Recently I’ve been studying the life of David in the Old Testament. I know that he’s many people’s favourite Bible character, and understandably so. After all, he’s known as a man after the heart of God and there’s no greater recommendation than that. What also impresses me about David, though, is that he wasn’t an obvious choice for Israel’s next king. People saw only a shepherd boy, but God saw way beyond the external appearance, to the treasure He’d placed within, and commanded Samuel to anoint him as the next king of Israel (1Samuel 16:12).
How shocked everyone around him must have been! - Especially his brothers. “Surely Samuel must have missed the purposes of God”, they must have mused to themselves. The present king, Saul, was an obvious choice, but David sure wasn’t. Saul’s father was described as a mighty man of power (1 Samuel 9:1), and Saul himself was seen to be ‘choice, handsome and a head and shoulder above all the others’ (1 Samuel 9:2). King Saul had good breeding, and ticked all the boxes externally, but God was looking for something much deeper for the next king over Israel, and when he saw David, He said to Samuel, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is the one’ (1 Samuel 16:12).
Sometimes even prophets miss the purposes of God and have to be corrected, just as Samuel was in this narrative. He’d already decided in his heart that David’s older brother Eliab was Israel’s next king, as he was judging by external appearances. God had to steer him away from the obvious, and in the direction of David. But don’t be too quick to pass judgement on Samuel, because we’re all guilty of the same mistake! It’s only as we learn to see people through the eyes of God that we really see them. God’s not impressed by university degrees, superior intelligence, charm, breath-taking beauty or handsomeness. Even obvious skill or leadership potential fail to sway the choice of God. He looks for a man or woman who has a heart after His heart, and is mouldable clay in his hands. When God finds such a person He calls them forth and anoints them with His Spirit. The world shakes its head in disbelief, but heaven rejoices. I imagine the angels in the presence of God, excitedly conversing with each other and saying, “Look, God’s going to do it again. He’s doing it again!” Our Heavenly Father is looking for men and women with hearts like David. I don’t know about you, but I want to be such a person.
Prayer: Father God, help me to see people through Your eyes and not judge by external appearance. I want to see how You see and choose how You choose and value how You value. Help me to be a person after Your heart I pray. Amen.
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