The Lord Looks on the Heart
It’s a common failing, when we study scriptures, to believe we get it right. The more you study, the more surprises you get, and the less sure you become about dogma, i.e. what your tribe believes is true. One of the things that comforts me is that the Lord loved Moses, who murdered a man on an uncontrolled impulse, and David, who had another man killed in battle so he could marry his wife, carrying his illegitimate child.
The Lord sees things differently.
We make things more complicated than they need to be. Jesus told us to believe simply, as a child. Jesus told us to love God with all our being, and to love our neighbor. He did not say love your fellow Christian and hate the Moslem, or love those who love you and don’t worry about the others. He pretty much said that we are to love – and serve – those with whom we come into contact.
To me, the good news is that the Lord loves sinners, even though we grieve him. If we confess, if we are truly sorry, if we ask for his forgiveness, he gives it to us. The great gift of grace – it’s a comfort to me.
1 Samuel 16:1-13
16The Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.’ 2Samuel said, ‘How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.’ And the Lord said, ‘Take a heifer with you, and say, “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.” 3Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.’ 4Samuel 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?’ 5He said, ‘Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.’ And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.’* 7But 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 does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’ 8Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’ 9Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’ 10Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen any of these.’ 11Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are all your sons here?’ And he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.’ And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.’ 12He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, ‘Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.’ 13Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.
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