The religious heart

June 07, 2018
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." - 1 SAMUEL 16:7

“Here comes the judge!” The excitement must have surged through Bethlehem, a backwater that perhaps didn’t see much of Israel’s leaders. But Samuel was coming to town, and it was a day for confetti and speeches. People begin wondering why Judge Samuel is coming. One fellow says to another, “I told you not to sell that worthless lot to the poor widow; now the judge is coming to straighten you out!” Others squirm at their dishonest dealings, sure Samuel has come to bring them to court.

Samuel arrives to fanfare. “Why have you come to our fair city?” The prophet replies, “I have come to sacrifice.” A sweeping sigh of relief rises. “Whew! He’s come for religious reasons, not to meddle with our personal lives and secret dealings.” Samuel has actually come to Bethlehem to seek the Lord’s man to replace failed King Saul.

People may think a little religion is good, as long as it doesn’t stick its nose into their business. But God goes deeper than that: He looks into the very heart. When God searches young David’s heart, it’s not for the purpose of exposing his weaknesses, but his promise and potential. If the religious types at Bethlehem had understood that, they would all have climbed up on God’s examining table!

Ask the Holy Spirit to sharpen your discernment in recognizing the potential in people, especially in your spouse, children or others whom you can encourage.