Friday, April 11, 2008

A Heart for God

April 11: 1 Samuel 13-14

5 And the Philistines mustered to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots and six thousand horsemen and troops like the sand on the seashore in multitude. They came up and encamped in Michmash, to the east of Beth-aven. 6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble (for the people were hard pressed), the people hid themselves in caves and in holes and in rocks and in tombs and in cisterns, 7 and some Hebrews crossed the fords of the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul was still at Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.

8 He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. 9 So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. 11 Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, 12 I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” 13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”
1 Samuel 13:5-14, English Standard Version

A Heart for God

Saul had an almost impossible task before him; the Philistines came up against the Israelites in a multitude so large it could not be numbered. The men of Israel hid themselves in the rocks, or holes in the ground, or any other hiding place they could find; those who stood with King Saul trembled.

Saul and the troops were waiting for Samuel who would offer a sacrifice and inquire of the Lord for them, but when the appointed time came Samuel was not there. God had sent a test to King Saul to determine his true heart for God, and he failed miserably. He called for the offerings to be brought, and he, himself, offered them up before the Lord.

As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, Samuel appeared, and he was not happy. Look at Saul's excuse that he made to Samuel to justify what he had done.

"When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.”

Would you have passed that same test? How would you rate your heart before God?

Saul appeared to the people to be everything a king should be; he was tall and handsome. But God does not look on the outward appearance as we do, but rather He looks upon the heart.

As Christians we need to focus on our relationship to God. What does He think of our life? Our goal should be to please Him in everything we say and do; if we please Him, it does not matter what anyone else thinks.

This one sin that Saul committed may not seem like such a big deal, but it cost him his kingdom. Look at Samuel's response to Saul,

You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”

Pray that you would have a heart for God; there is nothing that is more important!

God Bless You,
Linda

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