Key Text: 1 Samuel 15:34 – 16:13
Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul.
Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD was sorry that he had made Saul king over Israel.
The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”
Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’
Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.”
Samuel did what the LORD commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?”
He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the LORD.”
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.”
16:9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.”
16:10 Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen any of these.”
16:11 Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.”
16:12 He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.”
16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.
When the time came for a new king to be chosen for the people of Israel, there were some pretty impressive candidates. When a man named Jesse was approached about having one of his sons lead the people, he was more than happy to parade them before Samuel, who would be the one to anoint the new king.
One by one they came – tall, strong, good-looking – all great candidates, or so thought their father Jesse.
One by one they were rejected.
Then, last but certainly not least, David – the youngest – a shepherd boy – was brought out for consideration.
He was the youngest, the least likely to be chosen, the last one up for consideration. Jesse probably thought his hopes of having one of his sons be king would never come to fruition.
Of course, we know how the story ends. David, the unlikely one, is the chosen one.
Samuel had been instructed carefully by God. He was not to pay attention to mere “appearances” because God looks not at this – but at “the heart” of a man or woman called to serve.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Despite all of his faults and failures, David proved to be a great leader – the forerunner of the One from the “House of David” who would come to save the world – the Messiah – Jesus Christ.
We may not think we are good “candidates” for a great job in the kingdom. We might not think others are either.
Still, God knows best – God sees the heart – and calls His people to service accordingly.
Don’t judge too quickly when someone says they are called of God in some unique way.
Don’t judge yourself too quickly either. Don’t leap to saying, “Who, me?”
Allow that the living God knows what is best – and knows who are best – to be among the chosen to do His work in the kingdom.
Who knows, you might prove to be a man or woman “after God’s own heart” yourself.
In fact, I’d bet on it.