By Vance Drum
At Sunset we are mourning the passing last week of Bob Wagner, 38-year husband of Laura. Bob was one who believed in God, who trusted in the mercies of our Lord Jesus Christ and His great work on the Cross at Calvary. We — especially Laura — will miss Bob. May he rest in peace.
Sunday was our 2019 Sunset Installation Sunday as we installed our elders and deacons for the new year. The message was titled: “What Is God Looking For?” The text was from 1 Samuel 16:7: “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
The Lord had commissioned the prophet Samuel to anoint a new king over Israel. The first king, Saul, had been rejected by God for his gross disobedience.
God had told Samuel to go to Bethlehem, to Jesse’s house. There he would find the new king.
So Samuel went to Jesse’s house where he began the discovery process of finding out the Lord’s selection.
Samuel looked at a favored one, Jesse’s tall firstborn Eliab, thinking surely this was the one. But God said to Samuel: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.”
Then Jesse called his second son, Abinadab, but Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Then the third, Shammah, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.”
After seven of Jesse’s sons had passed before Samuel, he asked Jesse: “Are these all the sons you have?”
Sometimes we must think outside the box in order to get God’s picture. Jesse said, “Well, there is still the youngest, but he is tending the sheep.”
A shepherd’s job was lowly, dirty and undesirable. Out with the sheep on the hills in the night’s cold, sitting in the shade of a rock in the heat of the day, the shepherd’s job was usually boring, and given to a lowly person in the house. So the job was given to the youngest son, David.
But the Lord said to Samuel: “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
God is not interested in our worldly success, wealth, pedigree or people we know. He is interested in whether our heart is turned toward Him.
Under the stars at night, David had plenty of time to ponder God’s vast creation, to worship the Lord, and to grow in his love for his Maker.
So he wrote (Psalm 18:1): “I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer….”
Out in the wilds of nature, David was responsible to tend to his father’s flock, and he had learned valuable skills in the process.
In the confrontation with Goliath, David defended his skill to Saul (16:34): “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.”
So, what is God looking for? “The Lord looks at the heart.”
(a) Worshippers. Not the most handsome, the tallest, the most renowned or the wealthiest. Even more than leaders, God is looking for worshippers.
(b) Humble. Psalm 25:9: “He guides the humble in what is right.” God cannot teach one who already knows it all. Unless we walk humbly under the Almighty, he cannot teach us his ways.
(c) Courageous. As David courageously attacked and killed the lion and the bear, so he also killed the giant Goliath, and was commended for his courage.
(d) Receptive of His Son. “To as many as received him, he gave power to become children of God.” Jesus invited: “Come to me, all you weary, and I will give you rest.”
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.” [1 Timothy 1:12]
May we all be considered faithful in our work for the Lord—our prayer for you from your friends at Sunset Christian Church.