I don`t know about you, but if I were Samuel I would have one burning question to ask God. “Who is it? Just give me his name!” God tells Samuel where to go, what to bring, what family to involve and what to do. But He doesn`t tell Samuel which one of Jesse`s sons He had chosen. Why does He do that? Samuel was the prophet God spoke to and revealed many things. He had used Samuel many times and Samuel had always been faithful. So why not tell Samuel every last detail?
Samuel did as God commended and travelled to Bethlehem. Although only six miles south of Jerusalem, it was a million miles away in terms of excitement and activity. It was a lack-lustre little place, where only Ruth would have warranted a blue heritage plaque on a wall. Samuel gets Jesse to bring out his sons and line them up. Samuel sizes them up and can identify possible kings from their bearing, physique, good looks, dress etc. But one by one God rejects them and reveals to Samuel a vital lesson, `The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.`
Eventually all seven sons of Jesse have been examined and God’s chosen was not among them. At this point I might have been panicking! Samuel asks if there is anyone missing and hears it`s David. He`s the youngest and only fit for looking after the sheep. But Samuel is insistent that he should be summoned. When he arrives in haste my feeling is that he would have been wearing rough work-wear, hair in need of a good cut and comb through, smelling of sheep and much in need of a good bath! But God declares He`s the one!
This encourages me. Firstly, it shows me that no matter how long someone has followed the Lord, no matter how well and how faithfully, there is always something God wants to teach us and that frequently requires us to trust Him and believe that He knows what he is doing, and wont lead us astray. Secondly, it reveals to me that what God wants above all else is our heart. He’s not bothered about our outward appearance, how good our job is, how good-looking we might be, how much money we have, what car we drive or the designer clothes we wear. He is just looking for our heart – is it yearning for Him, is it focused on Him, is it wanting to follow Him above all else. None of us are ever too old (or too young) to learn this.
Prayer: Dear Lord. Thank You that You always want to teach me new things about Yourself and about me; that You want me to trust You and to know You are totally faithful. You are not interested in my outward appearance. All You want or need is my heart. I`m sorry for the times when I`m willing to give You everything but the one thing You desire. Help me to change that, starting today, by the power of Your Holy Spirit living in me. Amen.
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