Today’s Readings: 1 Samuel 16 & Revelation 6
The words come out sounding positive and encouraging, and you work hard to make sure facial expressions and body language match the conversation BUT …. the mind is having it’s own conversation that’s totally different or the exact opposite to any external expression. Have you found yourself in this situation? If I’m honest, I know I have …
Or the times when we might compromise on the task at hand or what’s been asked of us, and of course, there’s always the excuse as to why …..
Of course there will naturally be times when we have to work hard at being gracious, doing things we may not necessarily feel like doing; yes, we all have down days when we need to work really hard at keeping the peace; and yes there are times and people where ‘extra grace’ is required …. and absolutely yes, none of us are exempt from being the person who others are having to work hard at being gracious too!
In 1 Samuel 15, we have just finished reading about the downfall of Saul, who’s actions with God and decisions revealed his stubborn and self-centred heart. God had responded to the call of His people for a King, and appointed Saul. It wasn’t long before Saul’s weakness in leadership is revealed, as he fails to rely fully on God, by rejecting God’s leading.
So what was God seeking? There’s no missing the point with the words spoken to Samuel as he follows God’s new direction to find another to fill the role of King.
‘The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ 1 Samuel 16:7b
How easy it is to judge people by outward appearance; both physical and behavioural, but in so many situations, do we ever really know the person? … unless of course you share a household with them. There’s a book by well-known writer Bill Hybles, Who Are You When No One’s Looking: Choosing Consistency, Resisting Compromise. If you are a reader, can I encourage you to source it out, as Bill provides great encouragement through personal experience and the importance of drawing on scripture and the promises of God in how we should live.
In the words of the Publisher’s Summary, ‘We are all at our best when it counts. But what are we like when no one’s looking? That’s where character comes in – being consistent even when it doesn’t seem to matter. Courage. Discipline. Vision. Endurance. Love. These character qualities are quickly becoming endangered. All too often we hear of marriages falling apart, governments lying, businesses cheating and scandals rocking the church. But with God’s guidance and strength, we can maintain character that lasts despite temptations and troubles.
We also know we worship a God that when we do fail – and we will – we can seek His forgiveness, as we forgive others and seek their forgiveness. My prayer … that I will continue to grow in my faith, and as I do,it will be evident to others. But more than this, when God looks as me; looks deep into my heart, my prayer is that He will see a women with a heart’s desire and commitment to be what He intended for me!
I know I have often quoted the following passage, but it’s one of the significant verses I often turn to when I reflect on my life and what God desires of me.
‘And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and walk humbly with your God.’ Micah 6:8