1 Samuel

Lord's Eyes

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You’re probably familiar with the phrase, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”. For those who aren’t, it means that a person’s outward appearance may not accurately reflect who they really are. So, we shouldn’t make blanket assumptions based only on visual cues. I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of doing this quite often. If someone is well-dress, well-groomed, and wearing glasses, I assume that person is intelligent. If someone is well-muscled and tall, I assume they are into sports. And if someone is unusually attractive, I assume they are popular. Most of us make snap judgments based on the appearance of others. Sometimes we are right and many times we are wrong. Samuel made that mistake when considering who God might anoint as the next king. After king Saul was rejected, God sent the prophet, Samuel, to the house of Jesse. God had in mind one of his sons to be the next king. Then it says in first Samuel, chapter 16, verses 6 and 7:

“When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.’ 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.’”

Saul looked like he would be a great leader. The Bible described him as, “an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites - a head taller than any of the others.” He looked impressive. But only a few chapters later God rejected him as king because of his disobedience. David, who God chose to replace Saul, is later described as a man after God’s heart. He didn’t look as impressive as Saul, but as it says in first Samuel, “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” If we are to reflect the character of God, we should look at the heart as well. It may take us a little longer than it takes God to discern the heart of a person, but the Bible teaches us that we can judge a person by their fruit. We will know where a person’s heart is if we listen to what comes out of their mouth and examine what kind of fruit they are bearing - or what kind of results are born from their actions. So I encourage you not to judge a book by it’s cover. Give everyone a chance to show you what is in their heart. It might surprise you who God may use to do great things.  

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David is described, in first Samuel, as a ruddy young man with a fine appearance and handsome features. Though these are nice attributes, they aren’t necessarily features one might associate with a great king. But David proved to be a great king in the eyes of his people and in the eyes of God. Why? Because, “the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” How is your heart today? What kind of fruit are you producing? Are you producing any fruit at all? God doesn’t really care if you are impressive to men. What gets God’s attention is your heart. Let us all pursue getting God’s attention like David did. Let us all be people after God’s own heart.

Bold Trust

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There is a level of trust that many believers have in the Lord. We trust the promises of his word. We trust that he will hear our prayers. And we trust that he loves us in spite of our sinful nature. But there is a trust that goes beyond the normal; one that extends our faith beyond what is typical as we lean hard on our faith and believe in the mighty power of the God we serve. Mature believers understand that there are times when our trust in God must be bold, where we are to lay everything on the line not faltering and not doubting, but believing with everything that is within us that God will hear us and answer us in our time of need. We understand that there are times when we are to respond like David did in first Samuel, chapter 17, verses 45 through 47, which says:

“David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.’”

Against insurmountable odds, and against an adversary that if operating in the flesh would’ve certainly destroyed David, he stretched his faith and placed his trust in God in a way that few would. Even though the eyes of the Israelites saw certain defeat at the hands of the giant, David knew the God he served and boldly trusted him to win the day. There was no doubt in his heart when he challenged Goliath. And if there was fear, his words did not reflect it. It was almost as if David knew something that no one else there did; as if his faith was at a level that defied their understanding. When we are met with insurmountable odds, and are faced with an enemy that clearly pits itself against God or his plans for our life, we should have the same boldness that David did. He spoke boldly with faith that didn’t waver, and we should too.

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Earlier in first Samuel, God exalts David as a “man after his own heart”, partially because of David’s bold trust in him. We serve an all-powerful God through whom there is nothing that can’t be accomplished. If God is for us, who can be against us? Sometimes we forget who God is. Sometimes, like Peter, we take our eyes off of him and notice the waves around us which causes our faith to waver and for us to sink in despair. We need to be like David, and trust God beyond human reason. We need to remember the God we serve; a God who created everything and has control over everything. Though we may not experience miracles on a daily basis, we should never forget that the same God of the Bible is alive and well today; that he hears our cries for help and he can literally move heaven and earth to save us. Through him, David slew a giant which ultimately led to the defeat of the Philistines. What do you think he can do through you if you boldly call upon him in your time of need?