“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.” (I Samuel 16:1 – 3)
King Saul, favored by the people. A man’s man (I assume) but not God’s man. And God is not sitting idle while King Saul is proving that he is not the type of follower that God desires. I like that the Divine says “I have provided for myself.” This tells me that the man (young boy right now) is being prepared for the role to come. It reminds me of all the prophecies about Jesus, which in a way is a sort of preparation as well. In Jesus God has provided for a Savior. He comes also from Bethlehem.
It also tells me that God is ever preparing and foreseeing what needs to happen. We do not always see or understand the movements of God. But what happens because of free will and what happens by God’ preparations and provisions come together in marvelous ways.
“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.” (Verses 4 – 6)
What does “Godly” look like? What does faithful and righteous look like? Saul looked “good” if my memory of his coming to kingship is accurate. As I remember the priests who served in the Lord’s house were to be without physical flaw. But good looks do not always mean good inside.
“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.” (Verse 7)
Remember too that God and Samuel warned the people that a conventional human king like the other nations have is no guarantee of good leadership.
Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.”
Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen any of these.” (Verses 8 – 10)
Now notice the change, that Samuel tells Jesse that the Lord is choosing someone to be in the Lord’s direct service – or at least I assume that Samuel has not told Jesse the full reason. May be he has.
“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.” 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.” (Verses 11 – 12)
Ah! Looks do mean something. David was healthy, with dark eyes. While not a presence like his brothers, He was pleasing to the eye. And, he was in front of his brothers set apart by Samuel’s anointing.
“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.” (Verse 13)
With the writer of I Samuel saying that “the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David” I have to wonder, when is one prepared to serve the Lord? Before? While there was something about David when he was anointed, it seems like after that anointing he was prepared in earnest by the Lord. And that actually gives me hope; if I feel the Lord taping me on my shoulder to say “I have something in mind for you” I should not be concerned that I am not ready. The Lord will make me ready, in ways I may not ever understand.
We continue our journey through Lent – least you forget. We prepare ourselves as the Lord makes preparations concerning us. May we follow the Lord’s path and trust in the Lord’s providence and provision. Selah!