“The LORD said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel?...I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.’” —1 Samuel 16:1
If we are honest, many of us—like the church in James’s day—are quick to judge a person by the way they look or the clothes they wear. This was also the case in the prophet Samuel’s day. After rejecting Saul as king over Israel, God told Samuel to go to the house of Jesse to anoint one of his sons as king. The Lord instructed Samuel, “...You are to anoint for Me the one I indicate” (1 Samuel 16:3).
Jesse brought out seven really smart and good-looking sons. When Samuel laid eyes on Eliab, he thought to himself, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD” (1 Samuel 16:6). He was tall, handsome and tough, and Samuel was certain he found the Lord’s anointed at first sight. But the Lord reminded 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” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Although Samuel had his own thoughts about who the Lord’s anointed was, he knew how to listen to God. His ears were constantly attuned to God, and we need to adopt this same attentive posture. The Spirit of God must guide us with spiritual eyes, spiritual ears and discernment.
Eliab was not the right one; in fact, after seven of Jesse’s sons passed before Samuel, Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen these....Are these all the sons you have?” Jesse responded, “There is still the youngest....He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” Then David, a ruddy looking boy, stood before Samuel and the Lord told Samuel, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one” (1 Samuel 16:10-12).
What made David the Lord’s anointed? Because when the Lord rejected Saul as King, Samuel told Saul, “...the LORD has sought out a man after His own heart...” (1 Samuel 13:14). Although all of Jesse’s boys looked attractive, it was the heart of David that God was looking for. This does not mean that David was a perfect man, because he was not. David had his own share of human messes, many of which were of his own making. Yet, God knew David’s heart and it was after God’s own heart.
We are not going to have perfect lives. We will always have those black marks in our life that we can point at. But God looks at the heart. As we look at our heart condition before God, are we in tune with God?
Prayer: Lord God, I lay my heart down before You, recognizing that I am not perfect. Tune my heart after Your own heart that I may discern Your perfect good will. Thank You, Lord.