As we kick off 2018, I have to ask, “How’s your heart?”
Lately, I have been reading about Israel’s last judge, Samuel. He sat as judge during a time of transition. Israel decided it no longer wanted a judge (really God) to rule over them. Rather, they wanted a king. It was Samuel’s job to find and anoint the new king.
The first king God chose for Israel was “an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites – a head taller than any of the others” (1 Samuel 9:2). His name was Saul. For a time, God’s favor was with him and paved the way for Saul to have a good reputation among the people. God, also, helped Saul have success over Israel’s enemy of that day, the Philistines. Yet, before too long, Saul was told that the kingdom would be torn from his hands – that God had rejected him as king (1 Samuel 15:26).
Time for Samuel to go find the next king.
God leads Samuel to the home of a man named Jesse. It would be one of his many sons who would next take the throne. Samuel sees Eliab and thinks to himself, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord” (1 Samuel 16:6).
Saul had been an impressive looking man – a man’s man, so to speak. So, there must have been something very impressive and masculine about Eliab, as well. Samuel saw in him something that would be attractive to the people. However, God quickly halted Samuel in his flawed thinking.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” ~1 Samuel 16:7
Saul was someone who, when judged by appearances, would be a strong leader for Israel. Yet, look where that ended up. The kingdom was ripped from his hands because of his disobedience and his pride (1 Samuel 15:22-23). God wanted something a little different this time.
So, Jesse’s sons are all brought before Samuel. Not one of them was chosen. Finally, David is brought in from the fields. The youngest, according to their culture would be last in line for inheritance or anything significant. Yet, this would be the one. By appearance and custom, this would not be the natural choice. Yet, God chose him. God saw what they couldn’t see. He saw someone who’s heart was devoted to him.
I’m so thankful that He judges us by our hearts, rather than our ability. Well, at least most of the time. Let’s face it. Sometimes, my heart is a little off base. Occasionally, I need an attitude adjustment. Can I get an “Amen?” Are you with me on this?
Even though our hearts are not yet perfect, I know that God will keep working in us to change them into His image. How do I know that? Simple – it’s in His word . . .
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 1:6
So, as you make resolutions to better yourself on this New Year’s Day, I encourage you to focus on what really matters – the heart. Turn your hearts towards Him and what He wants! You WILL be blessed!