Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. —I Samuel 15:23
“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. —I Samuel 16:7
The Lord sees man differently than man sees man. Man can only see the outwardness of a man— his looks and his actions. But the Lord sees the heart of a man. He understands the motives and intent of the heart.
We are told that rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft. This is how serious sin is. Do we understand this? Being stubborn is as bad as worshipping idols. These are heart issues and this is what the Lord sees. Men’s actions may look good to men, but what do they look like to God. He is not fooled by the outward hypocrisy of men. He knows exactly what a man truly is!
Look what the Holy Spirit leads the apostle Paul to say in I Corinthians 4:1-5— “So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Now it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. I care very little, however, if I am judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not vindicate me. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
What is Paul saying? There are people who may judge us, but what really counts is when the Lord judges us. People do not know our heart. We don’t even fully know our heart. But the Lord fully knows our heart and it is Him we are going to give an account to. It is true that “by their fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 7:15-20), but the context of this statement is identifying true and false prophets. It does not mean that you will know everything about a person, but it does mean that you can tell if the person truly follows the Lord or not.
When the Lord judges us on that “day” He will not just judge the actions, but He will judge the motives behind the actions. Which of us have pure motives all the time? If Paul said that “My conscience is clear, but that does not vindicate me,” what does that mean about us? Just because we have a clear conscience does not mean that we are completely innocent. The motives of our heart may not be right and only the Lord can judge that 100% accurately.
These are pretty serious statements: “Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.” We are to make “judgments” but let us do so with great care. The motive for our making “judgment” may not even be pure. As best as we can, let our motives be God-honoring. In that day “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.” Seek to be faithful with right motive!
Dear Father may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. Oh, that I would seek to honor You with my actions and the motives behind them. So be it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlSmG-_eJTU