“The Lord said to Samuel…I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king…When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely, the Lord’s anointed stands here.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16 1, 6-7.
God calls the prophet Samuel to go visit Jesse because God has chosen one of his eight sons to be the next king of Israel. When Samuel arrives, he looks at the oldest son, Eliab, and was obviously impressed with his outward appearance. He was physically impressive and being the oldest, he had the demeanor of a leader. But that’s not who God had in mind. In fact, none of the seven sons lined up in front of Samuel were God’s choice. It was the youngest son, David, who was so insignificant that he wasn’t even invited to attend the viewing. He was out watching over the sheep! They had to go get him so he could be anointed the next king of Israel! There are two lessons we learn from this story. The first is provided by God himself when he tells Samuel, “I don’t look at outward appearances, I look at the heart.” We, on the other hand, are often impressed by the wrong things. We are enamored with people who are good looking, athletic, articulate, brilliant, funny, wealthy, talented and well-educated. Our evaluation is superficial and based on own limited perspective. Godly character is usually not at the top of our list. But that is what God is most concerned with. He’s looking for someone who wants to be faithful and obedient to him. The second lesson we learn is that God often chooses the most unassuming, least likely person to do his work. David is the youngest son, a shepherd boy. Jesus came as an infant, a suffering servant. People laughed at the thought he could be the Messiah. The disciples were made fun of by the religious leaders because they were just fisherman. However, they all had one thing in common; the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Because when God calls, he also empowers.
How can we look beyond the deceptive externals and discern a person’s true character? What is God calling you to do?