1 Samuel 15:1-35, 1 Samuel 16:1-23, Ruth 4:18-22, Luke 6:45
The morning of June 1, 2013, finally arrived after a long, soggy night. By the grace of God, the river rushing down the road in front of my parents’ house disappeared, but it took our sleep with it. I don’t know how much rain fell between our rehearsal dinner and the morning of our wedding, but it was enough to flood my parents’ basement, my future mother-in-law’s house, and two friends’ cars.
Few wedding attendees knew we were running on virtually no sleep, for the joy of a long-awaited wedding is enough to cover even a week of sleepless nights and sopping basements. But Susie and I knew. We knew that, as merry as our wedding may be, our sleeplessness would threaten whatever energy our adrenaline could create. How we looked on the outside was the opposite of how we felt on the inside.
How exhausting it would be to live in such a state every day before the all-knowing God of the universe. As we read in 1 Samuel 15, God rejected Saul as king of Israel because he tried to please people instead of God. After this, the Lord instructs His prophet Samuel to make the trek to Bethlehem where he would find the one God had chosen to replace Saul as king.
Samuel initially mistakes the chosen one as the firstborn son, Eliab, but the Lord reminds him in 1 Samuel 16:7, “Humans do not see what the LORD sees, for humans see what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.”
God and people see reality differently. Even a prophet of God like Samuel cannot discern the heart of a man and his fitness for king.
The fundamental flaw in our human perspective is that we can only see what is visible, while God can see that which is invisible: the heart. The temptation, then, in our effort to impress others, is to put on a show—to prove to others that we have it all together. But God is not fooled by our foolishness.
The light of God’s wisdom pierces the darkness of our outward performance to illuminate the depths of our inward being. No amount of spiritual showboating, good looks, cool toys, or theological knowledge is more important than a heart that’s more interested in pleasing God than man.
David, the one who would be selected by God as king over His chosen people, wasn’t even present when the sons of Jesse paraded in front of Samuel. He was tending to his sheep, without hope of great renown or riches.
Our God is not interested in spiritual performances, whether inspired by the life of Jesus or aimed to please others. Instead, the Lord desires for our hearts to be humbled, transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ, with the intent of glorifying Him.
Written by Chris Martin