Tag Archives: Samuel

Into the Heart

I do not think we can picture people as God pictures them because we look only outwardly and He sees the heart. We also look at the person’s present condition, and He looks at what He made them to be—a work-in-progress, a person under construction to be something so much more. He has this beautiful plan but we live with eyes that do not focus on His big plan. Our eyes often focus on ourselves.

When God looked at David, He looked into the heart. He did not see a young shepherd, the smallest in the family. He did not look at David’s current situation, his outward appearance, etc. He knew David’s potential. He knew what was on David’s heart. He chose him to be the next king as a result.

How differently our world would be if we would stop treating people as we initially see them. How different things would be if we spoke encouraging words to people, speaking life into them. Perhaps you know someone who needs to hear some kind words, someone who needs some encouragement. Today is a great day to look at the person as God sees them, instead of how they look to us—and to speak to them as such. Tell them they were made for so much more. Encourage. Uplift. Motivate.

“But GOD told Samuel, ‘Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. GOD judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; GOD looks into the heart.’”
-1 Samuel 16:7 [MSG]

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Bowed in Reverence

We do not always have a great respect for authority but God desires for us to respect people, especially those in a position of authority. God has placed them in the position of authority for a reason. I know I am not going to question His judgment. He has a great plan.

When we look at David and Saul, we see this cat and mouse chase that goes on for years. Time and time again, Saul is trying to kill David. He became obsessed with hunting David down and killing him. This obsession consumed him. But David did not let it turn him away from God.

David had chances to kill Saul. Twice Saul was right within reach but David refused to take his life. He would not kill God’s anointed. Instead he cut Saul’s robe and took the things that were beside his head. David even “fell to his knees and bowed in reverence” before Saul, though Saul was certainly not acting like a man deserving of respect. David showed respect anyway. There are moments when we don’t think someone should be in an authority position, when we do not consider the person deserving, but we must remember this person is in the position for a reason and be respectful despite our personal preference.

“Then David stood at the mouth of the cave and called to Saul, ‘My master! My king!’ Saul looked back. David fell to his knees and bowed in reverence. He called out, ‘Why do you listen to those who say ‘David is out to get you’? This very day with your very own eyes you have seen that just now in the cave GOD put you in my hands. My men wanted me to kill you, but I wouldn’t do it. I told them that I won’t lift a finger against my master—he’s GOD’s anointed. Oh, my father, look at this, look at this piece that I cut from your robe. I could have cut you—killed you!—but I didn’t. Look at the evidence! I’m not against you. I’m no rebel. I haven’t sinned against you, and yet you’re hunting me down to kill me. Let’s decide which of us is in the right. GOD may avenge me, but it is in his hands, not mine. An old proverb says, ‘Evil deeds come from evil people.’ So be assured that my hand won’t touch you.’”
-1 Samuel 24:8-13 [MSG]

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Like Us

Saul did not follow what the Lord had commanded. Samuel told Saul that the kingdom would be taken from him as a result of his disobedience. Saul was hoping that he could get his status to change and as Samuel turned to leave, he reached out and grabbed at Samuel’s robe which ended up tearing. Samuel then told Saul that God doesn’t lie and He will not change His mind. He is not human!

We are all self-centered to a degree. When we are born we have a long period of time where it is all about self gratification. Then we go through a “me phase.” The toys are “mine.” We get older but things do not change where we are suddenly all focused elsewhere and not on self. When there is a group photo taken of your class, your family, your team—who do you look for on that photo? You look for you. In the same way, as you read a book, you have YOUR own perspective that you have while reading. We relate to books about things that we are interested in—things that mean something to us. If I was given a book on auto mechanics or a book on crocheting, I would not even open the book. I would donate it to the library and never see it again.

There is a danger when we consider God as a human. Yes Jesus walked the earth as a human; however, we need to be cautious when we are reading Scripture and when we were going about life, that we do not consider God as a human. There is a tendency to want to consider Him like us. If we can make Him like us—we can change His mind to do what we want Him to do for us.

“And he who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will he change his mind, for he is not human that he should change his mind!” – 1 Samuel 15:29 [NLT]

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The Lord Remembered

Hannah was without a child, and that was something most people considered as a punishment from God. Verse 6 even mentions how Peninnah was provoking Hannah because she was childless. Hannah did not lose hope. She poured out her heart to God. To Eli she said, “I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD” (v. 15 NLT).

In verse 19 it says that “the LORD remembered.” The Lord remembered Hannah. He remembered her plea. She eventually bore a son, Samuel, and dedicated him to service to the Lord.

The Lord remembered Hannah and the Lord remembers you too. There are moments when we feel forgotten. Family members, friends, schoolmates, teammates, neighbors, church members, etc. forget us at times. There are moments that can feel very lonely. Just remember that the Lord always remembers. There is not a second that you are forgotten. You are always remembered by the Lord. Always.

 “The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the LORD once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the LORD remembered her plea.” – 1 Samuel 1:19 [NLT]

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Hiding in the Baggage

After Samuel poured the oil over Saul’s head to anoint him as the Lord had instructed, something happened to Saul—he went missing. When they asked the Lord where he was, the Lord pointed out that he was “hiding among the baggage.” He was hiding. Other versions say he had “hidden himself among the supplies.” Either way you read it, this man who was head taller than everyone was found hiding.

We each have a calling upon our lives and there are moments when we want to hide. Perhaps you are hiding right now. Some people do not want to obey because it would require sacrifice. Some people do not feel qualified to do what God has called them to do in life. Some people are hiding because they believe they have a better plan. There are so many reasons people hide. Fear. Pride. The list is extensive.

Today is a great day to ask yourself if you are hiding, and if you are hiding, from what are you hiding? If God has called you to do something, He will give you everything you need to get it done. Today, get out of the baggage and rise to greater heights through Christ Jesus.

“So they asked the LORD, ‘Where is he?’ And the LORD replied, ‘He is hiding among the baggage.’ “– 1 Samuel 10:22 [NLT]

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Sacrifice or Obedience

Saul was awaiting the arrival of Samuel so that he could consult with the Lord for battle. Samuel was late in arriving so Saul decided to take things into his own hands. His men were starting to get antsy so he felt he needed to do something. Instead of waiting for Samuel to present to the Lord the burnt offering, Saul offered it up. This was not something he was supposed to do – he disobeyed the Lord’s commands.

When Samuel arrived later, he asked what Saul had done. Saul painted a portrait of some of his men leaving and said he felt “compelled” to offer the burnt offering. Compelled means “forced.” He broke the Lord’s command (disobedience) so as to present a sacrifice to seek the Lord’s favor. Saul did not understand that God desires obedience over sacrifice. We should do both; however, if you are not obeying then is your heart really in the sacrifice?

Obedience is not a word we enjoy. It requires that we follow commands. There are some commands that are to protect us, to help us, etc. There are some commands that we are given to guide us in treating the Lord God as holy. Today is a good day to remember that God is holy. We serve a holy God. Our God desires obedience before sacrifice.

“He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, ‘Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.’ And Saul offered up the burnt offering.” – 1 Samuel 13:8-9 [NLT]

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Away with the Noise

“Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.” – Amos 5:23 [NIV]

This verse probably is not one that could be found on an inspirational Christian verse card to be given away as a gift to share Jesus. It might be hard to read God saying “away” in regard to the songs you sing. The word “noise” stands out to me, because noise is typically a word we say when we don’t like the sound something makes—when something is troubling us. The car is making a noise so we take it to the shop. The kids are making noise so I cannot hear the person on the telephone. The floorboard is making some noise because it’s out of place. The computer is making a loud noise because it’s been used hard over the years.

So why would God not want the songs we sing to Him? Why would He call our songs noise, as if they are painful to His ears? Like today, the people in Amos’ time thought it was not so bad to sing to God in sinful disobedience. The belief was and still today is that even if we walk in disobedience, that our songs and sacrifices will be sufficient and acceptable.

Yet again and again we read that God desires love and obedience over sacrifices.  We read in 1 Samuel 15:22: “But Samuel replied: ‘Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams’” (NIV).  Hosea 6:6 tells us what God wants: “I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings” (NLT). First we must love and obey, and then we would want to sing praises out of that love. If we have a heart for the Lord, the rest will follow. We sing with noise when we come before Him without a heart devoted for Him, in willful disobedience. He wants you to know Him. He wants to have a relationship with you. He doesn’t want to be a small part of your life—He wants to be your life. Today, are you offering Him you or are you offering Him some noise?

 

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