2 Chronicles 15:17
But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days.
We learn from the text that we cannot always infer the state of the heart from external symptoms.
I. YOU MAY HAVE THE APPEARANCE OF SOMETHING WRONG WHILE THE HEART IS SOUND. This was Asa's case.
II. Conversely you MAY HAVE THE HEART UNSOUND WHILST AS YET THERE IS BUT LITTLE TRACE OF IT IN THE HEART AND LIFE. In tracing this disease, consider —
1. Its working.
(1) The heart's relapse towards positive evil. There is the presentation to the mind of something of some worldly, fleshly things as pleasant and desirable; and then there not having been an immediate curbing of the rising inclination, the thoughts come to dwell with more and more complacency upon the object; and the man begins to wish that it might be lawful to have it, and to cast about and contrive for the modes of possession. And when the inclination has thus been formed and strengthened, it proposes to the understanding whether the enjoyment may not be had without hazard to the soul;and then there will soon be devised something plausible in the shape of an apology or warrant, something that shall serve to put conscience off its guard, or even make it concur in the prosecution of the design.
(2) The heart's decline from the love of godliness and of God.
2. Its symptoms. There was a time when you felt God to be your "chief good" — do you feel Him less so now? There was a time when you delighted in prayer — has it become more of a task now? Once you thought much of the work of Christ and longed to be with Him in heaven — are you now more contented with earth and more disposed to say, "It is good for us to be here"? Once you found sufficient scope for fervent affections in secret communion with God, in meditating on His perfections, and in admiring His love in the gift of His Son — now do your affections seem stifled unless you have some showy work on which to fasten them, some dazzling novelty with which to engage them?
(H. Melvill, B.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days.