This past weekend at Harvest Church, I started a teaching series that look at the life of David. As one known as a man "after God's owner heart," we are asking the question, "Who or what rules your heart?" In other words, who or what is taking up space in your life that is rightfully God's? And what do we need to do to have a heart after God's own heart.
Thus far we have looked only at the history of Israel, their time and relationship with God prior to their request for a king. From Abraham to Samuel, God faithfully loves and cares for his people as the sovereign ruler of Israel. His desire was establish a nation unto himself a holy nation, set a part, a royal priesthood, a people who loved and served God. It was simple, obey my (God's) law and it would go well with you (Israel). Disobey my (God's) Law and it wouldn't go well for you (Israel).
Yet, from their time of freedom, when God, through Moses, led them away from Egypt, the people were stubborn and rebellious. Time and time again, the rejected God's Law and rule. They turned away from him and sought their own ways. Then calamity fell upon them, and they were running back to God. It was an ongoing battle between God and his people.
But as I looked at the early stories of the kings, I am struck by something that I think is a battle we face today; the constant issue of control. In 1 Samuel 8, we see the people ask for control by requesting a king. No longer were they content in having God as their ruler, they wanted to be like the other nations with a king to lead them. And while a king was not God's desire for his people, God gives his people what they ask for. But just as the this new king takes his role as Israel's earthly ruler, Samuel, God's prophet, gives they final words of warning.
“Do not be afraid,” Samuel replied. “You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own. As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.” (1 Samuel 12:20-25 NIV)
Even after his people reject God as their ruler, he cannot let them go. Samuel says, "For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own." God's commitment to his people is incredible. In fact Samuel insists that, even though they have done this horrible sin, rejecting God, they are still to serve the Lord with all your heart! In fact, he goes as far to say, that he will continue to to teach them the way that is good and right; to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart.
These are big words for us to consider; 'with all your heart'. It's what spurs the question, Who or What rules your heart? Even though they have sinned, Samuel says, give God your whole heart; all your heart. That's all God ever wanted, for his people to be all about him! You see, we are so much like the Israelites in that we are constantly turning away from God to pursue our own desires. We reject God and name ourselves the kings of our own lives. But Samuel's call to the people of Israel is as much for us as it was for them. We too are to serve the Lord with all our hearts! ALL OUR HEARTS!!
Today, I want to encourage you, that regardless of what you have done or how you might have rejected God, God's love is still the same, and for the sake of his name, the Lord will not reject you. Come to him, and give him you whole heart. All of your heart!
Thanks for taking the time to read The Higham Family Blog. Each week we try to share new content about something we are learning, something we love, or something to offer encouragement to the family. We love to hear from our readers, so please share your thought in the comment section of each post.