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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

April 15, 2024

Rēad to Read …Again

Daily Reading: I Kings 8-9


I Kings 8:39

Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)


Do you remember the man called Nathanael in the New Testament? His story is told in John 1. Many Bible scholars think that Nathanael is Bartholomew, the apostle and partner with Philip. But this we do know for a fact, Nathanael doubted the messiahship of Jesus saying, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? (John 1:46). Philip invited him to “come and see.”  Nathanael did. As soon as Jesus saw him, the Lord stated: Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael, never having met the Lord, asked how He knew him.  To which the Lord uttered those amazing words, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. (John 1:48).


Great, preacher, what does that have to do with I Kings 8:39? It proves that the Lord and He alone knows the heart of every man. Jesus communicated two things to Nathanael. One was that Nathanael was an Israelite who possessed no guile. Two, he was under a fig tree and Jesus saw him. The question about that second observation is, what was Nathanael doing under the fig tree? Was he involved in some sort of sin? Did he pray there asking God to reveal Himself to him? We don’t know, but Nathanael did. He knew!


The Lord knew also. How? Because of the truth in today’s verse. The Lord God of Heaven knows the heart of every man. To every person the Lord rewards according to their ways. This is true throughout the entire Bible. The word “heart” is used in 884 verses in our Bible, God has much to say about the heart. Martin Luther said of the heart: “The human heart is like the millstone in a mill; when you put wheat under it, it turns and grinds the wheat into flour. If you put no wheat in, it still grinds on, but then it is itself it grinds and slowly wears away.”  This is the way of the heart. It is always working. The physical heart always beats, pumping blood throughout the Body. The spiritual heart always beats pumping motives to the soul.


Jerimiah said of the heart, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9) To that thought, D.L. Moody once said, “Suppose that a man would advertise to take photographs of the heart; would he get many customers?”  Probably not, for who wants to see their own heart, or have others see it?


It is interesting that upon being anointed as Israel’s first king that God gave Saul “another heart” (I Samuel 10:9). He became another man. It could be said that the prodigal son in that pig pen, when he came to himself, was given another heart. A heart of humility, of obedience, of repentance. God knowing the hearts of individuals knows how to change their hearts for His purposes. It is a good day when God allows anyone to see their hearts as He sees them.


Solomon spoke the words of today’s verse in about 972 B.C. About 3,000 years ago. The truth of those words are every bit as true today as then. Truly, only God knows the heart of every person, and He rewards each according to their ways. This is why He deals with one individual one way, and another differently. He, and He alone knows their heart. Praise the Lord that He binds up the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1) and that He came to heal the brokenhearted (Luke 4:18)! For after all, who hasn’t had their heart broken from time to time?


Dr. William T. Howe


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