David and Bathsheba

The past week and a half we have been following King David, great great great…. grandpa to Jesus. He was victorious in battle, courageous yet meek. He showed loyalty and mercy to King Saul when he had the opportunity and motive to kill him. He displayed a deep love and friendship with Jonathon. He seems to truly seek the Lord and have a heart to follow. He’s a master of poetry and song, able to put words to his swirling thoughts and emotions. 

As we come into 2 Samuel 11, we hit a major turning point. How does this “man after God’s own heart” fall into such sin? It appears to happen slowly over time and also all at once. Just. Like. Us. 

Before Bathsheba, David had married six different women over a period of time – and while this was becoming more acceptable of the time, God did not approve (Deut 17:17). This wasn’t God’s design – He always guides us in ways to help us. His laws are never to limit us, but to save us from separation from him, as well as the the pain and heartache the sin brings. In this case, the sin of polygamy and adultery.

As you read through the story of David and Bathsheba this morning, you can see the opportunities David had to avoid this temptation to sin:

  • He watched her bathing – STOP LOOKING (vs 2)
  • He asked his people to find out who she is – MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS (vs 3)
  • He sent for her to come to him – BACK OFF, YOU KNOW SHE IS MARRIED (vs. 4)
  • He has her in his house – DON’T DO IT! SHE’S NOT YOUR WIFE! (vs 4)

Lust. This self-focused sin is committed by the young and the old, the rich and the poor, male and female.

Once David and Bathsheba commit adultery, it goes downhill from there pretty quickly. Scheming, Lies, Betrayal, Murder. It started with a glance that lasted too long… and ends with how all of sin ends: Displeasing the Lord (verse 27) and consequences (I won’t spoil next week’s journal entries). 

Just like David, being a follow of God doesn’t make me sinless – but it should lead me to sin less. It’s hard to understand how we can walk so closely with the Lord, see fruit of the Spirit in our lives, and then also fall so quickly into sin with big consequences. 

David’s adultery had to break God’s heart – just like it breaks his heart when we sin. And as a parent, how we feel when our own kids struggle with sin. 

What sin patterns can you see in your life? Can you identify what leads up to your sin? For me, it almost always starts with my thoughts. In each season of life, from childhood to now, I can see patterns of sin and how I struggled with different areas. There were seasons of dishonesty, seasons of greed, seasons of lust, seasons of pride, seasons of control.

Sin is really yuck. My sin. David’s sin. Your sin. But we can be more than conquerors through Him that loves us! Whatever sins you are struggling with today, will you join me in:

  • Confessing them to God and ask for forgiveness
  • Seek out what the Word of God says about that sin
  • Write down your trouble/temptation spots and an action plan to avoid them
  • Talk to another believer and build accountability and check points
  • Leverage the power of the Holy Spirit and put on the armor of God through prayer
  • Share your testimony of working through sin! Don’t keep your struggles in darkness. 

As I look back on 38 years, it’s easy to feel like a professional sinner. I’m so thankful for the grace of the most perfect Forgiver.  

The Goodness of God

Psalm 103 is a quick way to get to know God, or if we already know him, it is a great reminder as to who he is and what he does. The Psalm says he:

  • forgives (Psalm 103:3)
  • heals (v3)
  • redeems (v4)
  • crowns (rewards) (v4)
  • satisfies (v5)
  • works righteousness (v6)
  • reveals himself to us (v7)
  • takes action (v7)
  • is merciful (v8, 10)
  • is gracious (v8)
  • is slow to anger (v8)
  • is love (v8)
  • forgives, accepts our repentance (v9, 12)
  • loves us (v11)
  • is compassionate (v13)
  • knows us (v14)
  • rules over all (v19)
  • speaks to us (v20)

Who are we?

As for us, even on our best day we cannot even compare ourselves to all of these attributes. In fact, it is likely that we can read these attributes and recall a very recent time when we were quite the opposite.

Our response is a choice.

The Psalmist calls us to action in response to who God is. Calling us to obey His voice, do His will, and keep His commandments. This reminds me of a recent sermon by Mike Baker at Eastview Christian Church. Pastor Mike said something to the effect of “the reason some people have a problem with Jesus is that he requires us to give up control and submit to Him.”

Would you submit to someone or something you do not know or understand? Probably not. This is why I believe God reveals himself to us in many ways each day: so that we may know him. He does not try to hide from us, he calls out in every moment of every day, seeking to draw us near.

As we go through today, let’s remember who he is, what he has done through his son Jesus, and what he will do. Look for the aforementioned attributes in every situation, the good and the bad. He has always been and always will be. Our circumstances may change but he does not change, he is good, he loves us and he will never leave us.

God’s House

Today’s reading: 1 Chronicles 17

Our text for today in 1 Chronicles 17 opens with King David sitting on the throne.  David had conquered the city of Jerusalem (with God’s help), and was setting it up as a home for God’s people.  After moving into a newly constructed palace, David turned his mind toward building a permanent house (temple) for God.  Even though God hadn’t asked for a temple, why did this seem like something David should do?  Let’s go back to Shelly’s post from 2 Samuel 6 yesterday.  At this point in history, God’s dwelling place was still the Ark of the Covenant.  Yesterday Shelly told us about the tumultuous journey David endured as he led his army in bringing back the Ark from the Philistines.  Even though it was back with God’s people, keep in mind that the Ark, the holy presence of God, was still dwelling in a tent (2 Samuel 6:17).  David knew God deserved better than a tent.  His motive for wanting to build the temple was God-honoring.

However, through the prophet Nathan God let David know he did not approve of his construction plan.  While God certainly intended to have a temple built, he was clear that David was NOT going to be the one to build it.  (See 1 Chronicles 28:3 for why.)  Instead, his son Solomon would be appointed King when David died and would be in charge of building God’s temple.

When your days are over and you go to be with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever (1 Chronicles 17:11-14).

Many years earlier God called David, a lowly shepherd boy, to be King of Israel.  He made him a great warrior and delivered David and his army to countless victories over his enemies.  Until now, David had been the man, God’s chosen one for everything.  When God thwarted his plan for the temple, do you think it stung a little bit?  Do you think it caused David to doubt his leadership abilities or his favor with God?  Was he confronted with his own mortality in a way he had never been before?  Do you think he was envious that a “forever” King would be established after he died?  How would you have responded in that situation?

The second half of 1 Chronicles 17 (verses 16 – 27) outlines David’s response.  It had no shred of envy or self-doubt.  David humbly praised God, thanked him for the years of blessings he bestowed upon David and his family, and affirmed his commitment to what God said to do.  As always, God followed through on his commitment – David’s son Solomon had the honor of building God’s temple.  Twenty-seven generations later, Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah, was born into David’s lineage.

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:30-33).

The kingdom of Jesus Christ is never ending.  He lives in the hearts of those who call him Savior and Lord. Praise his name!

Undignified

Today’s reading is 2 Samuel 6.

David is in the process of transporting the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem so God would bless them as a nation. He was in charge of it, along with 30,000 men. The Ark was sacred and carried with it a lot of rules and expectations for transport and care. It was no joke. The men were aware of this but even in this situation they became a little “loosey goosey” and forgot that there were serious consequences to disobeying. Poor Uzzah, in an attempt to keep the Ark from falling he reached out and touched the Ark. As a result, God struck him dead. Seems a little harsh but they were well aware of the rules and what would happen if they strayed from them….even if well intentioned. This was difficult for David to witness but I think it renewed a sense of awe and fear at the power of God and the rules set forth by Him. Again, it was no joke.

After this, David spent more of his time worshipping and sacrificing while transporting the Ark. He was seeking the Lord while carrying it to ensure he was taking it to the right place. David had heard how the Lord had blessed Oben-Edom’s home and everything he had because of the presence of the Ark of God. So David took the Ark to the City of David with a “great celebration”. They sacrificed animals, sang, danced, played instruments and shouted all to the glory of God. They were not worried about what anyone thought of them as they worshipped because they had witnessed the power of God through the death of Uzzah and blessing of Oben-Edoms household. They finally placed the Ark in the tent David had prepared for it and then he proceeded to care for the people by passing out food. What a day!! He went home on a high from all the praising and witnessing of God’s power only to be faced with his wife Michal who basically tells him how stupid he looked to everyone around him and that she was embarrassed. His response was perfect in 2 Samuel 6:21-22 “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel – I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes”.

When is the last time you were “even more undignified than this”?  I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve looked on at  people at church with their hands waving around and thought they looked a little undignified. Unfortunately,  I judged much like Michal did in this passage. And like her, I  have missed out on the blessing of worship and praise with wild abandon. The people that have witnessed the power of God, close up and personal, are the ones that are not afraid to lift their arms and dance to the almighty God.  I challenge you to spend some time with God – singing, dancing, shouting, and blowing a trumpet if you have one. He is worthy of our praise! It can be a solo act in your living room and it is just as effective.

David Crower Band – “Undignified” https://youtu.be/hp7B5V-qpTQ

Shelly

Ups and Downs

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4

What is your greatest desire?  Think about it for a minute.  Do you have something? Often our schedules or circumstances can apply enough pressure to never think about this question.  At first we may think of various earthly treasures  or warm places we want to be based on our current weather here in Illinois.  Still, there is no place, thing, or human that can fill this desire.  David writes in Psalm 27 that the one thing he seeks, is to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  How awesome is it to remember. That on this side of Heaven, our earthly days are promised too!!! So when we ask again what is our greatest desire, it would be A desire to always be in His presence.  Look back at Psalm 23:6.

Now as a husband, father, brother, son, principal, coach, and friend  I understand the multitude of things we are part of or are called to do from sun up to sun down.   We are stretched pretty thin and always trying to do  something helpful for others. Being God’s hands and feet.   Take time in all our daily lives to allow the Lord to dwell in your heart today!   

In Psalm 27:1.  we look back at verse The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

Am I the only one tired of fear creeping into my mind? The painful self generated questions,   How will this turn out? What are they thinking about me? What if I fail? Fear is always lingering waiting for us to take the bait, to believe in the “fake news“. The two fears you are born with are the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.  Let’s not let the noise of the world, others, or from our self imprison our minds and hearts.  God hears our voice when we call out to Him.  Psalm 118:6 reminds us that the Lord is on our side, what can man do to me?

Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. v. 10

This verse reminds me that whatever is  in your past doesn’t matter anymore. God can take away any past pain. Broken homes, addictions, divorce, loss, abuse? Whatever horrible experience you have lived that has caused a void in your heart, God can heal. He can take away any pain.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

I know waiting is not easy.  I have a few of my own children that are masters at asking the question, Are we there yet?” Waiting on the Lord can be hard because we usually want answers to our prayers yesterday.  We just need to remember that God’s plan and timing is always better than ours.  Wait and trust… so hard. What is God trying to teach us in our waiting?  God offers hope to today and our future. Let our waiting teach us of His glory, grace, and power.

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
 they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40 28-31

Dear God, I pray that you take my selfish desires and turn them to you. That through a love and trust in your promises I can put aside my fears, failures, and false gods to dwell obediently in your presence.  Let us wait patiently for all you have planned for our lives.  In your loving name we pray. Amen  

Jonathan’s Loyalty

Today’s Reading : I Samuel Chapter 20 

Camaraderie. Compassion. Friendship. Loyalty.  These words are used often in the New Testament, but are seldom used in the Old Testament in regards with people relationships.  In the Old Testament, people are only interested in their own gain and power.  We have a glimpse of true devotion and friendship in today’s reading between Jonathan and David.  

Jonathan is the son of King Saul.  He is also the brother-in-law to David.  David and Jonathan became great friends during Saul’s reign as king of Israel.  After David stood up to Goliath and saved Israel from their enemies, David came into the court of the king and became a trusted advisor to the king and Jonathan.  Saul became paranoid and needed assistance from David to soothe his thoughts, so David became more trusted by both Saul and Jonathan.  Along the way, Saul started to question the loyalty of everybody including David and Jonathan.  Saul conspired with Jonathan and his other advisors to plot against David and kill him.  But through all of the lies and conspiracy of Saul, Jonathan remained faithful to David. 

This loyalty and friendship is due to the presence of the Holy Spirit on David.  David had eight brothers [we are introduced to earlier in Samuel] and all of them were not concerned about David while he was in the fields as a shepherd.  The brothers even despised him as David brought them food and refreshment in the battlefield.  David had known how to be a brother, but none of his blood relatives would be committed and dedicated to him.  After David is anointed and has conquered the Philistines, he is brought into the court of Saul and Jonathan. Here the Spirit creates a bond between Jonathan and David that is stronger than birth or blood.  

Proverbs 18:24   

 A man of many companions may come to ruin,
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

I wonder if Solomon is referring to his father’s and Jonathan’s relationship here.  This relationship literally save David’s life several times. Jonathan and David embodied the Hebrew commandment that are later spoke by Christ and shared with many  

Romans 13:9 

For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: 

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

David and Jonathan knew that their purpose was far greater than anything that they could imagine.  They knew that God’s hand had placed them together for a reason. Their loyalty to each other would transcend both of their lives and live on after their deaths.  This is the goal for us a Christians:  to give unconditionally to all we encounter.  Not only should we give to our friends, but also to the ones that are searching for friends and those who have turned away from us. We cannot give up on the people that may have hurt us in the past.  We need to seek the Spirit of God to reconcile our relationships to create this type of peace and loyalty that is exhibited by Jonathan and David.  

Father God, 

Create the opportunities for the Spirit to open our relationships to create trust, peace, and loyalty that is indiscernible and amazing.  Thank you for the blessings in advance.  Amen 

Outdoor Lessons


“The red cardinal bird holds special spiritual meaning for Christians as they symbolize everlasting vitality (the faith in the blood of Christ as the birds are red in color), Christmas (the birth of christ) and are also considered a creative force (the red color equals vitality and creativity).” This quote was found at reference.com.

Psalm 19:1 says, “The Heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

How often do you take time to be amazed at the creation around us? My youngest daughter gets annoyed with me as I point out every detail of nature when we are in the car together. I think as I age I realize the power in a sunset, an amazing cloud, glistening snow, changing trees, and budding flowers. The response I get is, “I know Mom, I see it!” But, do we take the time to REALLY see it???

If you look out a window right now and up into the sky, do you SEE what God spoke into existence? God created such an awesome universe that surrounds us. Nature captures the glory of God.

As I have reflected on this verse the past few days, I have taken some extra time and been more aware of what is around me. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to sit in my car and just stare out the window at the Illinois River and its surroundings. It was a grey, dreary day, nothing spectacular. As I stared down into the river I saw a few birds flitting from tree to tree and in the grasses. Before I realized it, I looked just beyond my car and a vibrant red cardinal was perched at the top of a long willowy grass. I was breath-taken at the color and stillness of that bird. I became more intent at watching for birds and my eyes were opened. There were cardinals, blue jays, robins, and a few other unidentified birds flying all around. At one point, three cardinals were pecking the ground 5 feet from my car. It is amazing what we see when we are still and really looking.

God created such an awesome universe that surrounds us. May we be inspired to live a life that shines with God’s glory and grace. Take the time today to notice His creation and worship Him for the incredible inspiration that surrounds us.

Overcoming Giants

Today’s reading is 1 Samuel 17.

Often times, you and I find ourselves daunted by gargantuan difficulties that stand in our way. We can only accomplish so much on our own before we find ourselves overcome with fear and sorrow at tasks we alone are incapable of overcoming. Such was the case for the Israelite army after encountering the rather infamously gargantuan Goliath.

Saul, anointed first king of the nation of Israel in 1 Samuel 10, has brought a tremendous fight to the Philistine forces for the sake of defeating those who would oppose God’s chosen people. But after sinning and openly disobeying God’s commands by sparing the tainted possessions of the Amalekites for their own purposes, the Spirit of the Lord has left Saul’s sinful heart. Now, when a tremendous hulking soldier personally raises a challenge to the Israelite army, offering a one-on-one fight where the winner’s army takes the loser’s as slaves, their king Saul sets an example for his people by being filled only with terror and despair. Unopposed and full of brash confidence, Goliath hurls insults and challenges at Israel’s army for forty days, while they can only cower in fear and wail at their complete inability to defeat such a prime soldier.

It’s not difficult to look back and find periods in our own lives where without coming to the Lord and relying on Him, we were paralyzed by fear or burdened by self-pity to the point where we could do nothing on our own. But rather than focusing on the despair invoked upon those who are without the Lord, let’s look rather at the contrast this chapter also provides: the assurance and confidence of those who know the Lord is with them. In our passage, we see it in the form of David: a young man from Bethlehem, sent from his usual duty of watching sheep to deliver grain to his older brothers serving Saul. This scrappy young man hears Goliath’s taunting in passing and is taken aback at how his fellow Israelites have not risen to this challenge when God’s people are being defied.

Throughout this passage, the focus of David’s speech shows clear intention: without a speck of doubt in his mind, the Lord is in charge of this situation. As those around him speak in matters of the flesh, David focuses on matters of the Lord. While the armies of Israel cry out in verse 25 how this Philistine “has come up to defy Israel”, David says instead that he has “defied the armies of the Living God.” While the soldiers speak of reward for “the man who kills him” being enriched and gifted monetarily, David asks of “the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach of from Israel,” focusing on the riches of God’s blessing. Without doubt and without fear, this boy rises up to the challenge Goliath provides, knowing “the Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 12:37) You can almost hear Eye Of The Tiger playing in your head as you read this passage.

And with great confidence, standing face to face with this towering soldier hurling threats of death and curses at God, David coolly declares the battle belongs to the Lord, and loudly and confidently proclaims that victory will be earned in his name. And David, without hesitation or error, as if guided by the Lord, strikes down his opponent in one swift blow. It’s incredible: without showing the slightest bit of doubt, without even considering how he could possibly fail with the Lord on his side, without a moment’s hesitation in facing Israel’s foes and striking them down, David lives out his faith in the Lord confidently and loudly. When the overwhelming task in front of him stares him down with murderous intent, David remains steady in his confidence in the Lord, knowing He is in control.

In this young shepherd, we see incredible accomplishments being done in the Lord’s name without a moment of doubt in Him. The Lord is with each and every one of us: when we struggle with evils and sin that threaten to cut us down, we can be confident and boastful, not in our own capabilities, but in the amazing God we serve that has been, and never will be, overcome. I am reminded of a line from one of my favorite worship songs:

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.

We know we can be confident, not in our own intelligence and power, for those are as fleeting and momentary and we are. But we know we can boast in a Lord and Savior more powerful and more wonderful than anything else. Jeremiah 9:23 calls us to be proud and boastful in our Lord: “Let him who boasts boast in this, that he understand and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth.” Be proud and boastful today of this steadfast and righteous Lord of ours that we belong to! I pray for opportunities for you and I to be confident in our Lord, declaring loudly and proudly all that he has done for you and I.

Ross B.

A Change in Paradigm

When you think of a funeral and what Bible passages are read most commonly, which ones come to mind? Today’s reading of Psalm 23 most certainly is in the top few. When I hear this verse, I picture a person walking down a dark path lonely with a light up ahead. I’m not sure this would be the mental vision God would want me to have about death. As I read this verse more closely, what stuck out to me is that it is “the valley of the shadow of death” in Psalm 23:4. We, who are still living, are in the “shadow of death.” This is where we have fears, anxieties, and worries that cause us stress. This is when we need his “rod and staff” to “comfort me.” This is when I need to “fear no evil” and my soul needs restoring by laying in “green pastures” and by going “beside still waters.”

Revelation 21:4 tells us, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be morning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” When I die, I want my funeral to be a celebration that I’m living in Heaven in perfect peace worshiping the only King forever. I want a band playing songs of praise with everyone standing and worshiping Him reminding all there of the joy they can have in eternal life through confessing their sins and belief in Him and His resurrection! They don’t need to be sad for me…I’m not in a dark valley standing there by myself lonely. I’m experiencing a joy we can’t even imagine on this Earth worshiping Him in a similar way to how I hope they are at that moment.

The first part of Psalm 23:8 says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” telling us maybe Psalm 23 is more appropriate for a baby dedication, a first communion, a baptism, or even a wedding. We can live in perfect peace throughout our life because the second part of Psalm 23:8 says, “and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” When we fix our eyes on that which is eternal (the only thing that matters), we will have comfort and respite from the challenges in this life.

Here is the song 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman which was sung at my wife’s great uncle Lee Dexheimer’s funeral. It reminded me we will experience a peace that passes all human understanding just like Lee did that day and still is today, forever and ever. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXDGE_lRI0E

Looking For the Right Heart

1 Sam 16

Today as we read 1 Sam 16, we get to see God’s choice for the next king of Israel after Saul. The tricky part is that Saul wasn’t dead yet. Saul had become rebellious and stubborn against God. He was more concerned with what others thought of him than he was with his relationship with God, so God took his kingdom away from him. If you look back in chapter 15, Samuel the priest was so grieved by Saul’s terrible choices that when God told Samuel He was going to replace Saul, Samuel “cried out to the Lord all night long”.  It says later in chapter 15 that “Samuel mourned constantly for Saul”.  Samuel was heartbroken because he loved the Lord and he loved Israel. He had been Israel’s spiritual leader since he was a boy. (And he was old and grey in chapter 12) The people weren’t happy because they wanted a king just like all the other countries had, and God had given them what they wanted in Saul. So when Saul was failing to follow God, it was crushing to Samuel. God sent Samuel to Bethlehem to meet with a man named Jesse to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to be the next king. 

I want to concentrate on verses 6-7 today. Samuel was obeying God. His only purpose for this trip was to do what God had asked him to do. His heart was right and his motives were right. He was in close relationship with God. Vs 6 “Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!”   Then Vs 7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Samuel thought he knew where God was headed with this one after he saw Eliab, tall, good looking, from the right family…it all added up in his mind because he was in town to anoint the next king. But God knew what heart He was looking for. He knew the characteristics He needed in the man who would be anointed king but not become king for fifteen years. God knew what those fifteen years would look like and He knew who’s spirit would be teachable, dedicated, loyal, devoted and reliant on Him throughout his life. God knew who He could build leadership skills in to become the leader God needed for His people. Samuel couldn’t see all of that by looking at a family of boys. 

Two points stand out to me in this story. First, when our hearts are right and our relationship with God is close, we still have to listen for His voice. I’ve been noticing something in the past few years as I have read the Bible and then on Sunday, our pastor said exactly what I had been noticing, God rarely does things the same way twice. We serve a mighty and creative God who has every atom in this universe (and beyond) at His disposal to accomplish whatever He decides to accomplish. He works however He decides He needs to in any situation to accomplish what ever He needs accomplished and I would say that a lot of the time we only see or understand a small portion of the effects of His work. Even when we think we know where God is headed in a circumstance or issue in our lives, we have to listen to his direction and leading because He very well might surprise us with something different than what we expected. 

Second, we make mistakes when we asses people on appearances instead of on character. We just can’t help ourselves, we see and we judge. Because we see people or circumstances with our eyes, we feel like we have the ability to judge. We forget that only God sees inside, we forget that only He knows what motivates a person’s actions or choices, we don’t know the truth about what another person’s heart looks like, only God knows. God is the only one who can judge. Appearance doesn’t reveal what people are really like. It doesn’t show their true value.