God views the heart

The sermon this week focused on Solomon and how he pursued wisdom. Something else jumped out at me, though. It’s an affirmation of something that we all know in terms of head knowledge, but fail to turn into heart knowledge oftentimes: God cares more about your heart than he does about your actions.

An insincere heart would read that statement and think, “So I can have a heart devoted to God, and still do whatever I want… Awesome.” That, however, would betray the heart as insincere. A heart devoted to God will not seek to do whatever it wants, but will seek to do what God wants. The intention will be there, even if the proper actions aren’t. Like in this story of Solomon from 1 Kings 3:1-14.

At this time. the Israelites were worshiping at the ‘high places’, altars to foreign gods that had been built on hills and plateaus in the past. Israel had strayed from God for so long that many people no longer knew that, according to God’s law, the only proper place to offer a sacrifice to the Lord was in Jerusalem. Solomon was no different. For much of his life, everyone had sacrificed to God at the high places. Why should he do any differently? Yet, because his heart was so sincere, this passage tells us that God looked at Solomon and was pleased with the intention of his heart, even though, according to the letter of the law, Solomon had sinned by not sacrificing in Jerusalem.

The moral of the story – don’t get hung up on what’s “proper”. When your actions are governed by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, there is no law against them.

Peace.

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