Deception and the Pure Heart
The engineer of the Titanic is quoted as saying, “Even God could not sink this ship.” There’s a lot of this same attitude in the heart of Saul and his view of the Kingdom of Israel. Saul went from a man who was small in his own eyes, and could scarcely imagine being king, to a man who is willing to deceive God’s prophet and never repent of what he has done.
Look at I Samuel 15: 13-14, “When Samuel finally found him, Saul greeted him cheerfully, ‘May the Lord bless you,’ he said, ‘I have carried out the Lord’s command.’ ‘Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?’ Samuel demanded?”
This would almost be hilarious if it weren’t sad and very close to home. Saul changes his tactics and insists that the reason he kept the best sheep and cattle was to offer a great sacrifice to the Lord. There is nothing like a little religious patter to pull the wool over some peoples eyes. But it does not work with Samuel. He reminds Saul that it is better to just obey God than to be arrogant and rebellious (Vs 22-23).
Saul then offers a kind of repentance, but really it’s an excuse that he was afraid of the people (Vs 24-26). He believes it is more important to be honored before the elders of Israel than by the God of Israel (VS. 30-31).
We are lost when human opinion means more to us than God’s. When we choose to rationalize our own sin and call it God’s will, the truth will one day come out. Saul has become his own law. The bleating of sheep in the background scream out that God is not going to allow it to continue.
Look at God’s perspective of David in the next chapter: “People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” This is a good lesson for us to learn. Some of us spend more time dressing for success and developing a compelling and authoritative voice than we do seeking to develop a pure heart.
Tips for Reading- (Application tip # 12)
Note: This section is help for Bible Reading in general. It has been building throughout the year under the topics of Observation (what the Scripture says), Interpretation (what it means) and Application (what it means to your life). Feel free to look back over past weeks to get the whole picture.
How can I give any assignment except that which is related to remembering the goodness of God in your own personal life and longing for a heart after God like David? Here’s a way to take this application idea a step further.
After you create a list patterned after what you see David doing in Psalm 103, take time to thank God for each one and picture the story in your mind. Next, call somebody (or Facebook them) and remind him/her of how God has been faithful in your life. These steps should help your memory be clear the next time you forget.
Notes from David’s Journal
How can anyone read this section of Scripture and not comment on I Samuel 17, David and Goliath. A bit of background info may help you understand the scenario. The Israelites and their mortal enemies, the Philistines, are fighting in a valley. When one side gains the advantage, it pushes the other up a hill. Then the one on the “higher ground” has the advantage and pushes the other side up the hill on the other side of the valley, thus giving the OTHER side the advantage. This went on and on for a period of time but is finally a “Mexican stand-off.” No one can eventually win. Therefore, the Philistines send into the valley one soldier, a man named Goliath, and he challenges Israel to send out one man for a fight, man to man, winner take all fight.
Goliath is making a mockery of the one, true God, challenging anyone to come and fight him. No Jew wants to take him on. Finally, David has had enough. He hated God being ridiculed like this. So he commits to fight Goliath. He tries putting on armor. But it’s too much for this young teenager. Besides, he knows God will have to win this fight, not armor.
So he picks up five smooth stones (Goliath had four brothers!!!). He runs toward the giant (not away: we must run toward our problems). He hurls the stone into the forehead of the giant and he dies. He then cuts off his head as a trophy (a way to get ahead...sorry!!!), to show the victory.
It’s truly a story of great faith in God, believing God is stronger than all the giants in our lives. It’s a story that should cry out, “Don’t give up! Continue to believe! God is bigger! Have faith! Believe the victory is already won! The things of this world, the armor of this world is useless in these battles of faith. But God will be faithful to deliver in your time of need!”
Believe it. And when the miracle occurs, please make sure you cut off the head as a trophy, a reminder of God’s faithfulness for you when future problem comes, and for your kids, so you can share God’s greatness with them too!