But the Lord looks at the heart

Our readings today are 2 Chr 12 and Matt 6:1-4.

2 Chr 12 brings us to the end of three chapters describing Rehoboam’s reign as king. And how does the author sum up 17 years of rule?

And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord (v14)

Rehoboam even get’s a reprieve from being totally destroyed by the Egyptians in verses 6-12 because he and the princes of Israel humbled themselves and acknowledged that “The Lord is righteous”, but at the end of it all his life and reign were summarised as having done evil, because his heart was not set to seek the Lord.

I ask myself how my life would be summarised by the chronicler if it came down to one sentence. Have I set my heart to seek the Lord? What about you?

Matt 6:1-4 talks of reward from God, and of acts done in humility rather than boasting. Is there some sort of divine calculus that says that any good act can only have a set amount of reward, and if you got it from others already, you can’t have any from God? I don’t think God is miserly or stingy; he has no lack of resources; nor does he set a limit on blessing.

Rather, I think God sees behind the action to the motivation. Gifts of generosity done for approval and reputation are motivated by self. Giving to the needy when no one can see is other centred, from a heart that wants to help.

With all the things we could pursue in this life, the approval of others, wealth, pleasure, knowledge, health, perfect appearance, it’s good to remember God’s words to Samuel when he was sent to anoint David as Israel’s king while Saul still reigned…

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. –1 Samuel 16:7

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