Friday, January 18, 2008

God Is Searching For Willing Hearts

Many people answered the call to the singing competition. People of all walks of life came to compete, however most of them were younger and attractive. Almost at the end, a middle age man walked in. He was short, heavy set, and average looking. The man was also soft spoken and he did not look straight at the judges when he spoke. You could tell by the looks their faces the judges’ did not seem impressed. It was as if they were thinking, “One more guy that thinks he can sing.” The main judge said to the man, “OK, start when ever you are ready.” However, the tone of his voice said, “Let’s get it over with.” The music of the aria “Nessun Dorma” started; one judge slouched in his seat, the other one yawned, and the third judge started doodling. Out of the gentleman’s mouth came out one of the most beautiful operatic voice ever heard. The slouched judge immediately straightened up, the one that yawned now seemed awoke, and the doodling one, put his pencil down and looked straight at the singer. The judges, who were known for their mean sarcastic remarks, could not praise this gentleman more. They had counted him off because of his looks, but when what was on the inside came out they realized that you should never “judge a book by its cover.”

The prophet Samuel had a similar experience. When God rejected Saul as King, God instructed Samuel to anoint Saul’s replacement. God gave specific instructions to Samuel to go to the house of Jesse in Bethlehem of Judah. Once there God would tell Samuel which of Jesse’s sons would be King. Samuel seemed impressed with all of them, especially the oldest one, however God said to Samuel about him, “…Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Samuel prayed about all seven of Jesse’s sons that were present, but the Lord did not choose any of them.

Samuel was perplexed. We read in verse 11 what follows,

1 Samuel 16:11 And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.
1 Samuel 16:12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.
1 Samuel 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

God chose who, to human eyes, was most unlikely to be king. While Saul rebelled against God, David submitted himself to God. While Saul refused to trust and depend on God, David lived a life of trust and dependence on God. David was chosen because he was willing to listen and heed God’s word.

Christ also used these criteria – willingness to listen and heed - to choose His disciples. He chose as His disciples outcasts of society, simple uneducated men, and others who were considered accursed and beyond the grace of God. But, unlike men, God looked at their heart. He chose men who would be willing to listen and heed His word. God chose men who were willing to live trusting and depending on Him entirely.

However the disciples were not called at the exclusion of others. When the disciples became apostles, God use them to call others themselves. Paul writes in Romans 8: 29 – 30,

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

We all know God foreknew all of us, in fact the whole world. This means the whole world is predestinated for Salvation, which means He called the whole world, which means He justified the whole world. However, only those who accept the call will accept the justification, therefore only they will be glorified. Will you accept the call?