April 9 I Monday
1 Samuel 13-14
“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 Samuel 16:7
As God’s prophet and Israel’s last judge, a significant task of Samuel’s ministry was kick-starting Israel’s monarchy. God chose Saul as Israel’s first king and sent Samuel to anoint him. Saul received God-given victories in battle, but consequently, grew disobedient and his heart proud and arrogant. God then stripped Saul of the kingship and sent Samuel to Bethlehem to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as Israel’s next king.
What followed was something of a pantomime. Jesse had eight sons, but seven were present at the sacrificial ceremony and anointing of a new king. When Samuel saw Eliab, the eldest of Jesse’s sons, pass before him, he thought, “Surely the LORD’S anointed stands here before the LORD.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him” (1 Samuel 16:6-7). Next came Abinadab and after him, five more of Jesse’s sons, but the Lord did not choose any of them.
If Samuel had been confused before, he was totally baffled now. “Are these all the sons you have?” he asked Jesse. “There is still the youngest,” Jessie answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives” (1 Samuel 16:11). Jesse’s focus must have fallen to the ground and the brothers would have been dumbfounded. We can imagine this reaction because the Bible paints a picture of how poorly David was treated among his brothers. When he was sent to bring food to his brothers on the battlefield, he was scorned, insulted and bullied—a clear indication of ill-treatment and rejection.
Perhaps because of this, David developed a heart towards God that none of his brothers shared. He learned to trust God in all things. When a lion or bear attacked the flock, David depended on God for the courage and strength to wrestle them down. In his isolation, he wrote psalms of praise, thanksgiving and prayers expressing his love for God.
David is honoured with this incredible descriptor, not because he was perfect but because his heart was attuned to the Lord. He was God’s chosen, and Samuel anointed him the next king of Israel. We may think our good deeds, qualifications or strong Christian reputations make us worthy of serving God and conversely, our sin, failure and weaknesses disqualify us, but God looks past all the positives and negatives to the disposition of our hearts. He seeks those who will trust Him, who are characterized by compassion and who act when He directs. This is what makes a person after God’s own heart, and bestows upon them all the blessing and intimacy that comes with experiences of God Himself.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I long to be someone with a heart aligned with Your heart. I ask that You bring me into an ever-deepening trust and dependence on You. Thank You, Lord.