Devotional: June 16, 2020
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.’
When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.’ 7But 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.’ 8Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before\e Samuel. He said, ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’ 9Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’ 10Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen any of these.’ 11Samuel 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.’ 12He 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.’ 13Then 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.
First Samuel 16: 1, 6-13
The story of Samuel’s anointing of David as King of Israel is almost comical. The prophet Samuel had been told by the Lord that one of Jesse’s sons would be ordained as King.
Carrying a horn filled with oil, and anxious to anoint the next King of Israel, Samuel is ready to anoint the first son of Jesse. In fact, he says to himself, “This young man is surely the one God has selected!” Yet the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at what he looks like, or how tall he is. That is not what’s most important. What’s important to me is his heart. It is the inside of a person which counts the most in my book.”
Samuel listens to the Lord, and moves on to the next son of Jesse. That son is not the one, either! This happens with the next son, and the next. A whole parade of sons presented by Jesse, and rejected by the Lord each time. Finally, all seven sons who were present have made their appearance before Samuel. Each one was rejected by the Lord.
Samuel says, “Do you have any more sons?” Jesse admits that his youngest, David, is watching the sheep. It’s almost like Jesse is saying, “Yes, but he’s the runt of the litter, and I almost forgot about him.” However, Samuel refuses to eat until Jesse has summoned his youngest son, David.
Once David arrives, God tells Samuel that David is His chosen king. Samuel anoints David him as King, in front of all of his older brothers!
This amazing story tells us about what matters to God. It is also a startling example of God’s providence: the outworking of His perfect plan. The all-important truth for us is that what matters is not the external appearance of a person, but their inner character.
In our nation and world, which has struggled with, and continues to be challenged by racism, this is an important truth. Unfortunately, it is forgotten by many people. While some may judge others by their skin color, the eyes of the Lord look elsewhere: at a person’s heart, and to their character.
Perhaps it was this story of David’s selection as King, and the criteria used by the Lord, which led Christian preacher and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to say, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
We may feel helpless and isolated from the pain, turmoil and tragic loss of life and property we are watching spread across our nation. No doubt, there are racial issues which need to be addressed and healed. Our best resource to be a part of the healing is through our faith and prayer.
Lord, help us to be instruments of your peace. Help us to show your true light whenever possible. Give us the words, and guide our actions, as we seek to share your love towards everyone. We thank you, Lord, for seeing what is on the inside, and for caring about our souls.
We pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen