Assessments According To God
The AlmightyI Samuel 16:7: "But the Lord said unto Samuel, look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him; for the Lord seeds not as man seeds; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."
God knows all! Consequently there IS that difference between the measuring stick of God and manís measuring stick. Godís judgments and our judgments vary tremendously. The difference lies in the fact that one is the Creator, the other his creaĎion. In fact, it is almost impossible to measure God with man and not to say, in short, that one is perfect, with whom is no variableness, and the other is a sinner, who varies with each "tick of the clock."
In the light of this, I submit to you that Godís measuring stick is of a different gauge than is manís. And because God does have a different type of measuring, we need to be thankful! Let us notice Godís measuring stick in several realms.
This is a measuring stick for those who are rulersóthose in high places. For this we turn as an example to I Samuel, chapter 16. Beginning with verse 1 for the general context:"And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill thine horn with oil, and go . . . I have provided me a King among his sons. And Samuel said, How can I go? If Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the Lord said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the Lord. And call Jesse to the sacrifice and I will shew thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me HIM whom I name unto thee" (vss. 1-3)
I am sure that when Samuel heard those words, he knew then that he was not the one that was choosing the new king. He was only the mediatoróthe one registering Godís decision. And it taught him a lessonóand, I hope, each who reads thisóthat the qualities for a king, or any ruler, one in a high position, are inward, and not bodily. May I repeat: The qualities and the prerequisites for a king (and I insert this as synonymous with present-day rulers, from a nation down to a small Sunday School class) are inward, and NOT bodily.
Listen to the writings in the Proverbs: "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes; but the Lord pondereth the heart" (21:2). The Lord pondereth the heart!
God does not go by outward appearance. Man does! Man does not go by inward appearance; God does! In this lies Godís measuring stick of success.
Would you permit me to say only two words concerning this point? You will recall that there were two words used by God that should not enter into our choosing.
1. Countenance. The Word says, ĎLook not on his coiiii tenance This was the facial expression. Eliab had a good countenanceóhe was rejected. David had a beautiful countenance. God knew the difference. God knew that many times one is fooled by Outward appearances. And that, as the modern proverb has well put it, "Beauty is only skin deep." It is the spiritual countenance that comes forth. And although it is posí sible to deceive man, the Word of God declares that "God is not deceived." Listen to the words in the writings of Luke, 16:15:"And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of the Lord."
So, in our judging, let us be sure that, with Godís help, the true countenance of the heart is reflected.
2. Stature. Samuel was told not to judge Ďthe height of his stature." Man used to believe, and no doubt there are still those who hold, that height means might, greatness. There were many characters in the Bible who excelled in height and were mighty, but, may I hasten to add, many met their end at the hands of someone small. Every time I think of tall men I am reminded of Goliath, a man some nine feet tall; yet, that nine feet went to t4e ground with a mighty crash by a blow delivered by a small boy. On the basis of this and countless others, I say unto you that the Lord uses little Davids to beat mighty Goliaths in the conflict of sin. God can use you! This is the glorious part of manís relation with God.
God has another measuring stick
We turn to the book of Jeremiah to see about Godís measuring stick for prophets. ĎWith the first chapter, verse 4, following, we read:"Then the word of the Lord came tp me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak; for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child; for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I commend thee thou shalt speak. & not afraid of their faces; for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord saith unto me, Behold I have put my words in thy mouth."
Jeremiah was a man thatóby the measuring of the peopleó would not have been called for anything, much less a prophet. He was of a rejected line of priests. In I Kings 2:26 we read:"And unto Abiathar the priest said the King, Get thee to Anaboth, unto thine own fields; for thou are worthy of death." And consequently, Jeremiah was of a banished line. But, in the eyes of God, was he? God looked down and saw Jeremiah as he wasó God knew his heart. God called Jeremiah to perform some workóHis work! The mighty work that we read about in Jere. miah 1:10: "See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to throw down, to build and to plant."
God using the insignificant to conquer the mightyóthis is the way the Lord operates. In the life of this man of whom we speak, God did just that. In his charge we find that his duty was to do four things, namely, (1) root out, (2) pull down, (3) destroy, and (4) throw down. But that was not all. Certainly this was the type of message that Jeremiah had to carry out and voice, but it was also his duty (5) to build and to plant. His mission was one of destruction and construction; that is, before one can plant, one must lint prepare the soil.
The word Jeremiah means "bubble over," and every bornagain believer should be a little Jeremiah, if you please, bubbling over the word of God; bubbling over with a "thus saith the Lord" upon evil acts and also a word of construction, one of really building and planting: building solid lives for Christ and planting others firmly in the faith of the Lord.
My point is this: In the eyes of the Lord, Jeremiah was His man for the hour Oftentimes those whom society marks as not being used by God are the very ones that God can and does use. The Lord is STILL calling men, young people, just as lie did Jeremiah. The work they are called to do is the same as with Jeremiah and others of the past, that of calling men and women to repentance.
You see, God measures differently. God knows what He is doing, and in his selection He chooses from suitable stock. Louis Albert Banks tells of one John Albert, the famous violin maker of Philadelphia, who has been called the "Stradivarius of America," who had great success in making violins which won him fame throughout the world. It was largely due to the fact that he took great care in selecting the wood from which the instruments were to be made. So much depended on the proper wood that Albert sought it out, sometimes, at the risk of his life. Once he lay for weeks between life and death, the victim of an accident sustained in the hunt for a certain wood in an almost impenetrable forest. Often the wood in his possession, with the samÁ characteristics as other woods, was quickly judged by visitors to be just as good as another piece. But Albert knew the difference!
Surely, if this great maker of violins had to pay such great attention to the character of the wood used to construct a violin, to make it a perfect interpreter of musical sounds to the discerning ear, we should not wonder at the care with which God, the truly great maker, seeks to find the individuals that can be used by Him. Those whom God calls into missionary work, or Christian education, or the ministry, to be successful (and I add to be successful, for many turn and are not as dedicated as they should be, a better word yet would be attuned to the call to be used, really used) means that they must be responsive to the slightest touch of the Master.
Society frowned upon Jeremiah; the Lord smiled upon him and called him! In the days of Moses, according to society, Moses could not be used, couldnít speak, yet the Lord provided a way by using his brother Aaaron. This was the case with Peter and John. What could two fishermen do? God measured their lives differently.
We could end up by saying, then, that Godís measuring stick for the prophets and his spokesmen is internal, and not external. This is why manís measuring stick fails when compared with Godís.
Now, briefly, Godís measuring stick
For the World at Large
Turning now to the third aspect of Godís measuring stick, we will label it "World at Large" and see how it also differs.
From Proverbs 21:2 we find: "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord pondereth the hearts." Again, from the same book, 16:2: "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes, but the Lord weigheth the spirits,"
This is a scripture that bears influence: Our ways are clean in our own eyes! And many times in ours alone, not even in our friendsí or our neighborsí. I am persuaded that if we would eliminate the "self," we could accomplish more and we would all be used more of God as Christians. We try to measure ourselves, forgetting that we are being measured by God Almighty. We read a moment ago that every way of a man is right in his own eyes, and how true that is! But also how true s the fact that the eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the good and the evil and pondering the heart.
Many throughout the world, since the beginning of time, have undertaken projects that to them, in their eyes, seemed justified, But these were wrong in the eyes of God. There was the tower of Babel. In the eyes of the people, they were going to accomplish something. They said, "Go to, let us make brick and burn them thoroughly. . . let us build a city and a tower, lest we be scattered abroad the whole face of the earth" (Genesis 11:3, 4). Many were deceived that day, for God knew their hearts and destroyed their work.
Even so, right now the eyes of the Lord are piercing through the plots and plans of people all over the globe, as He knows their acts. And because of the truth that sin brings its judgment, the plans of many are going to come to a halt.
Actually the Lord does see this, but letís illustrate it in this manner. God does not see the cloak of self-righteousness that countless thousands have thrown around themselves. His eyes pierce through and go straight to the soulóHe knows ALL. He knows our inner secrets. It was God who knew the heart of Judas before his betrayal. At the Last Supper, the way of Judas was right in his own eyes, and seemingly in the eyes of others, but the Lord, pondering the heart, knew differently. Proverbs 24:12: "If thou sayest, Behold we knew it not; doth not he that PONDERETH THE HEART consider it? And he that keepeth the soul, doth not he know it . . . "?
It was this fact that caused Jesus to say to Nicodemus that he must be born again because he did not have the new birth. It was this same idea that caused Jeremiah to write, as recorded in chapter 17, verse 10 of the book that bears his name: "I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings."
Oh, when men come to the realization that they are going to receive according to their ways, how they will change! If everyone in our churches actually realized that God knew his heart ó there would be many changes made. FOR "I will render to every man according to his heart."
Do you really believe that at this moment God is searching your heart? He IS judging according to your heart, and not your works or the like.
I agree, friend, that many times we are misunderstood, we have our present motives interpreted wrongly. But may I remind you that there is that appeal to the judge of all . . . the one who really KNOWS the facts!
Godís measuring stick of success1 Remember this, there is a great deal of difference between Godís and manís measuring. The most important thing is the heart. WHY? It is the heart that God ponders. Paul presents it: For with the heart man BELIEVETH UNTO RIGHTEOUSNESS." Have you had the change of heart that only Christ can give? The one thing that the Lord wants is your heart; nothing else you have does he want other than YOURSELF! Christ wants you, your yielded heart. Would you surrender all and resolve to have that change of heart UPON WHICH THE LORD PONDERS? You can by saying:"All to Jesus, I surrender, All to Him I freely give:
I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrtnder all;
All to Thee, my blessed Saviour, I SURRENDER ALL!"
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