Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13
The Lord said to Samuel, I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king." Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lord 's anointed stands here before the Lord." But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have not chosen him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, "The Lord has not chosen these." So he asked Jesse, "Are these all the sons you have?" "There is still the youngest," Jesse answered. "He is tending the sheep." Samuel said, "Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives." So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, "Rise and anoint him; this is the one." So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.
When it came to anointing the next king for Israel, a role which would require a man to lead other men into battle, Samuel might be forgiven for looking at the height of Eliab and thinking he was the man for the job. He wasn’t. Nor were his six younger brothers. Convinced that God had sent him to anoint a son of Jesse, Samuel asked if that was all of his sons and discovered there was David, merely a lad left to the menial task of tending the family’s flock of sheep.
In spite of his youth and lowly standing in the family, David was the one God had chosen. He was someone about whom God would say ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart’ (Acts 13:22). God didn’t look at the outside but looked at the heart. Nor did he see what David was as a teenager, he saw what he could become. David didn’t become king for around fifteen years, in the meantime he lived much of his life on the run and fought many battles. He grew in faith and in his relationship with God, and he became the man that God saw in the teenager.
The same is true for us. When God called and chose each of us, I doubt there was much to commend us, but God loved us and saw what we could become through the work of grace in our lives. There may be troubles ahead, as there were for David, but God is working out his purposes as you grow in faith, refining you and making you into a man or woman after his own heart.
There is a lot of discussion today relating to discrimination, whether it is around disability, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or religion. We may look and behave differently on the outside, but underneath we are all created in the image of God and loved by him.
Are there times you feel you have been overlooked or discriminated against? Can you bring them to God in prayer and allow him to bring you healing and to give you the faith that, in spite of the prejudice, God is at work in you for your blessing and his glory?
Father God, thank you that, in spite of my failings you love me, and you called me.
Heal the hurts of prejudice I have suffered and help me to see others as you see them, looking at their heart and not their appearance.
Lord, you have my heart, and I will search for yours.