
3. Complacency: We become less passionate about the Word and even church attendance in the “in-between” times … Monday through Saturday. It’s work, pay bills, do life. Before you know it, Sunday will be just another day.
4. Prayerless: We don’t pray. We don’t keep Him holy, we don’t keep our hearts and eyes pure, and we don’t keep the Spirit pure.
How Do We Get Back Our Number One Responsibility?
1. Praise and Worship: Keep worshiping and praising God.
2. Congregate: Keep going to church and be obedient to the Word.
3. The Word: Keep immersing yourself in the Word of God by reading and studying the Bible every day.
4. Giving: Keep paying your tithes and offerings.
- Are there times where you have forgotten to guard your relationship with Jesus?
- What did you do about it when you realized you were drifting away from what mattered most?
- How are you going to take your number one responsibility to a whole new level today?
- What are three things you can begin to do today to strengthen the one thing you have been called to guard with YOUR life?
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. But God is faithful. He will not allow the temptations to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure (1 Cor. 10:13).
The Bible also reminds us to keep away from anything that might take God’s place in our heart (1 John 5:21). The King is coming back soon, and when He does, He will ask if you guarded the one thing He said to guard with YOUR life. The scriptures of 1 Kings are a reminder to us to stand for God and to remember that with disobedience come painful and serious consequences. Stay clean before God. Hedge Him in—and your obedience will be well rewarded.