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May 26, Day #147 – Our Hearts and Minds on Him

In 1 Samuel 16-17:37, we read, “The LORD said to Samuel, ‘how long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him? … Fill your horn with oil and be on your way’” (verse 1). Yesterday, we saw that God rejected Saul as king, and now He is going to select a man after His own heart – David. In his probationary period as king, Saul failed. God looks on the heart - not the outward appearance - a principle which we should follow. In verse 4, we see what obedience looks like: “Samuel did what the LORD said.” It’s that simple. God issued His command, and Samuel obeyed. This time, the LORD makes clear to Samuel what He is looking for in a king: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for … the LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (verse 7). God is looking for integrity which flows out of a man’s heart. After looking at seven sons of Jesse – all rejects – Samuel says, “The LORD has not chosen these … are these all the sons you have?” (verse 10). Jesse says, “There is still the youngest, but he is tending the sheep” (verse 11). “Send for him,” Samuel says. “We will not sit down until he arrives” (verse 11). When he arrived, the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one” (verse 12). God found in David the exact man He was looking for. The Spirit of the LORD came upon David just as it had departed from Saul. But we see that David is immediately placed by God into Saul’s service to be trained as the next king of Israel. Part of God’s intent was to show David by his proximity to Saul and his poor example what kind of king not to be. In addition, God’s purposes for David to become a leader included four management disciplines of a good leader: (1) solitude; (2) obscurity; (3) monotony; and (4) reality. A good leader must be familiar with each of these disciplines and know how to manage them well. Then, in chapter 17, we see the Philistines taunting and terrorizing Israel “for forty days” (verse 16) through their champion – Goliath, the giant. Goliath is a picture of Satan challenging the Holy God of the universe. But like Satan, Goliath also has not reckoned on the LORD – Who delivered the young shepherd boy "from the paws of the lion and the bear” (verse 37). I can hardly wait until tomorrow to read about what will happen …

Psalm 67 is a Psalm of praise, purpose, prayer, promise, and provision. It speaks to us of God’s grace, God’s goodness, and God’s glory. In Psalm 67, we see part of our purpose (repeated twice) for being in this world. Three times, the Psalmist says, “May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you” (verse 3 and twice in verse 5). We exist for God’s pleasure, and His purpose for us is that we might praise Him. Praising God goes way beyond going to church, singing songs, praying, listening to sermons, or reading the Bible. We praise God by living honorably and doing all our normal activities to His glory - living with our hearts and minds on Him. By doing this, His ways and salvation will become “known on earth among all nations” (verse 2). This is our purpose, and notice His promise - provision: “Then the land will yield its harvest” (verse 6).

In John 15:1-16:4, Jesus explained clearly how we are enabled to praise God - by “remaining in Him” (verses 5-6) - the same way a branch is connected to the vine (verses 4-8). This connection speaks of union with Christ, which is God’s work, and communion with Christ, which is our work. The fruit about which Jesus spoke is the increase in the world about the knowledge of God, His ways, and His salvation. The nations which come to know Him represent the fruit of our labors – all the ways that we engage in praising God. In verses 18-27, Jesus pointed out that such a harvest does not come easy; we face much opposition, for which we need the help of the Holy Spirit, Whom Jesus said He would send to us – to keep us from “going astray” (cf., 16:1-4).

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