Today’s Reading: 1 Sam 16:1–23, James 4:1–17, Ps 119:137–15
Today’s Theme: Exaltation from God
We should wait for and seek exaltation from God. When God exalts you He will also enable you by His Spirit. Don’t love the world, instead humble yourself before God and He will exalt you in due time.
1 Samuel 16:1–23
God knows the heart
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)
Man is limited in his insight and understanding. Often we can only go by what we see externally. Appearances can easily lead us astray.
Like Samuel we may even look at something God used before like the shear size of Saul and just assume that will work in the same way again.
God informs Samuel of man’s limitations and prejudice and let’s Samuel know that God is the only one that can look at a person and see them fully, right down to their heart.
God knows our motives and intentions. He is intimately acquainted with our affections and allegiances and is best placed to make choices for and give guidance to our lives.
Jesus knew men’s hearts in John 2:24 proving that He is God. We also read in Revelation 2:23 “…I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.”
We must determine to live in honesty and purity before God. Hypocrisy and compromise is a fool’s game because God knows every man’s heart.
God’s Enabling Spirit
Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. 1 Samuel 16:13 (ESV)
God’s Spirit came or rushed upon David from the day of his anointing. This is where the truth about being anointed by the Holy Spirit comes from.
When God anoints us for service He does not just call or send us. He gives us His Spirit to enable us to accomplish the task He has set before us.
This reminds us that David needed the Holy Spirit. He was not good enough in himself. We of course also need the Holy Spirit to live for God.
Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 1:21–22 “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”
John tells us in 1 John 2:27 “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.”
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:3 (ESV)
This is why we need God’s Holy Spirit, our hearts without God are selfish. The world around us wants us to covet and be in competition with everyone else.
If we say prayers to God with selfish motives, greedy and covetous hearts then we will not receive anything from God. We can not hold God to ransom, as we read in Samuel, God knows the heart.
God knows our hearts when we pray and will answer accordingly. This is why we need the Holy Spirit to help us pray.
Praying with an evil heart is pointless. We need to humble ourselves and submit to God’s word and Spirit before we even begin to pray effectively.
Do not love the world
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4 (ESV)
When this verse mentions the world it is not talking about the physical world which is part of God’s good creation, or love for humans who are created in God’s image. Instead it is talking about the desires, influences and structures that draw a person away from God.
We must avoid a way of life in opposition to, or in disregard of God and His kingdom. So the danger for us is neither delight in the physical world nor love for humanity in its fallenness. Instead it is an attitude toward either the physical or the social world that puts it in the place of God.
Humility and Submission
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:10 (ESV)
We must humble ourselves before God. Submit to God and resist the devil, we need to make an effort to draw near to God and walk in purity. We should live like this and the Lord will exalt us. Exaltation and promotion comes from the Lord.
Psalm 119: 137–15
Love God’s Promises
Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it. Psalm 119:140 (ESV)
God’s promises and decrees are not like man’s, they are tried and tested. We can depend on God’s word and we should love the promises of God’s word because we love God.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on James 4
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