25 Now an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you understand it?” 27 The expert answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” 28 Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” 29 But the expert, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:25–29, NET, italics mine)
Acts 13:22 refers to David as a man after God’s own heart. The idea of “the heart of God,” as my Connect Group surely knows, has been rolling around in my head for some time. I see this as a repeated theme in Scripture, evidenced in many passages, including today’s reading in 1st Samuel 26.
As you examine the OT Law, it is summed up very well by the religious expert in the Luke passage above (Lk 10:27). The OT Law, with its precepts toward holiness, taught God’s people to care for others. And, although it may be odd to modern audiences, it also sought to separate God’s people as a kingdom of priests for the whole world (Exodus 19:6). All of it expresses the heart of God! (See also Boaz from the book of Ruth, who went above and beyond the letter of the Law to fulfill the heart of God.)
The Law, just like much of the New Testament teaching, doesn’t provide an exhaustive list of how we should act in each situation. Instead, it shows us the heart of God through many examples, that we may reflect it in our daily lives. The question becomes, however, “who is my neighbor?”
Jesus’ answer to this seemingly simple question was the story of the Good Samaritan. In answering the question, “who is my neighbor?” Jesus basically said, “Who do you hate? That’s who you should love!” That’s the heart of God.
I’m not going to retell the events of 1 Samuel 26, today is fairly straightforward. David, again, could have killed Saul, but chose to respect the Lord’s anointed and trusted the Lord’s good judgment (26:9 & 10). Instead, consider David’s actions as an expression of the heart of God.
Imagine, if you could remove your boss, who is not good, from his or her job—without any negative consequences. All you had to do was tell a little white lie, or some other thing that you knew in your heart was wrong. Would you do it? Adding to the question is the fact that, if you remove your boss, you will become the boss, CEO, President, and not to mention, a hero. Your boss was heading downhill and you’re a rising star. Just do the thing you know you shouldn’t do and the position is yours!
In addition to all that, your boss is gunning for you. Your boss wants to see you unemployed, penniless, and out on the street. He or she is ruthless and willing to do anything to accomplish your demise (even destroying others to get to you, cf. 1 Samuel 22). Again, you would face zero negative consequences—it’s all positive. Would you do it then?
That was David’s choice. But do the ends justify the means? God, through the Holy Spirit, impresses upon our hearts a moral consciousness convicting us of right and wrong. He shows us God’s heart in various situations, even calling to mind the Scripture we read (that’s one reason to read it). Ask yourself today, “Who is my neighbor?” “Who is my Saul?” “To whom can I show the heart of God?”
By: Tyler Short