1 Samuel 16:1-13
16 The 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.” 2 But 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.’ 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.” 4 Samuel 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?” 5 Samuel 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. 6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” 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.” 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.” 11 So 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.” 12 So 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.
Samuel had literally grown up in the temple and he had a close relationship with God. He was the key prophet of Israel at the time – the person God chose to speak on His behalf. For all Samuel’s closeness to God, he still did not see things as God did. Samuel was sad that God had rejected Saul as king, even though Saul had strayed from following God. And when it came to choosing a new king, Samuel was attracted to Jesse’s eldest son, who seems to have been impressive in terms of his height and appearance.
Who did God choose? David. The youngest. The shepherd. The only son who wasn’t even at the sacrifice. The one whom was easy to overlook, but who was known by God and hand-picked by God. It’s so easy to look back in hindsight, knowing that David would become a skilful warrior, great king, a poet and ‘a man after God’s own heart’… but before David was a household name, when David’s closest companions were a flock of sheep… God chose him to lead Israel.
Thank you God that all your decisions are made from the greatest vantage point – you have all the information and you have humanity’s best interests at heart. Thank you God that I can trust your wisdom, as you work in the world around me, and in my life. Holy Spirit, please help me to hand over all of my cares and concerns to God, rather than trusting to my own understanding. Amen.
Written by Ps. Bethany Waugh