Friday, May 30, 2014

All Your Heart: Your response to God

This post is part of a continuing study on The Greatest Commandment
Use that link to read other articles in this series.

As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him and to greet him. But Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “Because I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the appointed days, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, therefore I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.” Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, for now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”

1 Samuel 13:10-14


If you were to ask what Saul's biggest problem was in comparison with David, what would you answer be? What makes David "a man after God's own heart" while Saul is a man discarded by God?

An obvious answer would have to do with the morality of each man. "David was morally upright while Saul was corrupt." However, while this sounds nice it would also be dead wrong. David has many more moral missteps during his tenure as king than Saul did. In fact, It is hard to find fault with Saul's morality. David was an adulterer who decided that murder was the best way to resolve his adultery—not exactly a high point in morality.

"Intentions. Saul's intentions were evil while David's were pure of heart." Again, a nice idea that does not hold up well when considered against the narrative. Saul's intentions were mostly good—religious, even. Saul's major sins, like the one references in the quoed passage, were made in favor of burnt offerings. Either he disobeyed God so that he could have more stuff to burn on an altar or he disobeyed God by acting as a priest and burning stuff on an altar on his own schedule. His intentions, according to a cursory reading of scripture, was to worship.

I think this passage provides a snapshot of Saul's heart problem and sets the stage for David's superior heart condition. Notice that Saul here caves in to the people's wishes instead of obeying God's command. Saul tries to deflect accountability while clearly making a conscious decision to disobey.

Obedience is not easy. Obedience takes courage.

Enter Goliath

The episode of David and Goliath could easily be viewed through the lens of "David and Saul." Consider how fearful Saul behaves as the perfect foil to courageous David. In every aspect, Saul shows he is afraid while David displays confidence. Here are a few things hat pop out in the story:
  • Saul would not respond to the giant, David wanted to fight him immediately.
  • Saul would have been clad in armor, David goes out with a sling and a few stones.
  • Saul looks at the size of the giant, David looks at the size of his God.
Throughout David's life, he displayed the courage to do what was right. Even in the aforementioned case of adultery and murder, when he was confronted by the Prophet he owned his sin. He did not look for a place to hide. I believe it is in this sense that David was a man after God's own heart. He was not fainthearted, he was able to look at the mirror and blame the man who looked back at him. This was something that Saul never did.

A Courageous Heart

Remember our definition of the heart. When scripture speaks of the heart, sometimes it does so within the domain of the will. When our pride finds itself in direct opposition to God, what are we going to do? How will we react? It takes courage to step up and say I was wrong. It takes courage to be humble when everyone else is trying to craft their brand and curate a positive aura around themselves.

Let us remember that obedience takes courage. Let us, like Joshua, be very courageous as we seek to follow God's word. Let us, like all the saints who have gone before, stand up after we fall and continue following The Lord.
Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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