In today’s chapter, 1 Samuel 16, we meet the next king, although he will not actually become king for a long time. Samuel was sent by God to a man named Jesse to anoint one of his sons as the next king and God was going to tell him which son it was. Jesse had eight sons, but he only brought seven before Samuel, but none of them were the one God had chosen. So, Samuel asks Jesse if he had any other sons, and he said that his youngest son was out tending to their sheep. Samuel asks him to bring him in and once he is before Samuel the Lord told him “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” (v.12) Meet King David, well one day king David. Side note real quick, I just LOVE that David was a shepherd, I feel like it gives us a little peak into who Jesus is going to be as THE King, OUR king, forever. Jesus in the book of John refers to himself as the good shepherd, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me — just as the Father knows me and I know the Father — and I lay down my life for the sheep.” So. Good. Anyways, I love how when God sent Saul to anoint David, he didn’t pick the most popular or best looking brother, but rather the shepherd boy. Even though we learned that God was no longer with Saul, he was still king, and our application tells us that Saul remains king until he dies. But, what is so amazing is that the Lord was working and moving in David’s life while he was waiting to become King; God was raising up a God-fearing, God-loving leader and a future king in David. As mentioned God was no longer with Saul, in fact scripture says “…an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.” (v.14) Our application gives us some insight into what this spirit could be. It could’ve been he was simply depressed or that “God allowed an evil spirit to come in and torment him as judgement for his disobedience.” Because of this evil spirit that had taken over, Saul’s servants suggested finding someone who can play the lyre (a small harp type instrument) to play whenever the evil spirit came because they thought that it would help him to feel better in those times. Well, one of them knew of Jesse’s son David for being able to play, along with some other qualities they list about him, and they end his description with “And the Lord is with him” (v.18) So, David comes to start working for Saul (Saul has zero clue that David was already anointed next king after him!) and Saul really liked him, so much so that he asks him to stay to continue to play and also makes him one of his armor-bears. (servants who carried additional weapons in battle)
With the background all set in place for us, we can take a look at our scripture. When Samuel went to visit Jesse’s son, he first meets his oldest son Eliab and based on his appearances Samuel immediately thought for sure this was going to be the next king, but the Lord shares with Samuel today’s verse, “…The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (16:7) I think this is so important to dive deeper into. I loved what our application had to say about this verse. It talks about how when we focus on outward appearances of others that we may miss out on certain qualities about someone just because they didn’t have a certain quality that society currently admires. I loved the word currently in there. Have you noticed how at different times in our lives different things about our looks have been considered cool, trendy or even beautiful? It’s always changing, so that is why we get the reminder here that the heart work is so much more important to God. That’s what God cares about. That’s what God is looking at. And even if right now our hearts aren’t looking so great, the beauty of God is that wherever our hearts are at now, the Lord can transform it, to align more and more with Him, simply by us keeping in relationship with Him, which we talked about in yesterdays post about being obedient to Him.
Have you ever judged someone based on their appearances alone only to find out that inside their heart wasn’t so pretty? Or vice versa, have you ever assumed someone was one way because they lacked a certain look, only to find out that their heart was sweet? And lastly, write down a step or two in which you can do some heart work this week.
Heavenly Father, we love how you work. This story shows us that even when we can’t see the bigger picture you are working, always. Thank you for the example of David that remaining faithful to you, even when we can’t see what’s next, we can be confident that you will continue to reveal our next step. Our application today said “Sometimes our plans-even the ones we think you have approved- have to be put on hold indefinitely, but like David we can use this waiting period profitably” We can choose to learn and grow in our present circumstances, whatever they may be. Lord help us to do just that. We want to learn and grow so that our hearts align with you. Help us to put in the heart work and focus more on the inside than the outside of ourselves as well as others. It’s in your loving and caring name we pray, Amen!