Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Misunderstood, a Bible Verse, and a Couple of Books: Part 2, the Bible verse

In Sunday school last week the lesson was about the part of 1 Samuel where Saul becomes king, fails, and David beomes the new king and fights Goliath (for some reason I get an ironic/perverse pleasure linking to lds.org from my blog lol).  Usually the teacher is pretty good, and the ward is not uber-conservative and fairly nonjudgmental.  But this time he skipped over my freakin' favorite verse in the Old Testament and didn't even mention it!!  1 Samuel 16:7... "But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; ... for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."  This verse gives me such comfort.  God doesn't care what I look like or how I present myself to others.  He doesn't care how other people view my actions or lifestyle (ugh, how I hate that word).  He doesn't care if a person has tattoos or body piercings, or how much money they make, or how well they dress.  Heck, he probably doesn't even care that I voted for Obama.  What He cares about is what is in my heart.  He cares that I treat others with kindness and respect.  He cares that I am honest and hard-working.  He cares that I am the best father I can be.  He cares that I love Him and worship Him in my own way, and doesn't place too much importance, I sincerely believe, on the anatomy of the person I happen to love.

There is a lot more from this lesson that demands discussion. For example, does the Lord make mistakes? (1 Samuel 15:11, the Lord says "it repenteth me that I have set Saul to be king").  I'm not sure, but I do believe an omnipotent God can change his mind about things.  Saying he can't would be limiting his power. Also, which is more important, ceremony and ritual (animal sacrifice, in this instance) or obedience?  Samuel says obedience, and I tend to agree...at least as far as what is in our hearts is more important than whether we attend church every Sunday, etc.  But this can be taken way too far, and alot of time it is.  Saul got in trouble for sparing the life of a rival king and keeping some of the animals to sacrifice.  The teacher presented this as Saul did it deliberately as an act of rebellion to make himself look better, but I'm not so sure.  The Lord knows his heart.  Might he have done it out of mercy for his enemy and love for the Lord, even though it was perhaps misguided? In any case, even though he asked forgiveness, the Lord rejected him from being king and Samuel took the rival king and "hewed [him] in pieces before the Lord."  Hmmm...the God I worship and obey is a God of mercy and love, not one that is violent and unforgiving.  Which one do you believe in?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing a good message.

Anonymous said...

Interesting topic.

I agree that God doesn't look at our outer appearance but inside our hearts.

However, is it okay for us to go to church naked since God doesn't care how we present ourselves to others?


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