I was thinking about attitudes of the heart, and what effect they have on our lives and on our relationship with God. Now this is just one story; one perspective example from the Bible, but it is a very powerful message.
I was looking at king Saul. He was chosen and anointed by God to be king over Israel, and God changed his heart. The Spirit of God came powerfully upon him and he began to prophesy. (1 Samuel 10) This was a man chosen, anointed, and filled with the Spirit of God, and yet he was rejected by God.
It was interesting to me that because of his disobedience to God, God rejected him. We are all sinners and we can all be disobedient to the Lord, so why aren’t we all rejected? This also brought king David to mind. He was also disobedient to the Lord, yet he was not rejected. So why?
Saul disobeyed God. He lied to cover it up, and then blamed other people. He would not have taken any responsibility, but he was called out on his disobedience. And then he did not have true remorse.
Saul wanted to move past his disobedience without dealing with the consequences; but he still wanted all the blessings of God. He still wanted the title of king over the people. Saul wanted to keep a false image of himself to save his own reputation with his people. He lifted himself on a pedestal, because he was more concerned with his popularity and image to the world than being obedient to God. He was not bothered by his sin, nor sorry, just sorry he got caught… His focus was so much on himself that there was no room for God.
Psalm 10:4 In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
Been there, done that! Maybe we all have at one time or another. You know, we got caught doing something that we shouldn’t have done, and maybe we seemed and felt sorry. We probably even apologized or tried to make right our sin; you know, going through the motions of repentance. But if no one ever found out, we wouldn’t have been sorry, and may have even continued in that sin. We weren’t sorry for the sin that we had committed, we were sorry we got caught. The repentance was not true in our hearts, it was only to save face.
When Saul confessed he had sinned after God rejected him (after he got caught), he only confessed for personal compassion and to keep up a personal appearance of honor. He was not worried about disappointing God. Saul was given a second chance to repent earlier on, but he chose selfishly not to. So God warned him of what would happen, gave him a chance to change, and then had to carry out the warning.
1 Samuel 15:22-23 But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the sin of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you as king.”
So Saul was not just rejected as king because he was disobedient. He was not just seen as disobedient and immediately rejected. He was rejected because his heart was full of pride and although he was warned and given time (a period of grace) to change, he did not take the warning. He did not really care about God. He rejected God because he only cared for himself.
Now, I mentioned king David. David was the man who God chose to replace Saul as King. And even though David sinned; when he was called out, he truly repented. He truly felt remorse and saddened because of his disobedience to God. Even though he sinned, God still called him a man after God’s own heart.
God’s word to Saul; speaking of David…
1 Samuel 13:13-14 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
God did not reject David, even though he also sinned. David trusted God and had a desire to follow and obey Him. David loved God, and wanted to turn from his sinful ways and walk in obedience.
True repentance is internal, not just external acts to smooth things over. It is turning from one’s self pride, and the humbling of one’s self. It’s a change of heart, and remorsefully turning away from the sin.
God knows our hearts from the most evident traits to depths that we can only see when He reveals them to us. He knows our deepest intents and motives. He knows when we truly have remorse and when we truly repent… As Christ followers we must take all heeds and warnings of things that God wants us to change or turn from. We cannot put our own selfish fleshly agenda above God. His ways are always best, and He has a plan and purpose for each of us. He want to use us for His kingdom, honor and glory.
Proverbs 18:12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be used. I love my Lord, Jesus, and I pray that my desires become His; that I would focus on His kingdom and not personal gain. I don’t want to be rejected and replaced because of self pride and love. I want to be His fully; to be used however He sees fit. His ways are best, ours are not. He knows the entire picture, and we do not. He wants good for us; and in knowing that, I cannot question His moves. I trust who God is, and He is always love and He is in all ways good.
Lord, I want the things that I do in life to be inspired by You. I want to bring glory and honor to You. Lord, I pray that they will inspire people to seek You and know You, and realize that they can reach You; ultimately coming into a deeper worship of You. I want to bless Your heart. Please keep me honest and help me to remain true to You. Keep me from being distracted by power, wealth, and other worldly things. Help me to keep my eyes set on You; my maker and creator. You have filled my heart and saved my life. I want my life to be completely Yours in return. Amen.