Can the Meditation of Our Hearts Help Predict the Success or Failure of Our Future Relationships? Part 1
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Psalm 19:14; Proverbs 23:7; Proverbs 4:23.
(If you haven’t already, please read: “My Next Project: Understanding Domestic Violence Through The Eyes of Saul, David, and Jonathan”.)
Based on my studies of 1 Samuel, I’m leaning heavily to the conclusion that abusive relationships don’t happen by chance, and I’m prayerfully meditating on how this process occurs from the Bible.
I have really been struck by 1 Samuel 8:4, 5, which says, “Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” There is so much packed into those two verses.
All the elders of Israel knew the standard Samuel had set in leadership as he abided in the Lord. This is why they could say, “thy sons walk not in thy ways.” 1 Samuel 8:5. Notice they said, “thy sons walk not in thy ways” instead of “thy sons walk not in OUR ways.” They, too, were not walking in the ways of the prophet. What were Samuel’s ways?
Samuel said to all Israel, “… I am old and grayheaded; and, behold, my sons are with you: and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day. Behold, here I am: witness against me before the Lord, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you.” “And they said, Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man’s hand. And he said unto them, The Lord is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that ye have not found ought in my hand. And they answered, He is witness.” 1 Samuel 12:1-4. Samuel’s example from his childhood to being gray headed showed that didn’t teach his children to be “turned aside after lucre”, take bribes, and have perverted judgment. Those were not Samuel’s ways. 1 Samuel 8:1-3.
Instead of desiring a return to God’s form of government that Samuel exemplified to all the elders and Israel throughout his life, the elders wanted a different form of government. Why? They wanted to be like “all the nations”. 1 Samuel 8:5. If they were truly wanting a king according to God’s specifications, they would have wanted someone to point them to God’s law. Notice these verses from Deuteronomy 17:14-20:
“When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.”
This is not the kingdom that Israel desired. God said concerning Israel, “…They have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” 1 Samuel 8:7. They weren’t attracted to a form of leadership that Samuel demonstrated, one that was free from oppression and full of God’s wisdom. 1 Samuel 12:1-4. When they said that they wanted to be like “all the nations”, it revealed that their heart’s meditation was to be totally like the world. “…Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Matthew 12:34. As they desired the world, they attracted a despotic, abusive king to be their ruler. It’s interesting that Saul’s spirituality was directly related to Israel’s connection with God. Samuel said, “If ye will fear the Lord, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the Lord your God.” 1 Samuel 12:14. Saul definitely had no excuse to be abusive, and he is individually accountable for his sinful course of action. However, Israel’s lack of desire and total rejection to follow God made Saul king.
Can the meditation of our hearts help predict the success or failure of our future relationships? I think so.
“Who has the heart? With whom are our thoughts? Of whom do we love to converse? Who has our warmest affections and our best energies? If we are Christ’s, our thoughts are with Him, and our sweetest thoughts are of Him.” Steps to Christ, 58.
Does God really sit upon the throne of our heart and our desires? If He doesn’t, how can we be shielded from getting into abusive relationships? Only God can make men and women Christlike, loving servants to each other. Do we need to follow in the footsteps of Israel, or will we learn from their mistakes?
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