A Matter of the Heart

John Daly isn’t a follower of Christ but he was extremely nice and gracious to me and everyone else during this wonderful round of golf.  Plus, he was a lot of fun. John, I’m praying for you.

Let’s Get to the Heart of the Matter

I Samuel 13

Saul was King for forty years but there’s not a lot written about his reign. So, this chapter serves as a summary. Saul becomes fearful as the Philistines mount an attack and he takes things into his own hands, disobeys Samuel and makes sacrifices to God himself. Now as I read this chapter, it doesn’t seem to me that Saul did such a terrible thing but Samuel scolds him and tells him “you have acted foolishly, you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, now your kingdom will not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him (David) as ruler over His people, because you (Saul) have not kept what the Lord commanded you,” v13,14.

Actions vs. Intent

This has always been a little confusing to me; Samuel seems to be fearful and is presumptuous in performing a sacrifice that was supposed to be done by Samuel.  Not good but on the other hand, when David becomes king, he singles out a woman from his people, abuses his power and violates her sexually, she becomes pregnant and then he has her husband executed in the front lines of battle. But David is the one who has a heart for God???  I have a hard time rationalizes this reality. But there must be something at the “heart” of the issue that is starkly different. Part of the answer is a couple chapters forward in I Samuel 16:7 when God tells Samuel, “for God sees not as man sees, for a man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.”  Yes, when I contrast the actions of Saul and David (to the extent I can read about them in scripture), on the appearance of things, David is a worst man than Saul. But God knows and see something that we often can’t see; the heart, the motives, the intent. It just dawned on me that one possible indication of the heart is one’s response to their own sin and failures. In this chapter, when Samuel confronts Saul, there’s no mention of his response or repentance. Later in 2 Samuel when Nathan the priest confronts David with his grievous sins, David weeps in great remorse and repentance.

We see the outside but God sees the heart

Perhaps we look at the appearance of sin in others and judge them by our standard of the level of sin. Bad sins and not-so-bad sins. Maybe we rank them on a scale of 1-10. Perhaps God see’s through all of that and views all sin as grievous sin. What matters is the heart to love Him, obey Him and when we fail (as we will in varying levels) regardless of the level of sin, we acknowledge our disobedience, we don’t hide it or make excuses; we repent, seek restoration and follow Him. Lord, today deal with us at the heart level; deep inside us. Turn our hearts toward You and cause us to be people who seek after you with all our hearts. Amen.