March 22, 2017

Rudy story: Small guy- 5'7” 165 lbs linebacker in high school. He had a dream of going to Notre Dame and playing football. He didn't have the grades or the skill to get in. No one thought that he could do it. He set out to prove them wrong. He worked his tail off to get through junior college and finally after numerous denials, he finally got into ND. From there he worked and worked to get on the practice squad for football and proved himself to his teammates, not through his skill but through his heart. Ultimately, he got his shot to play.

Rudy video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZI63g64kDgY

 

Because of what was on the inside, Rudy could prove his doubters wrong and fulfill his dream of playing for Notre Dame. This story was so uplifting because it shows us that no matter what the world thinks of us, our worth is not in the eyes of other people.

Tonight, we are going to look at a similar situation in the Bible.

1 Samuel 16:7

 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for [a]God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Outward Appearances:

We have a tendency to focus on outward appearances. In many cases, we look at a book and decide by the cover whether we want to read it or not, the same with some movies or TV shows. If something looks good to us we will be more willing to spend our time watching or reading it.

Israel had the same mentality that we do today. They were in a situation after the book of Judges that their government was under the control of God. It was a theocracy. God was their king, and He guided them through prophets and priests. Unfortunately, this was not enough for the Israelites. They wanted to look like the kingdoms around them. They wanted to have an earthly king.

1 Samuel 8: 4- 9 (The Rejection)

The people tell Samuel that they want a king of their own, to judge them. They are rejecting the kingship of God through Samuel and have asked for an earthly man to judge them like the other nations. Their reasoning was that they just went through a pretty rough time in the book of Judges. They were being led by different people and had no established king. There were many wars and battles that they lost because many of the judges were not godly people. After this period, they were led by Samuel, (called by God in chapter 3) but as Samuel had grown old, the people were asking for an earthly king. Instead of focusing on God and his servant, they were focusing on external kingdoms and wanted to look like them.

A lot of times we have this same desire, to look like the rest of the world. We want to dress like them, watch the same movies, talk the same, listen to the same music…because we have this desire to fit in. Because of the Israelites rejection of God’s rule, He allowed them to have a king.

1 Samuel 8:10-22 (The Response)

God tells Samuel to warn the people about what they are doing, and what will happen when they make that decision and he did. The people didn’t care about the consequences because they would look like the other nations. They would have an earthly king like their neighbors and felt that their worth and value as a nation would be equivalent to those   around them. They were only focused on externals. They were not willing to look at themselves and their own people and see that God was their king and that He was blessing and providing for them. So, God’s response to the people was to give them a king exactly like the other nations.

How many times have we done something regardless of the consequences? How many times have our parents, teachers, mentors, friends warned us about something and we went against their advice and did it anyway?

1 Samuel 9:1-2 (The Ruler)

We see here that Saul was chosen based on his looks alone. It says that he was more handsome than any other man in Israel and at least a head taller. According to one source, he would have been around 6’6”. He came from a wealthy family. So, externally he would have been a fantastic choice for king. But, as we saw earlier from 1 Samuel 16:7, God does not judge on the external appearances, but from the heart. Saul was a good king, temporarily. He won several battles and even led the people in a right manner. After time passed though, he became paranoid and made poor decisions.

            In chapter 11 we see that the Israelites went to war with the Ammonites, and just as God had warned the people earlier, Saul required every man to follow him in battle and if they didn’t, he would have them killed. Throughout chapters 11-15 we see the type of man that Saul was. He was a hot head that was led by emotions rather than God. God even gave them a chance to return to Him but they followed their king instead. Saul was given orders to destroy the Amalekites and all their possessions, but instead he kept all the livestock and things of worth. Because of this, Saul was rejected by God as king. In chapter 16, God chooses the king that He wants as opposed to the people.

There are times that we beg for something and go after something that may be against the advice of others. God allows us to do that sometimes just like the Israelites did here. He allows us to go down that road and face the consequences of our choices so that we can learn for ourselves. Like Saul, the choice may look good for a little while, but ultimately, the Israelites suffered because of their decision.

 

1 Samuel 16:7 (The Rightful Replacement)

While Saul was still king, God chose his replacement. He told Samuel to go to Bethlehem, to Jessie to find Saul’s replacement. Jessie had 8 sons, 7 of which were older and seemed to be better choices but all of them were rejected. Instead, God chose the one that no one else would have chosen. God tells Samuel that appearance doesn’t matter, but what is in a man’s heart.

Heart—The Israelites believed that the heart was the place that contains emotions, will, intellect and desires. The heart is what made a man who he was.

1 Samuel 16:12 (The Runt)

These verses describe who David was. He was called a “runt”. When we talk about runts with animals, they are always the smallest of the litter. They are the ones that are the weakest and needing the most attention or they may not survive. So, why would God choose a runt to be the king of His people? We see throughout David’s life that he always sought after God. In his battle with Goliath, he showed no fear because he knew that no one could defeat God. In his times of sin, we see that David always repented of what he did and sought after God again. He was called a man after God’s own heart because of his willingness to repent and follow God’s command.

We don’t have to be talented or excellent at anything to be used by God. It is not what is on the outside of you that God cares about. God cares about your heart and your willingness to follow Him. There is a quote that states, “God doesn’t call the qualified, but qualifies the called.” We don’t have to be anyone special to be useful to God. We don’t have to be great speakers, or talented at sports, writing, speaking, etc. All we have to do is be willing to follow Christ and live for Him.

Don’t let the world tell you that you aren’t good enough to do anything significant. Rudy was told that he was too small and not smart enough to get into Notre Dame, but he proved them wrong. The world will try to tell you that you can’t do anything for God, but you can prove them wrong. God judges a person by their heart. If your heart is willing to follow after Him, He will use you regardless of who you are.

 

 

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