Jentezen Franklin - Cooling Down Hot Hearts
I want you to look with me in Deuteronomy 16, and when you find 16, go on over to 19, because that's where I am, Deuteronomy chapter 19. "You should separate these cities to yourself in the midst of the land which the Lord will give you as a possession". And Verse 4 says, "And this is the case of the manslayer who flees there, that he may live. Whoever kills his neighbor unintentionally, not having hated him in time past". Verse 6, "Lest the avenger of blood, while his anger..." or some translations, the King James says his heart. "While his anger", or his heart, "is hot, pursue the manslayer and overtake him, because the way is long, and kill him, though he was not deserving of death since he had not hated the victim in time past".
You may be thinking, what in the world is that talking about? Let me explain it real fast. This is God giving instruction to the children of Israel to build sanctuary cities or cities of refuge, where people who were in trouble, who had accidentally, or sometimes intentionally, murdered someone, could run to, and they would be given at least a fair trial. They were called cities of refuge. They started out with three in Israel, and what is astonishing is they ended up, because God said you need more, because there were so many fights, and they even give the illustration in this chapter that I didn't read of why a city of refuge was so important. They give the illustration in that same chapter.
If a man is out chopping wood with his ax, and the ax head flies off and hits someone accidentally in the head, under the Old Testament law, it was an eye for an eye. If you killed someone, you had the right, or their family, their kin, their blood avenger, as the Scripture calls it, had the right to take your life, and even if it was an accident, unless you could get to a city of refuge. And if you could get to a city of refuge, there would be a jury who would hear your case, and if it was decided by these judges that you had accidentally killed somebody in that family, then you could stay in the city of refuge with your family until the high priest died, and when the high priest you came in under died, you could go back to your home and live in peace. And nobody, as the Bible calls them, the blood avengers, could not pay you back for accidentally killing their relative.
That's what was taking place in this story. What caught my attention was, "Lest the avenger of blood pursue the slayer", listen to these words, "while his heart is hot", or his anger is hot, that He's recognizing here that people who are upset don't really ration good. They don't really think things through good. Be careful when you have a hot heart, when you're angry, when somebody does something and your anger and your resentment is so strong. That's a dangerous thing. Just like what happened in Genesis 4, in the first family that ever inhabited this earth: Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. And his heart got hot, or angry, toward his brother, his own brother, Abel.
I mean, there's just the parents and the two boys here, and one of 'em gets in a heated moment. His heart gets hot and angry, and he slays his brother, Abel, in the first family that ever existed! It's family attacking family. So, God saw that this was an issue and they end up, and to me it's pretty profound that they would end up with 42 cities of refuge. Apparently, there were a lot of fights breaking out, a lot of issues that people were having, a lot of arguments that people were having, and if they didn't have enough cities of refuge with three, they then added six, and then God said, add some more, add some more, and they ended up with 42 cities of refuge in jurisdictions and geographical locations where you could run to, because arguments were always breaking out.
I think that this whole scenario of Cain slaying Abel shows us that it's possible, when your heart is hurting and someone has done something to you that has hurt you, or hurt one of your family members, that you can get what the Bible calls a hot heart, or an angry heart. And if you don't deal properly... the Bible didn't say that it's wrong to be angry. The Bible said be angry. That's part of the emotion. We're made in the image of God, and anger is an emotion that God has. So, it's impossible to not get angry. He said, be angry, but sin not. Be angry, but sin not. You can get an angry heart or a hot heart about something, an injustice that happens to you, but we must learn to control our spirits.
Proverbs 14:17 said, "He who is soon angered", or quickly angered, "deals foolishly". The New Living says, "Short-tempered people do foolish things". The TM says, "The hot-headed do things they soon regret". The Amplified said, "He who foams up quickly deals foolishly, and plots and plans his revenge". "He who foams up easily..." listen to what He said. He who foams up quickly will soon do something foolish, and plan and plot his revenge. Proverbs 22 said, "An angry man stirs up fights and devises plots". Now, keep that in mind, and I want to change gears just a little bit. Lean in and listen to what I'm about to tell you.
There was a man by the name of Antonio Stradivarius. He was born in the 1700s and he perfected the craft of making violins. These violins that he made are considered to this day the greatest violins. They can make the most beautiful music of any violin up until this time. He's credited with making 900, I think approximately 900 handmade violins, 960. According to what period in his life that he made these violins determines the value of these 960, and some of them have been lost in different ways, so they only think that there's around 500 that are still in existence.
The first period of Antonio Stradivarius' life was called the long period, and it was the time between the 1700 to 1725, and if you have a violin that was made in the long period of his life, that's when he was first starting out. The cheapest one would be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Recently, one of them that was said to have been played by a general to Napoleon around the campfires as he was conquering the world, it recently sold for $3.6 million. But, there is another period of his life called the golden period. It's later in his life, that if you have a violin that was made during that time, you are really in a good place and you don't know it. Maybe you picked it up at a garage sale and you don't even know you have a Stradivarius. But in 2014, Sotheby's auctioneer company had a Stradivarius violin. That starting bid began at $45 million.
So, bear that in mind. That's a pretty valuable treasure. This is a story that I heard a minister share, that I'm about to share with you, about a minister friend of his that saw a Stradivarius that a woman in his church owned. She was an elderly lady. She was wealthy, but not extremely rich. She lived just kind of a normal life, but she was wealthy because she owned one thing, a Stradivarius violin. And she decided to downsize. She was a senior citizen and decided to downsize due to her age, and she was selling her house, and she kept calling her kids. I think they said she had two sons and a daughter, and they were grown now and lived in the same town, and she kept calling them, saying, will you please help me move, will you please help me move?
And she had some health challenges and so on. Please, and they would ignore her, and they never had time for her, and they would never help her, and she even changed the date several times when they said they would, and they didn't show up, and they rarely contacted her, rarely checked in with her. And finally, she got her friend to help her pack everything, moved everything herself out into a smaller home in the country, and she had a big yard sale with all of the stuff that she could get rid of, and everything that didn't sell, because she was in the country, she had a big bonfire, and she lit the bonfire in her backyard. And then she took the cell phone and she handed it to her best friend that had helped her, and she was an elderly person. And she said, I want you to film this, True story.
So, the bonfire is behind her, and she's standing there with the Stradivarius violin, and they weren't sure how much this one was worth, but it was certainly worth hundreds of thousands, probably millions. And while her friend is filming her on the cell phone, she says, "This is for my sons and my daughter that would not help me and didn't seem to care much about me. She went on to say, the only thing you seem to really care about is the Stradivarius violin that I own. You never call and ask about your mother, but you often inquire about the violin. So, enjoy your inheritance". And she took the Stradivarius violin and threw it into the bonfire, and then had the camera go close up as it burst into flames, the strings are popping, and can you imagine how those children felt as they're watching millions go up in smoke? Wow! Can you imagine?
Now, there's a couple of morals to this story. Number one, always be sweet and helpful to your mother. Number one, always! Let's learn something today! You came to church to learn something, didn't you? Turn to somebody and say, always treat your mama right. The second moral of this story is be careful what you throw into the flames of anger and resentment. I don't care how hot your heart gets! I mean, I know she was mad at these kids, but she could have sold it and gave a tremendous gift to Free Chapel, and we could have done so much with it for the Lord that I'm dreaming to do. But, think about what I'm saying.
This is a true story. She, in her anger and resentment, burned one of the treasures of the earth. The definition of anger is "strong feelings of belligerence, aroused by real or supposed wrong". Anger means indignation, rage, fury, deep feelings aroused by injustice, violent impulse to retaliate. Another term would be "temporary insanity", in this case. Resentment is anger that sticks around, even after the heart has cooled down. Resentment is bitterness, ill-will, ill-feeling, irritation, a grudge, animosity, rancor. We would call it, "bad blood", "a chip on your shoulder". These are the emotions that Jesus taught we must resist, we must not allow to take root in our lives.
When I think of the Bible, it's a story, a people who burned the greatest treasure. When Cain took that weapon and slew his brother in a field, in a fit of anger, and hostility, and they had some kind offense (we don't know what was). We know that he was jealous because his brother offered an acceptable sacrifice and God didn't accept his, and he slew his brother, and when he did, he burned the Stradivarius. What he threw into the fire in the peak of his anger, was tremendous. There was a blessing that was in that family, but he threw it in the fire, and brought a curse, and he was marked with a mark on his physical body, as a sign: "This guy has gone from being under the blessing of a family, to the curse of family, because he threw the greatest treasure, his own flesh and blood, into the fire".
Haman was filled, in the Book of Esther, with indignation toward Mordecai. Everybody bowed down when he rode through, except Mordecai. And Mordecai said, I only bow to Jehovah God, and when he would not bow, this rage, this hot anger got a hold of the heart of Haman, this evil man, and he built a gallow, a hanging place where you would hang somebody by the neck. Your Bible said it was 75 feet tall! That's higher than that ceiling, 75 feet tall! And he built it not knowing that Mordecai was the uncle of the wife of the king, and when the king heard what he was trying to do to his own kin, he said, you're not going to do that. And he hung Haman in the 75 foot gallow that he meant to hang Mordecai, the Jew. Not only did he hang him, but ten of his sons were hung.
What did that man do in a fit of anger? All he had to do: everybody was bowing, it was just one that wasn't bowing. Why are you getting crazy? Why are you letting anger get a hold of you? Haman, calm down! What are you doing? He was throwing the greatest treasure, his children, his family, his position, everything, into the fire over anger, and bitterness, and resentment. He burned the violin. You'll pay too much if you let unforgiveness and hatred... I wonder how many of you right now, what I'm saying to you, is our families are our greatest treasure! Our families are more valuable than a Stradivarius violin! And how many times, over arguments and over silly things sometimes, and sometimes serious things, but still, you don't throw them into the fire.
That's the thing that Cherise and I had to deal with when we went through things with our children, was they hurt us. They did things that offended us, and we had to make a choice. Are we going to throw them into the fire and just cut them off and be done with them, or are we going to see this is still a treasure, and God, they need our love, they need our forgiveness, they need us to be the parents that you want us to be.
Nebuchadnezzar built an image and he said, everybody bow down when the music plays. And the Bible said three of his closest counselors, the Bible said he leaned on them, they were ten times brighter, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they were his inside counselors. They were making him famous and rich, and he would ask them the hard questions, and they had answers. But when he saw them not bowing down to his command, he brought them before him and he said, you either bow or you will burn! I'm about to throw you three Stradivarius violins into the furnace. And they said, O king, we respect you, but we don't bow to anybody but our God. And then they said something powerful. They said, our God can deliver us, but if not, He's still God and we'd rather burn than bow.
Isn't that powerful? And the Bible said, he said, in a fit of anger, he needs them! They have been a tremendous asset to his kingdom, but in a fit of anger, he's having a falling out. His temper's out of control. His pride and his ego is out of control, and he's trying to throw these three treasures to the kingdom into the fire of anger and resentment. And the Bible said he said, heat the furnace up seven times hotter. And the guards got consumed when they opened the door, but those three Hebrew boys walked right into the fire, but they didn't burn. As a matter of fact, there wasn't even a singe of smoke, the smell of smoke, on them. They're in there, they're in a hot place, but they're cool in a hot place. They kept their cool in the furnace.
I tell you, when you are growing and maturing is when you can get in a furnace or a hot place, but you are the one that can keep your cool. And the Bible said they kept their cool even though they were in the furnace, and they started walking around, and the king looked in and he said, how many did we put in there, and they said, we put three. He said, I see four, and the fourth looks like the Son of God. Please come out of there! I'm sorry, I made a mistake! They're cool in the furnace!
Turn to somebody and say, be cool in the furnace! Anybody can blow up! Anybody can cuss them out! Anybody can get in a fight! Anybody can give them as good as they... Anybody can go after vengeance. But, wise people are cool in the furnace. You know how many people are in prison, off of one unguarded moment? You know how many people have messed their life up, because in a moment's time, something happened? When we understand that we've got to control our spirit, not burn and destroy our greatest treasures.
I believe that as parents, sometimes we have to decide that we're gonna love our children no matter what, that if they, you know, at some point, they're no longer in your house. They're at the age of accountability. They're 17 to 18, 18 and they could go out legally and do what they want to do. At that point, if they're gonna to live that life, we can just throw them in the furnace and say I'm done with them, and that's the tendency, where they're not living right, and I didn't raise them that way. Don't throw your greatest treasure in the fire! Stay in their life. I don't care what they're doing. I don't care how they're living. You stay in their life. Presence is everything!
Well, I'm afraid if I stay in their life, they'll think I'm okay with what they're doing. They're gonna do it anyhow! So, why not stay in there and love them? Our homes are our Stradivarius. Our marriages are our greatest treasure. Don't throw that husband in the fire! Don't throw that wife in the fire! Don't just, I'm done, I'm through with it. See, control your spirit. And to control your spirit is to control your words. I don't wanna burn the Stradivarius' in my life, my greatest treasures... And, I can't be responsible for what somebody else does, but I can be responsible for my reaction and what I do.