One Sunday a preacher took to the pulpit two jars and sat them on a table. They looked identical. “These jars,” he told the congregation, “came from the same factory. They were made of the same materials. And they hold the same amount of liquid. But they are different.”
Then he upset the first jar and out oozed honey. It was thick, sweet and appetizing. When he turned over the second jar vinegar spilled out. It was watery thin, sour and had an unpleasant smell.
“Until the jars were turned over,” the preacher observed, “they looked alike. The difference was within. And it was unseen. But when they were upset, their contents were revealed.”
With this simple, but powerful illustration the preacher pointed out that it is possible to put on a good front. Look good on the outside. But, often times when we’re upset our true nature within us is revealed.
It reminds me of the Samuel’s statement when he came to the house of Jesse looking to anoint the first King of Israel. When the prophet saw Eliab he said “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!”
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (I Sam. 16:6-7)
As it turned out 7 sons of Jesse passed before the prophet, and none were chosen by the Lord. No doubt perplexed, the prophet asked, “Are these all of the children?” Of course, there was the youngest, David, tending sheep in the pasture. And he was the one God chose. Samuel couldn’t see what was inside the boys. But God could.
Later in Israel’s war with the Philistines, we see what was inside the boys. Jesse’s three oldest sons were soldiers in Saul’s army. At one point Jesse sent David to take his brothers some provisions and to return with news about how they were doing.
When David arrived, he heard the bombastic challenge of the giant Goliath. Daily the Philistine champion mocked Israel’s men with a winner take all battle. 1 Samuel 17 records how the soldiers recoiled at Goliath’s rant. They all ran. Including David’s three older brothers.
They actions and conversations with the brothers showed what was inside them. Fear. Doubt. And even anger, jealousy and insolence toward David when he appeared at the battleground. Yet, the young shepherd boy displayed courage, confidence and faith when he bravely confronted the vulgar giant and ultimately defeated him.
This one incident demonstrated what was within the sons of Jesse. Samuel couldn’t see it. But God did.
Later, David is identified in Scripture as “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). As we get to know David through the Psalms, we understand why. He loved God. Mediated on the Word of God. And worked to develop a relationship with God.
Consider these three quotes by David that show what was in his heart.
“Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” (Ps 119:11)
“Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.” (Ps 119:97)
“As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Ps 42:1)
When you are pressed by the enemy, pressured by problems, and upset with others, what comes out of you? Anger? Sarcasm? Unwholesome words?
Or does your faith in God flow forth with love, joy and peace?
Remember what you’re putting inside yourself, is what will come out when you’re upset!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman