So Samuel did what the Lord said, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and said, “Do you come in peace?” He said, “In peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” He also consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Next Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are these all the children?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah.
1 Samuel 16:4-13 (NASB)
How interesting that Samuel was still looking for Saul. After all he had been through with Saul and the mess that Saul had made, Samuel still looked for the man that the world would want. He and the elders of Israel thought they knew what their king should look like. All the while the king was off tending his sheep for his father. David was the least of his brothers and was not held in high enough regard to even be brought to the event. Yet he would soon deliver them all from a great enemy. What a picture of Jesus; the foreshadowing is unbelievable – its like God set it up that way or something : ) God truly does not look for the things we expect and saves in ways that we never expect but are marvelous to behold.
I believe that this passage is a good reminder of two things: First, the entire Bible is about Jesus. Although these stories are all true of David and, in themselves, are amazing works of God, the truly breathtaking thing is that all of it is but a shadow of what was to become. Over and over we see in 1 Samuel glimpses into what God was preparing for His people. It was unknown then but has been revealed now and it is beyond words in its beauty. Second, we look too much at the outward appearance and not enough at the things that God truly values. I know for myself, I am far more concerned about the speaker at church than the faithful servant who is changing diapers and wiping noses. I think much more of the person who is leading a study than the person who is quietly serving by taking out the trash when no one is looking just because it needs to be done. My economy is far too small and the currency I value of very poor worth. All of the roles I mentioned are important, but all too often I value the time with elders much more than the one tending the sheep. I for one am grateful for this opportunity to see this oversight and get a glimpse into the heart of God. I will definitely make it a point to look for the servants and to thank them for quietly doing the work of God. I will also pray that Go will give me His eyes to see with. I want to see no the heart of man, but with the heart of God.
Lord thank you for the beauty of your word. It is the most stunning history and beautiful literature all at once. Thank you for painting Jesus throughout your word and for always pointing to the work you had planned. Thank you that, like then, we now also have the opportunity to be a part of what Jesus is doing in the world to rescue his people. Thank you that just as David was a type of Jesus we too can reflect the nature of Jesus to those around us. Give us the courage to start by serving as He served and by seeing people as He sees them. Help us to rightly judge where your heart beats and to see things through your eyes and with your heart. Amen.