The Upper Room Devotion for Wednesday, September 13, 2023, was written by Judi Murphy of Pennsylvania.
1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 2 Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.” 4 Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5 He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord's anointed is now before the Lord.” 7 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 does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 11 Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” 12 He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.
1 Samuel 16:1-13
Several years ago, my husband and I were experiencing a series of difficulties: health issues, car trouble, financial concerns, family drama. One afternoon as I sat sulking, a friend called and announced, "I have to tell you what God has done!" She celebrated several positive life changes as I politely endured her joy. Before hanging up, she said, "My dear, delight yourself in the lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." After the call, I grumbled angrily, "No God will give everyone else the desires of their heart. God never blesses us." But I knew that wasn't true.
My friend's call prompted me to be honest with God. Up to that point, my prayers had been polite and scripted, and I claimed I wanted God's will. But the truth was, I felt abandoned and frustrated, and I wanted things to be easier. As I opened up, I began to see how God was working for my good.
Since then, I have continued to be honest with God, pouring out my heart so that God may refine it. A refined heart celebrates God even in difficult circumstances and desires things of eternal worth, which God is eager to lavish on us.
Pastor Anthony's Thoughts
It may not always feel like it, but God is constantly working for our benefit. It may seem like problem after problem arises, with little relief in sight. Yet, amidst our frustrations and struggles, God is present offering is comfort and direction. We can be honest with God about our hearts frustrations and disappointment, knowing, as Judi states: "A refined heart celebrates God even in difficult circumstances and desires things of eternal worth, which God is eager to lavish on us."
Dear God, thank you for your love for us. Thank you for the good gifts you give us and that in all things you are working for our good. Amen.