This morning, as I go through my daily scripture reading, I was in 1 Samuel. The author of the book shows us 3 prominent leaders within Israel's History:
Samuel, a prophet and judge, who was rejected by the people of Israel;
Saul, who became Israel's King, but, due to his desire to be accepted by israel, disobeyed God, and was rejected as king;
and David, who was not perfect by any means, and yet was a "man after God's own heart" because He pursued God, even when he messed up (royally!).
Samuel was a great leader, prophet and judge for Israel. He walked with the Lord all of his life, but the people desired a king like all of the other nations. So God appointed Saul, who LOOKED the part; he his father's oldest son, a head taller (from the shoulders up) than any other Israelite, well spoken and dynamic, and everything a king should be (At least according to worldly standards). Yet Saul was self-centered and a coward; he would often glorify himself by his decisions, or bow to the will of the people in spite of what God told him to do. He even went so far as to offer a sacrifice (the job of the priests and Samuel, forbidden by anyone else) because his soldiers were deserting him, and then (on a separate battlefield), instead of completely annihilating the Amalekites and everything that belonged to them, he and his men kept the best things back for themselves, and when they were caught, claimed it was a sacrifice to God. He even lied to Samuel until God called him to account. David, on the other hand, was a youth when he was called. He was the youngest of 8 sons, and not even regarded by his father. But he loved the Lord, and would seek after God, often in the middle of his herd of sheep. Many of his Psalms were attributed to his time alone with God in the middle of the field with his sheep. David recognized God's hand in his victories, and, even when he had the opportunity, refused to take matters in to his own hand (he had the ability to kill Saul twice to take the throne, but didn't). Whenever David sinned against God and others, He returned to the Lord in repentance. He sought after God's heart, which is why he got the title. In many respect, people who say they love God fall in to either one of these two categories: Saul or David. Like Saul, sometimes, we seek ourselves above God; we follow God for our own advantage instead of loving God for Himself. Yet God desires us to be like David, seeking Him in all things, even when we have sinned (coming to repentance, as David did). Both kings were chosen by God. Yet only one of them sought God over himself. It is why Saul was rejected and why David was God's beloved. What is the condition of your heart? Do you, like Saul, seek God only for favor, for power, for possession, or for pride? Drop these foolish things, and ask for a new heart, a heart like David's, and seek God merely for Himself, to chase after God's heart, and return to Him in repentance when you've offended Him, so that you can be with Him in His presence forever. Psalm 23:The LORD Is My Shepherd
A Psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.