For the Lord Sees Our Heart
Fourth Sunday of Lent
SUNDAY, March 19
1 Samuel 16:1-13
I often suppose my judgments about things are right. I’m sure most people feel the same way (about their own judgments, not mine!).
Yet as time goes on and I learn more about a person or situation,
I frequently realize my initial assumption lacked an understanding
of God’s perspective.
In our passage today, we see several ways the prophet Samuel misunderstood God’s perspective: he showed grief regarding Saul’s rejection (v. 1), a lack a trust in God’s protection (v. 2), and a lack of judgment regarding Israel’s next king (vv. 6-7). Yet the passage reminds us, “The LORD does not see as mortals see; . . . but the LORD looks at the heart” (v. 7).
Let this passage encourage us to see ourselves not as the world sees us but as God sees us.
God, help me to cultivate your perspective of myself and others. Transform and shape my heart to love you fully. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: RELEASE FROM OUR NEED TO CONTROL
Correctly Judging Ourselves
MONDAY, March 20
I like to swim. I also wear eyeglasses. If you have ever lost your eyeglasses at the bottom of a swimming pool, you know it is a helpless feeling. What you need is for someone with good eyesight to come alongside you and help you find your glasses.
Our passage today is similar. The goal is to help our brothers and sisters see clearly, without “the speck” in their eye (v. 4). But in order to do that, we must first take the log out of our own eye (v. 5). We need humility and grace to see our own sins, so we can help others see clearly the beauty and truth of God’s love.
God, give me the humility and courage to recognize my own sins and shortcomings. Help me to have abundant grace toward others as we point each other toward the cross of Jesus. AMEN.
Discerning the Right Path
TUESDAY, March 21
Several years ago, my wife and I went hiking through a heavily wooded state park. As we entered the trail, we saw a broad, wide path straight in front of us. Everything looked peaceful and serene—a beautiful path for hiking. Yet we missed seeing something important: the correct path!
The real path had veered steeply off to the left, but we were so enamored with the one in front of us that we never thought to look around. After beating through brush for several hours, we discovered
our wrong path was actually carved by water drainage from a highway.
The way of Jesus might not appear initially impressive. But Jesus says in John 10:9, “I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture.”
God, help me to clearly see the narrow path that leads to you, the gate to eternal life. Give me the compassion to point others to the path that leads to you. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: PEOPLE IN WAR-TORN AREAS OF THE WORLD
Seeing the Works of Jesus
WEDNESDAY, March 22
This story of Jesus giving sight to a blind man is remarkable. Physically impossible, this healing can only be a miracle from God. I’ve personally never witnessed a healing on this level, where a person born blind suddenly and supernaturally receives sight. However, I think many of us have witnessed something even more remarkable. For Jesus gives sight not only to the man physically blind, but he gives sight to those who are spiritually blind as well.
When the Apostle Paul converted to Christ, Jesus sent him to the nations in order to open people’s eyes, “so that they may turn from darkness to light” (Acts 26:18). Those of us who belong to Jesus have been called by God “out of darkness and into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Praise God that he opens the eyes of the spiritually blind.
Thank you, God, for opening my eyes and allowing me to see the light of your gospel and grace. AMEN.
The One Thing We Know
THURSDAY, March 23
Over the years, I have had friends who did not believe in God. In our conversations, they would ask questions about God that I did not know how to answer. In our reading this week, the man healed by Jesus was also asked a question he did not know how to answer. However, the man responded with one thing he did know: “Though I was blind, now I see” (v. 25).
We will never fully know or understand everything about God. But that should not prevent us from saying what we do know—that though we were blind, now we can see! God has given each of us a story of our faith. Rather than fixating on the questions we do not know how to answer, let us instead speak about how God has opened our eyes.
God, thank you for my experience of your goodness and grace.
Give me the conviction to tell others your life-changing story. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: SURVIVORS OF NATURAL DISASTERS
Judging the Depths of Sin Within
FRIDAY, March 24
Several years ago, some friends and I decided to meet once a week for a three-month study in order to grow spiritually. My friends wanted to study the issue of “pride” and how it affects our lives. I remember thinking that three months of studying pride sounded like overkill—surely we could sufficiently cover that topic in a couple of weeks! After three months, however, I realized I had barely scratched the surface of understanding the pride within my heart.
It is dangerous to assume that we have adequately recognized the depth of our own pride and sin. Such self-righteousness hinders us from fully turning to God in repentance. Jesus tells the Pharisees that because they claim to see, their sin actually remains.
God, help me to see the depth of my blindness and my dependence on you. AMEN.
The Light of Truth
SATURDAY, March 25
When a room is completely dark, a mirror is useless. It is impossible to judge how you look in that moment. You must turn on the light in order to see your face. Light tells us the truth about ourselves.
Our passage today tells us that we were darkness, but now in the Lord we are light (v. 8). Christ’s light has been revealed to us and we are able to see and walk in the clarity of God’s will. The more we pursue the light of Christ, the more our lives are transformed to reflect his light to those around us.
God, help me to see clearly the path that leads to you. Help me to live in your light so that others can see the light of Christ within me. AMEN.
PRAYER FOCUS: NATIONS’ COMMITMENT TO REDUCE POLLUTION