For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12
This week I was reminded of the truth of Hebrews 4:12 when God used scripture to expose my sinful tendencies to be critical and judgmental.
In Community Bible Study this year we are studying the Servants of God which includes the books of 1 & 2 Samuel. I had done this study a couple of years ago and was familiar with the people in the scripture, not only with how they started, but how they finished.
Though the Israelites have rejected God as their King and desire an earthly king, so they can be like the other nations, God answers their request. He gives them Saul as their first king, but not without ample warnings about the consequences of being governed by an earthly king instead of God. Saul started out with promise, but his life took a left turn and he did not finish well.
As I completed this lesson, listened to the lecture and read this week’s notes the Holy Spirit has convicted me and revealed my sinful tendency to be critical and judgmental. When I read about Saul’s beginnings, I found myself doubting his good intentions and didn’t want to acknowledge some of the good things that he had done. He demonstrated humility after Samuel had first anointed him as king. He chose not to take revenge against naysayers who were against him. He rose up to defend people who were being threatened by an enemy. I didn’t want to see the good because I know what’s coming down the line and the left turn that Saul will take.
To reinforce that conviction, early on in the lecture our teaching director Dave said, “Don’t dismiss or think you can’t learn something from someone who turns out to be a bad person.” He also reminded us that this story isn’t about Samuel or Saul…its God’s story.
When reading this week’s notes I encountered the same thing when it talked about some of the things that Saul did that were good and right.
So how come I want to dismiss that or cast aspersions on his motives and think he wasn’t sincere? The bottom line is that I don’t know the genuineness of Saul’s heart, only the Lord knows that. He alone is the One who knows the thoughts and intentions of a person’s heart. Unless God reveals someone’s motives in scripture then I am imposing my thoughts and interpretation on the text…eisegesis verses exegesis.
Lord…thank You for revealing where my heart and attitude was not right before You. Thank You for the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God which is true and unchanging. Please forgive me for my arrogance in presuming that I could be the judge and jury against someone. Help me to recognize and repent of a critical, negative and judgmental spirit. Help me have a heart like Yours. Thank You that You have given me a heart of flesh and have removed my heart of stone. Keep doing Your mighty life-changing work in my life. It’s in Jesus powerful and transforming name I pray…Amen!