Summary: A look at the Unexpected Journey that God sent David on.
7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16 - NIV)
The Big Idea: God's Unexpected Journey starts in the heart.
Have you ever heard someone say, "I don't mean to complain, but...OK, actually, I do"?1 We all do it. In fact, society has a euphemism for this type of activity - venting one's spleen. Come on medical world friends, what does "venting one's spleen” have to do with complaining?
The spleen's primary function is to serve as a filter. Like a colander, gas filter or coffee filter, the spleen stops unwanted debris from passing. So, venting one's spleen is simply to throw back unwanted debris. Gross!
This is the world we live in; people will vent unwanted debris about anything. Ever feel frustrated? Do you want to vent? Those who vent come in all shapes, sizes and perspectives. Go ahead and raise a ruckus and vent your spleen in the name of medical science. These friends did.
With all the money that one spends on vacations, you would think that asking for perfection is OK, right? These travelers thought so:
• “On my holiday to India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food at all.”
• Following a trip to a well-known theme park on a hot day, a woman complained that the sun had melted her ice cream before she could enjoy it.
• One frustrated mom complained to the airline that the presence of so many clouds in the sky ruined her kids' game of “I Spy.”
With all the money that one spends in restaurants, you would think that asking for perfection is OK, right? These customers thought so:
• “What they lack in quality, the make up for with butter.”
• “Only the flies on our table enjoyed the meal.”
• “[The chef’s] food tastes better on TV.”
With all the sacrifices that parents and relatives make, you would think a little thanks would be in order. When a frustrated grandmother received no thank you note from her granddaughter for an expensive graduation gift, she wrote it herself and mailed it to the unappreciative grandchild:
What a thoughtful gift. Clearly you put your heart, soul and wallet into a gift that I will treasure forever. Thanks for your generosity.
Love your granddaughter,
With the uncertainty of the housing market, you would think lending institutions would be listening to their customers better:
• Warren Nyerges paid cash for a house in Naples, Florida. So naturally, he was surprised when the bank foreclosed on his home. To settle the dispute with Bank of America, Warren hired a lawyer. The case was settled, but the bank still refused to pay the legal fees of Mr. Nyerges.
This prompted Mr. Nyerges to bring in his lawyer, who arrived at the bank with a sheriff. The intent was to seize the bank’s furniture, money and computers to settle the value of the claim. As the moving truck sat outside, the bank manager quickly wrote Warren a check for the legal fees.
With all the work that churches put into providing can't-miss experiences, you would think a little wiggle room – or grace, if you will – would be given:
• For those who get up and move around during church, the next time that happens, your cell phone will announce your weight.
• I found this one on a sign in an antique store: “Kids left behind after church will be given espresso and a puppy.”
No person in scripture penned more complaints about the state of Israel's affairs, about the state of his own affairs – personal and private – than David. Credited with more than 70 Psalms, David tells us his story and, in doing so, often vents his spleen.
1 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13 – NIV)
1 Hear me, O God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy. (Psalm 64 – NIV)
So what is the answer to our problems, pains and people when we need to "vent our spleens"? Give voice to your complaint, but do not sin in the process. Paul reminds us that our souls are sometimes angry, but we should not sin in the process.
26 “In your anger do not sin.” (Ephesians 4 – NIV)
How do we do that? Trust God as you complain. Complain as you are trusting God. David is the gold standard for such an ambitious character trait: