Monday, March 31, 2014

1 Samuel 16:6-13 (ESV)
6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.

“Not as man sees does God see, because men see the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.” (1 Samuel 16.7)
What does the Lord see when he looks into our hearts?
In the spiritual heart he gives us, our Lord sees power. He sees an awesome power located in the soul’s center, the power to love. One’s heart forms the dynamic principle of everything that happens in his soul, even knowledge.
We learn to search another’s heart because God searches ours.
“The Lord searches all hearts and understands all the mind’s thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let Himself be found by you; but if you abandon Him, He will cast you off forever.” ( 1 Chronicles 28.9)
Consider this in the context of the original Israelite monarchy. The Lord rejects the guardianship of His people by one king and causes another to be anointed as their next ruler.
Saul’s abandonment of God becomes more and more evident during David’s rebellion. It is not, however, immediately evident.
On the other hand, it is clear early on to readers that God abandons Saul. He permits the king to be tormented with violent fits of rage, afflictions commencing after Saul sought to spare King Agag.
God doesn’t make decisions based on the same factors most of us see as important.
That’s why He’s God.

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.”
–St. Augustine

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

1 Samuel 16:1-5 (ESV)
1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 2 And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” 4 Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5 And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

Saul, the first king of Israel, was a wash out. God sent Samuel the prophet to Bethlehem to identify a new king. His name would be David.
Under David, the kingdom of Israel prospered as never before. Borders were expanded, religion was centralized in Jerusalem, enemies were subdued. Despite profound moral failure, David is portrayed in the Old Testament as a man after God’s own heart. More importantly, he was a prototype and forebear of the coming messianic king.
When Jesus emerged out of backwater Nazareth, it would have been hard to recognize him as a king. Yes, the Magi came to see the newborn king of the Jews. But he never proclaimed that during his ministry. Scholars refer to it as the “messianic secret”.
In Jesus’s final week, however, his identity as king was revealed. First, he rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, (which we celebrate on Palm Sunday). On that day, Jesus fulfilled the ancient prophecy of Zechariah 9:9:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

The crowds recognized this dramatic, but non-verbal, proclamation of kingship and they received him joyfully. “Hosanna to the son of David”, they shouted.
Ironically, the only person to whom Jesus acknowledged his kingship with words was Pontius Pilate.
Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” (Mark 15:3)
It was at the cross, however, where Jesus’s regal identity was proclaimed for all eternity. Above his head was a placard that read,

“Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

Lord Jesus, we acknowledge you as King of kings and Lord of lords. Rule over all things in our lives. Amen.