THIS WEEK’S MEMORY VERSE: I SAMUEL 16:7
“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”
Why I Samuel 16:7?
Because God is letting us know in no uncertain terms that it is the tendency of the natural man (I Cor. 2:14) to make determinations about people, and assess situations involving people based on outward appearance.
And when it comes to the external standards by which even saved people make judgments concerning others, the possibilities are seemingly limitless. We make evaluations and judgments concerning people based on the way they dress, the way they wear their hair, the color of their skin, their nationality, their political party, their socio-economic status, where they work, the position they hold, the degrees after their name, the vehicle they drive, the neighborhood they live in, the music they listen to, their polished demeanor, their winsome personality, their physical beauty (or lack thereof), and we could go on and on and on!
God tells us in this verse that the criteria He uses to make His evaluations, determinations, and assessments of people is in stark contrast to man’s. Whereas the criteria that man uses, is what he sees with his eyes (outward appearance), the criteria God uses is the heart!
I Samuel 16:7 is precisely where some of man’s most lofty old adages originated:
•“The heart of the issue is the issue of the heart.”
•“You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
•“The inside is more important than the outside.”
•And a whole host of others!
There is perhaps no place where the reality of this verse will be more clearly identifiable and soberly revealing than at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Bible tells us in I Cor. 4:5 that on that day, the Lord “will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels (motives) of the HEARTS.” On that day, the Lord will move beyond outward appearance (i.e. WHAT we did), to WHY we did it! The works of many believers, which in this life, appeared in the sight of men to be WORTHLESS (i.e. “wood, hay, stubble – I Cor. 3:12b), will be viewed by the Lord in that day as extremely WORTHWHILE (gold, silver, precious stone – I Cor. 3:12a). On the other hand, the works of many believers, which in this life, appeared in the sight of men to be extremely WORTHWHILE, will be viewed by the Lord in that day as totally WORTHLESS. Again, what will be the determining factor? The HEART!
As we hide this verse in our hearts, may it be a constant reminder and rebuke to us, that God has called us to see as He sees; to think as He thinks; to judge as He judges… “not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).
TODAY’S READING: NUMBERS 28-32
The daily and weekly offerings: the Sabbath and monthly offerings, and the offerings to be given at the appointed feasts; God’s instruction concerning vows; God’s judgment upon the Midianites; the division of the booty obtained from the Midianites; the officers and captains bring an offering to the Lord; Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh settle east of the Jordan.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Chapters 28 and 29 deal with the subject of the Lord’s offerings, and really are an amplification of the instructions already given in Leviticus 23. Keep in mind that all of the offerings speak of Christ, and find their fulfillment in Him (Matt. 5:17). Understanding that makes Numbers 28:2 beautifully significant as God speaks of these offerings as “My bread.” It is in Christ that the Father “feeds,” and has found His delight, and perfect satisfaction (Matt. 4:17).
In chapter 30, God talks about the seriousness of making vows to Him. He wants to make certain that His people did not enter into a vow with Him lightly, or take the breaking of the vow lightly. Though we are not instructed to make vows, as such, in the New Testament, wasn’t our very salvation a sacred “vow” of sorts, as we recognized that our lives were not our own because of the price Christ paid to redeem us, and we exchanged our life, for His? (I Cor. 6:19-20; Matt. 16:24)
The purpose of God’s command to go to war against Midian in chapter 31 was two-fold:
1) To “avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites.” (31:2)
2) To “avenge the Lord of Midian.” (31:3)
It was to “avenge the children of Israel” and “the Lord” because the Midianites had devastated Israel, not as “enemies” in a physical war, but as “friends” in a spiritual war. The idol worshipping Midianites seduced the Children of Israel into committing “spiritual adultery” against the Lord, and became involved in “physical adultery” with their women. It had resulted in the death of 24,000 Israelites (Num. 25:9).
In this war that God designed it was to provide human retaliation and Divine retribution; three significant things stand out:
1) The easiness of the victory.
2) The enormity of the spoil.
3) The absence of the loss of life. (Not one of the Israelites was
Keep in mind that like Israel, we have been called to war against our physical enemy (the flesh – Gal. 5:17), and against our spiritual enemy (the devil and his principalities and powers – Eph. 6:10-17). As we, like Israel in Num. 31, walk in obedience to the Word of God and appropriate the victory, we can expect a similar result.
In chapter 32, Reuben and Gad approach Moses for permission to settle in a piece of property recently acquired on the east of Jordan. They had set their affection on what they could see with their “physical eyes” (note in 32:1 – “and when they saw”), rather than what God had in store for them in the Promised Land that required the “eyes of faith.” From a human standpoint, their request was very reasonable, and made all the sense in the world financially, but spiritually, it was an act of selfishness and compromise. Israel’s place was inside Canaan, not outside. That was the whole purpose of the exodus — to bring them into a new land (Deut. 6:23). God wanted the entire nation, in unity, to enter the land, and for all of Israel to desire to be near the Tabernacle, and thus, in His presence. We see the result of their choice in I Chronicles 5:18-26 and II Kings 15:29. It wasn’t long before they bowed themselves to the gods of the people around them, and they were the fir!
st to go into captivity.
Obviously, these tribes are a graphic picture of self-indulgent, worldly Christians who foolishly set their affection on things on earth rather than on the things above (Col. 3:1-2), allowing physical or financial advantages to be their first consideration, and the key factor in making the decisions of life. Like Israel, our place is in Canaan, not in this world. We are to be living in this world, but all the while seeking the things which are above, driven by our affection being set on things above, lest we, like Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh, be overtaken by the world, the flesh, and the devil.
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
In the TABERNACLES – Num. 29:12-39 (Compare Num. 29:12 with Lev. 23:24) – John 1:14 (“The Word was made flesh and DWELT among us…” Note that the word “dwelt” is the word “tabernacle,” meaning “to temporarily live in a tent.”)
In MOSES, the RIGHTEOUS JUDGE of the wicked – Num. 31:1-17 (Rev. 16:5; 19:11; II Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 14-15)