1 Samuel 13
13 “How stupid of you to have broken the commands the LORD your God gave you!” Samuel told Saul. “The LORD would have established your rule over Israel forever, 14 but now your rule won’t last. The LORD will search for a man following the LORD’s own heart [Or a man loyal to the LORD] and the LORD will commission him as leader over God’s people, because you didn’t keep the LORD’s command.”
1 Samuel 16
4 Samuel did what the LORD instructed. When he came to Bethlehem, the city elders came to meet him. They were shaking with fear. “Do you come in peace?” they asked.
5 “Yes,” Samuel answered. “I’ve come to make a sacrifice to the LORD. Now make yourselves holy, then come with me to the sacrifice.” Samuel made Jesse and his sons holy and invited them to the sacrifice as well.
6 When they arrived, Samuel looked at Eliab and thought, That must be the LORD’s anointed right in front.
7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Have no regard for his appearance or stature, because I haven’t selected him. God doesn’t look at things like humans do. Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the LORD sees into the heart.”
8 Next Jesse called for Abinadab, who presented himself to Samuel, but he said, “The LORD hasn’t chosen this one either.” 9 So Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said, “No, the LORD hasn’t chosen this one.” 10 Jesse presented seven of his sons to Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD hasn’t picked any of these.” 11 Then Samuel asked Jesse, “Is that all of your boys?”
“There is still the youngest one,” Jesse answered, “but he’s out keeping the sheep.”
“Send for him,” Samuel told Jesse, “because we can’t proceed until he gets here.”
12 So Jesse sent and brought him in. He was reddish brown, had beautiful eyes, and was good-looking. The LORD said, “That’s the one. Go anoint him.” 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him right there in front of his brothers. The LORD’s spirit came over David from that point forward.
Then Samuel left and went to Ramah.
King David’s name occurred over 1000 times in the Bible. His famous battle against Goliath came early in his life, although he had already received Samuel’s and God’s anointing to succeed the failed King Saul as Israel’s monarch. The anointing story gave a strong hint that his childhood was painful. Shepherding was a lowly occupation, and his father didn’t even bother to include David among his sons when he first met the prophet.
Lord Jesus, teach me what you taught Samuel—to value integrity and character inside me more than an impressive appearance on the outside. Let what you see in me be pleasing to you. Amen.
* John Goldingay, 1 and 2 Samuel for Everyone: A Theological Commentary on the Bible. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011, p. 68.
I just got back from a conference. While packing for it, I got stuck a couple of times pre-deciding what to wear (and why). That’s always the part of packing that exhausts me. Pre-deciding means I’m required to think through every detail of every day, and match it with the right clothing. Phew! I’m tired just thinking about it!
Every year at this same conference, I pack blazers for each day. Why? Because every year I meet new people, and “I want to make a good first impression.” Wouldn’t we say that that is important to us? It's certainly important enough to keep the phrase around.
The Scriptures for today, on the heels of returning home, remind me that I should actually apply more energy to pre-deciding the character I will exhibit and the integrity I will uphold, rather than focusing on my clothes (aka, blazers) to do the work for me. If I can offer my truest self, my “first impressions” will be much more lasting and significant…first to God and then others. Turns out that God is looking for people who are “following [after] the LORD’s own heart,” because “Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the LORD sees into the heart.” May we all strive to be more than just our blazers!
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