If you have been following along with me and my granddaughter on our quest to memorize 66 Bible verses together, you may either be glad that you’re doing it with us – or, whew, really thankful you didn’t try to take this one on for yourself! It’s definitely a big and lofty goal.
Kynzie and I are coming right along, and we’ve already memorized a verse from one-third of the Old Testament books! Yet, the value of this commitment isn’t in how we’ve started, or even how far we’ve already come.
The real reward will come when we finish.
These next two verses in our series of 66 come from the record of the life of Samuel, Israel’s last judge. Dedicated to God’s service by his mother, Hannah, Samuel was a man of prayer who finished the work of the judges, began the ministry of Israel’s prophets, and anointed Israel’s first kings.
It’s here in the books of Samuel that we read the stories of Saul, Israel’s first king, who started strong but ended poorly – and David, Saul’s successor, who sinned, repented, and became described as a man after God’s own heart.
While there are several other apparent themes woven into the Biblical tapestry of these two books, it’s the whole starting and finishing theme that sticks out most to me at this point in my life. When I was in the third grade, like my granddaughter is right now, I barely thought past the smell of the homemade rolls in the cafeteria! My to-do list (if I even had one) would have included maybe two things: play with friends and write in diary.
These two verses make up another pretty short list – the things that matter most to God.
As I attempt to convey the deep and abiding concepts of these two verses to my granddaughter, I want her, as fully as possible, to grasp that these are those two things.
Her and her heart.
One of the things that makes memorizing easier for me is the actual visualization of the words on the pages of my Bible. I’ve always been a visual learner. For Kynzie to memorize these verses, however, the process is way more verbal. Which is WAY FUN. The way she actually PRONOUNCES these words that are unfamiliar to her elementary vocabulary is part of the joy of hearing her say them.
As she added an extra syllable –
– I had no desire to correct her. In fact, that’s how we’ve pronounced the word ever since! This is one of our favorite verses, partly because we remember it so easily, and partly because it’s just so amazing. Only God can see straight through our outward pretense to our innermost heart! And no matter how someone else might judge us from our outward appearance, God knows our hearts! Though Samuel thought God would choose Eliab to be the anointed king, it was David, the one who might have been considered least likely. But it was David’s heart that qualified him and made him fit to be Israel’s king.
We can and certainly should pray for our grandchildren to make good grades, get well when sick, and be successful in their sport. But, if we’re really going to make a difference in their lives, we should be praying for their hearts. We need to pray fervently that when they sin, they will quickly repent. We need to look up from our pillows into the dark of every sleepless night and pray that they’ll be leaders, like David, whose heart was what found favor with God.
Once when I was visiting with an older, wiser, been-through-it-all kind of woman, she told me that as her son and daughter were finishing high school and making some good decisions and some bad ones, she and her husband threw themselves into fervent prayer for their children. Each time someone new came into their lives, someone they feared might contribute nothing good, and every time a life-altering decision must be made by these children whom they loved, they prayed the same thing: “O Lord, if this is not your best plan, please make a way.” They were praying for God’s devising ways and trusting in the sovereignty of his plan.
How comforting that God doesn’t give up on us – and he won’t give up on our grandchildren, either. No matter how banished they think they might be – no matter how far they may seem to have gone – no matter how much drifting they have done, God will make a way for their prodigal hearts to return home.
God Will Make a Way by Don Moen
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way