"...God's own heart"

Week 7, Day 1

The entire text for this week is below.

The Bible passage for this week is part of a much larger story. I am a stickler for paying attention to the context a story—and I think everyone else should be, too. If we are to have a chance at understanding any particular story, we need to know what was going on all around it. So this week I am especially encouraging you to read what comes before this week’s account. Knowing who Saul was, why he was chosen to be king and then why his kingship was rejected by God, sheds light on the selection of David as king. You’ll find the story in I Samuel 8-15.

One of the delights of reading the Bible is the way the stories so often leave us with puzzles and paradoxes. Stories are told with details that don’t make sense and honored characters who can be anything but honorable. We then noodle over the stories, only to realize there are no clear and simple answers to the questions raised. The text for this week is an especially puzzling one. Among all the Bible characters, David is one of the most complex. He might have been a great king, but you wouldn’t want to leave him alone with your daughter.

Riddle me this, as they say.

In 1st Samuel 13: 13,14 the prophet confronts Saul with his disobedience and then tells him that God is taking the kingdom away from him and giving it to “a man after (God’s) own heart”. We will learn 3 chapters later that he is referring to David. In Chapter 16:7, as Samuel is waiting for God to indicate who the new king should be, God tells the prophet, “Do not look on (a man’s) appearance or the height of his stature…For the Lord does not see as mortals see. They look on the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart”.

This would seem to indicate that David’s heart—the person he was on the inside, was pleasing to God. But as the story of David unfolds over the next many chapters, we discover he is a liar, a cheat, a thief, an adulterer and a murderer.

So what does it mean to be a person “after God’s own heart”? What did God see in David’s heart? What do we hope God sees in us?

Do you take any personal comfort in knowing that someone as deeply flawed as David can nevertheless by loved by God and used by God?

Prayer: God, we would be people “after God’s own heart”. Shine the light of your grace onto our heart’s shadow and hold us always close. Amen.

1 Samuel 16:1-13

1 The 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.’ 2 Samuel 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.” 3 Invite 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.’ 4 Samuel 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?’ 5 He 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.’* 7 But 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.’ 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’ 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’ 10 Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen any of these.’ 11 Samuel 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.’ 12 He 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.’ 13 Then 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 .

Psalm 51. 10-14

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and put a new and right* spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me away from your presence,

and do not take your holy spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and sustain in me a willing* spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,

and sinners will return to you.

14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,

O God of my salvation,

and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.

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