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"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.”

First Mention of Heart in the Bible

Genesis 6:5-6 is the first mention of the heart - man and God in the Bible. It is a sad commentary on the state of man: "every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart."

Character

The heart is used metaphorically to describe being human (in Bible language as flesh or body) and personality or character.

Asaph writes in Psalm 73:26, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever". 

Speaking about moral qualities is spoken about in Psalm 131:1 where David writes,  "O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me". 

Eliab accuses David his youngest brother of displaying wickedness when he says,  "I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”

God through the mouth of Isaiah the prophet declares in regards to the follow of idol worship, "He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray"  (Isaiah 44:20)

Again God comments through Jeremiah the prophet that, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind" (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

We are called to "seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deut 4:29) and "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might" (Deut 6:5).

Thought, Intellect and Memory

According to the idiom of the Bible, thinking is a function of the heart. 

Asaph the psalmist writes in Psalm 77:6, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.” Then my spirit made a diligent search". 

Silent prayer to God is described often as in the heart. For example,

"Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard" (1 Samuel 1:13).

"But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart" (Luke 2:19). 

Emotions

The heart is often used to denote the origins of emotions. 

God in conversation with Moses says about the joy Aaron would experience, "Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart" (Exodus 4:14).

We are warned not to “hate your brother in your heart" (Leviticus 19:17).

Fear is expressed as "hearts melt" when describing the emotion of the children of Israel when viewing "the hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God" promised them (Deut 1:28).

The heart is descried as the centre of desire, both negative and positive. Negative in relationship to the incident of Shechem (Genesis 34:3,8) and positive by David as he wrote in Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart".

Intent or Will

Jesus reminds us that "what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false  witness, slander" (Matthew 15:19). Pharaoh is a classic example, being described as having a "hard heart" when it comes to his determination not to let the children of Israel leave Egypt (Exodus 4:14, 21; 7:3; 8:15).

It's not all doom and gloom. God commends those "every man whose heart moves him" to make a gift to Him in Exodus 25:2. 

God's Heart

Genesis 6:6 notes that the "Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart."

Hosea 11:8-9 notes "My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my burning anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a man". 

Interested in a Remedy for Spiritual Heart Disease?

"How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:9-11).

"Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!" (Psalm 139:23-24) 

"God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith" (Acts 15:8-9).

Heart Shape made with the hands

Inspired by the Bible Class by I Prentice and the entry for Heart in the book "Dictionary of Biblical Imagery: An Encyclopaedic Exploration Of The Images, Symbols, Motifs, Metaphors, Figures Of Speech, Literary Patterns And Universal Images Of The Bible" 

Background

God always reveals how he wants his people to live and how worship Him. 

Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do...” 

The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” Exodus 24:3, 12

We often have such short memories, forgetting God

God led his people through the wilderness as a pillar of cloud / fire.

"And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night". Exodus 13:21 

Today he leads us through the words of the Old and New Testament of Holy Scriptures.

Moses was gone 40 days and the people forgot their God and His ways, angering God. This brought consequences on the people who chose to turn away from the worship of the true God to the gods of Egypt.

"When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him...”

God said to Moses, "They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it" 

"the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book"

Exodus 32:1, 8, 33

God has promised the return of the Lord Jesus from heaven to the earth to set up the kingdom (Acts 1:11). Do we sometimes forget and return to the ways that are tempting and contrary to God's ways, forgetting who is leading us?

Let's be God Guided

We need to be guided by God's guide in our beliefs, values, behaviour. How do we do this? By reading and being guided by God's words. Let us be guided by Jesus' and the Berean followers examples:

Examples from the life of Jesus

Jesus answered using examples from Holy Scriptures - God's words. For example,

"the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”  But he [Jesus] answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
 but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:3-4

Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” Matthew 22:29-32

Example from the Believers from Berea

"received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so" Acts 17:11

Let us remove the golden calves from our lives

God wants us to search our own hearts, consider what might be our golden calf(s), work to destroy these idols / temptations and return to him.

"What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 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"...  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded..  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:1-4, 8 & 10

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus... he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Philippians 2:5-11

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

Representation of the golden calf from Exodus 32

 

Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him

"And there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel. The man was very rich; he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. He was shearing his sheep in Carmel. Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was discerning and beautiful, but the man was harsh and badly behaved; he was a Calebite" (1 Samuel 25:2-3).

David arrived with his men - all outlaws at this time running from the persecution of the new King Saul. The party arrive on a feast day (v8) and David sends a message to Nabal the own to the area they were in:

Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. I hear that you have shearers. Now your shepherds have been with us, and we did them no harm, and they missed nothing all the time they were in Carmel. Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come on a feast day. Please give whatever you have at hand to your servants and to your son David.’” (1 Samuel 25:6-8)

The answer from Nabal illuminates his character:

Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants these days who are breaking away from their masters. Shall I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to men who come from I do not know where?” (1 Samuel 25:11-12)

This echoes the words of Psalms 73:7-8:

Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.

A Commandment for the Ages: Supporting those in Needs in Your Community

God had always encouraged those who where His people to provide support for the widow, fatherless, Levite and the stranger that were living among them, especially at the end of tithing, eg. Deuteronomy 26:11-23 and Nehemiah 8:10

“Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

The Faithful Wife of a Wicked Man

Nabal was married to Abigail, a faithful God focused woman. She followed God's footsteps with bravery and did the right thing regardless of her husband's bad behaviour. We should do likewise.

"Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves and two skins of wine and five sheep already prepared and five seahs of parched grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on donkeys...

Please forgive the trespass of your servant. For the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord, and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live." (1 Samuel 25:18 &28)).

Wheat

Running away is not a Solution

"Now it came about in the days when the judges governed, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the land of Moab with his wife and his two sons". Ruth 1:1 

It is better to learn to live with each other, even through the trials of life.

Romans 15: Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.

The Gospel is Preached to the Whole World

Running away by Elimelech, Naomi, Marlon and Chillion led to the preaching of the everlasting Gospel to Ruth, a native of Moab. Ruth took on the faith revealed to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) and she appears in the line of Jesus Christ,

"Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab,
Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth...
 Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary,
by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah."  
Matthew 1:1-16

Ruth 1:16-17

Greetings Reveal Your Values and Identity

Boaz said “May the Lord be with you.”
And they said to him, “May the Lord bless you.”
Ruth 2:4

What does your greetings say about you?

Ruth 2

Boaz as Kinsman-Redeemer

In Job 19:25, Psa 19:4, Psa 78:35, Isa 41:14 and many more Scriptures, God is revealed as the Redeemer of His People. The Lord Jesus Christ followed his Father's example as did Boaz in his daily life revealed in the Book of Ruth.

Ruth 2:21-22 reminds us that we need to stay close to our God, the Lord Jesus and our ecclesial home.

‘You should stay close to my servants until they have finished all my harvest.’” Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his maids, so that others do not fall upon you in another field.”

"I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments" Exodus 6:6

This is the first use of the word arm in the Bible, God offers redemption to his people Israel. 

The Stretched out Arm - A Metaphor for the Power and Salvation of God

From Exodus to Ezekiel the phrase "stretched out arm" is used of our God 14 times in the King James version.

  • "redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments" Exodus 6;6
  • "by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm"  Deuteronomy 4:34
  • "Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm" Deuteronomy 5:15
  • "the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the Lord thy God brought thee out" Deuteronomy 7:19
  • "they are thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm." Deuteronomy 9:29
  • "Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out armDeuteronomy 11:2
  • "they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm" 1 Kings 8:42
  • "Lord, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm" 2 Kings 17:36
  • "for thy great name's sake, and thy mighty hand, and thy stretched out arm" 2 Chronicles 6:32
  • "With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever" Psalm 136:12
  • " Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee... brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out armJeremiah 32:17 & 21
  • "As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm... will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm" Ezekiel 20:33-34

 

Man's arm

I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed - پیران را در میان شما نصیحت می‌کنم، من که نیز با شما پیر هستم و شاهد بر زحمات مسیح و شریک در جلالی که مکشوف خواهد شد. (1 Peter 5:1) 

The Apostle Peter is a very relatable character, someone who made many mistakes (as we all do), but someone who learned  through correction and reflection how to walk in Christ's footsteps.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. پس زیرِ دست زورآورِ خدا فروتنی نمایید تا شما را در وقت معیّن سرافراز نماید.  و تمام اندیشهٔ خود را به وی وا گذارید، زیرا که او برای شما فکر می‌کند. (1 Peter 5:6-7)

Jesus and the disciples "left Judea and went away again to Galilee. And He had to pass through Samaria" (v3-4).

Jesus sent the twelve disciples out at the beginning of his ministry instructing them, saying, “Do not go on a road to Gentiles, and do not enter a city of Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 10:5-6). This preaching to the Jew first and then non-Jew was a practice also followed by the Apostle Paul later on. By the time recorded in John 4, Jesus specifically goes out of his way to pass through the land of Samaria.

"The pregnant phrase to underline in the incident at Sychar’s well which is so rich in spiritual instruction, is the announcement John gives at the beginning of the chapter, namely, “He must needs go through Samaria.” Why the necessity? While this was the shortest and most usual road for a traveler going from Galilee to Jerusalem (Luke 9:52), the Pharisees avoided this customary route, and took a longer, round-about one through Peraea. They did this in order to avoid any contact with the Samaritans with whom, as Jews, they had no dealings. While the Jews and the Samaritans were physically alike in many ways, requiring the same food, following the same occupations, having the same hopes and ambitions, and suffering the same diseases, yet there was a racial hatred that kept them apart."
Lockyer's All the Women of the Bible

Jesus said to the woman "...whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never be thirsty; but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to eternal life" (v14). 

God in Jeremiah 2:13 declares that he is "The fountain of living waters". This is repeated again in Jeremiah 17:13 "fountain of living water, that is the Lord"

Jesus in John 7:37-38 stood and cried to the children of Israel, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”

The people of Samaria said "we have heard for ourselves and know that this One truly is the Savior of the world" (v42).

Here is a reminder of the promise made to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 that "in you all the families of the earth will be blessed". God's promise has always encompassed both Jew and non Jew. 

If we take on Christ through belief, changed life and then baptism, "then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise" (Galatians 3:.27-29)

Israel scene

We always commence our memorial meeting with a hymn and prayer. This is always following with two portions of Scripture. Today we read Isaiah 30 and Hebrews 13. This is followed with a prayer and then the words of exhortation, followed by the baptised members taking of bread and wine following the example and command in 1st Corinthians 11. It is exciting today that we are trying out Farsi translation on Zoom.

We are living in times of huge fear throughout the whole world, specifically related to the Covid 19 virus.

Did you know that the first time fear is mentioned is in Genesis 3 - Adam "said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." Fear emerged in response to the disobedience of Adam and Eve to God's commandments.

Without God and his guidance revealed in the Bible there is much fear in our lives. However God provides words of comfort and a way of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ's sacrifice. Did you know that  "Fear Not" appears 58 times and "Be not afraid" appears 22 times in the Bible.

Let us remember that Jesus said, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" Luke 12:32. 

Now the God of peace... Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Grace be with you all. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20 & 25)

Bread and Wine

One such example of the use of feet metaphorically is in regards to the turning away from God's ways:

"Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.  Isa 59:7-8

Thus says the LORD concerning this people: “They have loved to wander thus; they have not restrained their feet; therefore the LORD does not accept them; now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.” Jer 14:10

And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Matthew 10:11-14

Your challenge is to explore the Bible further to locate examples of the Lord Jesus Christ and feet!

Proverbs 15:33

Hope

"But you are a CHOSEN race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9)

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3)

Humility

"...whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45)

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." (Matthew 5:5)

"You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.  If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them." (John 13:1-17)

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God? (Mic 6:8)

We are considering the example of the life of the Apostle Paul as we come to rededicate our life to following Jesus Christ and our God through the memorial bread and wine.

2 Tim 4:5