The Depths of the Heart: A glimpse. 377. April 21, 2022

Updated: Apr 23



KEY SCRIPTURE I Samuel 30:22-24

Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart. Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the Lord hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand. For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.


APPLICATION

Today, our story is similar to Jesus' parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13. It is also similar to some of the seven churches in Revelation 1-3. In many groups, certain instances reveal the wheat and the tares— two diametrically opposed peoples that look the same. Believers are the wheat while unbelievers the tares.


In the parable, Jesus cautioned listeners not to go on witch hunts looking for the tares in the congregation, as they might damage or even destroy the faith of true believers in the process. He said to leave it until later when the judges at the end will identify the two contrasting natures and separate them.


For instance, Jesus allowed Judas, who eventually betrayed Him, to remain with the team until an offer Judas couldn't refuse revealed his true nature. He then led the Roman soldiers to capture and kill the only person who could save him, his lust being too powerful.


The disciples would have seen little things that were 'odd' with Judas. You know, those gut feelings we have when something is not quite right. Maybe some of the more astute disciples mentioned instances to Jesus, but He may have said, "Leave it. Give him a chance."


Our key scripture reveals a similar scenario in the Old Testament, where an instance revealed the inner workings of hearts, and from there, two groups were born and separated.


While still on the run from King Saul, David laid low in a town called Ziklag. By this time, David had married Abigail, former wife of the surly Nabal, after he died. Ziklag was an Israelite town taken when Joshua led his warriors across the Jordan River to take Canaan for God. But now, many years later, it was back under Philistine control. The local Philistine king gave Ziklag to David and his 600 or so people, probably to keep peace with him. David could be a fierce opponent.


While David and his troops were out one day, the Amalekites attacked Ziklag, burning it to the ground and taking all the people captive, including Abigail. The Amalekites often preyed on the weak and were relentless enemies of Israel, to the degree that God said to blot their names out from under heaven. (Deuteronomy 25:17-19)


When David returned and saw the devastation, they all "lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep."


Then David inquired of God whether to pursue; such was his control and acknowledgment that the Lord was his strength and guide . Most of us would have picked up our swords without thought or without asking God. When God said yes, David took up the chase, found all the captives safe, slaughtered the kidnappers, and took the booty.


Here is where the crux of our story enters. Because David was a righteous leader, hundreds of down-and-outers came to him for comfort and protection. He took them all in. Churches often do the same thing, don't they? Preferring not to discriminate.


However, when David divided the booty, the true nature of his followers revealed themselves, as with Judas. From then a group were named "men of Belial", meaning worthless. Their greed and self-righteousness finally shone through. They didn't want to share the booty with those who didn't fight in battle. Meaning those who were weary and commanded by David to remain with the goods and supplies should not get paid the same amount. In fact, they sought to kick them out of the group altogether. In a type of corporate takeover, they tried to influence David the chairman to 'cut the weak from the herd.' An abominable state of mind and a trap into which we can all fall. That is, until we ourselves get tired, sick or 'weak'.


Even in recent wars, many people don't directly fight in battles, such as logistics and transport personnel, doctors and nurses, orderlies, and others. What if those in action said, "They didn't fight, so they shouldn't get paid as much?" or "Let's get rid of them, they're a waste of good resources."


As money did to Judas, so it did to these people. In Matthew 6:24 Jesus warns his disciples, "No man can serve two masters....Ye cannot serve God and money." And a lascivious master money can be!


The men of Belial could hide their lust no longer. The offer they couldn't refuse finally came up and, in doing so, separated them from the rest of the company. From there, the awkwardness would have set in when talking to them. You know, where your heart doesn't treat them the same anymore. The trust is gone.


David, wise even in his young age, straightened out the controversy. But wouldn't it have been better not to arise at all? What did it do to the morale of the troops? How could they fight side-by-side in one accord? Like Judas and the disciples, with different hearts and ideals, they couldn't be in one accord any longer.


Have you got any issues that are just waiting for an offer they can't refuse? Is there anything in your makeup that will reveal itself most embarrassingly at a time?


For this very reason, David asked the Lord to "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24. It's a good prayer for us to pray.


PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I would request that you search my heart and reveal my inner faults so I can repent and clean them up. I don't want anything coming up when I least expect it, ruining my relationships with others.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema