Bill T. Arnold writes:
The man after God’s own heart turned out to be an unassuming boy! Looks can be so deceiving that we actually miss the very thing that we are looking for. God sends Samuel to find a new king. But he would have missed David entirely because David does not look the part. Just as David as a new messianic ruler is easy to overlook, so the Messiah was overlooked because he did not appear as people were expecting.
But this text is especially concerned with the type of person God seeks. When you and I consider the qualities of the people around us, we are inevitablt and inescapably influenced by what we see with our eyes. But God sees things we miss. Because he has superior vision, we may often be surprised by the people he chooses to accomplish his purposes. In ancient Israel, it was often the surprising choice of the youngest son instead of the expected oldest. At various times in church history, believers have been surprised (or disturbed!) when God has called a woman to serve him in a role usually filled by a man. Such times may cahllenge the church’s dogma and require us revisiting our beliefs about such roles. God can also sue an unassuming childto teach important lessons needed for a given time. He has used the uneducated, the poor and the disenfranchised. The fact that you and I simply cannot see the human heart the way God does, thus, we may often be surprised by what God sees in others.
1 Samuel 16:1-13
1The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”
2But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”
The LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ 3Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”
4Samuel did what the LORD said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”
5Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
6When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.”
7But 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.”
8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” 9 Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.” 11So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
12So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.
Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”
13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.
- Why didn’t Samuel want to go to Bethlehem?
- What did Samuel look for in a king?
- What was God looking for in a king?
- What do you look for in a friend or a spouse?
- What kind of character is God looking for in you?