Title: It’s a Matter of the Heart
Text: 1 Samuel 15:35-16:13
(After Saul, the first of the Israelite kings, acted on his own and disappointed God, God sent Samuel to find and anoint the next king of Israel…However, this time God would select the king, not the people!)
(Because of what Saul did wrong) Samuel never laid eyes on Saul again in this life, although he grieved long and deeply over him. But God was sorry he had ever made Saul king in the first place.
God addressed Samuel: “So, how long are you going to mope over Saul?
You know I’ve rejected him as king over Israel. Fill your flask with anointing oil and get going. I’m sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I’ve spotted the very king I want among his sons.”
“I can’t do that,” said Samuel. “Saul will hear about it and kill me.”
God said, “Take a heifer (a baby cow) with you and announce, ‘I’ve come to lead you in worship of God, with this heifer as a sacrifice.’ Make sure Jesse gets invited. I’ll let you know what to do next. I’ll point out the one you are to anoint.”
Samuel did what God told him.
When he arrived at Bethlehem, the town fathers greeted him, but apprehensively. “Is there something wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong. I’ve come to sacrifice this heifer and lead you in the worship of God. Prepare yourselves, be consecrated, and join me in worship.”
He made sure Jesse and his sons were also consecrated and called to worship.
When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Here he is! God’s anointed!”
But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.”
Jesse then called up Abinadab and presented him to Samuel. Samuel said, “This man isn’t God’s choice either.”
Next Jesse presented Shammah. Samuel said, “No, this man isn’t either.”
Jesse presented his seven sons to Samuel. Samuel was blunt with Jesse, “God hasn’t chosen any of these.”
Then he asked Jesse, “Is this it? Are there no more sons?”
“Well, yes, there’s the runt. But he’s out tending the sheep.”
Samuel ordered Jesse, “Go get him. We’re not moving from this spot until he’s here.”
Jesse sent for him. He was brought in, the very picture of health—bright-eyed, good-looking.
God said, “Up on your feet! Anoint him! This is the one.”
Samuel took his flask of oil and anointed him, with his brothers standing around watching. The Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind, God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life.
Truth: Do not judge a person by their size or their good looks. Like God did with David, take the time to know their heart. Their words, actions and attitude will reveal if they are really worthy of your time and respect. The same is true for others looking at you, so protect what you allow into your heart.
Thoughts: In this story, Israel had finally settled into the Promised Land but for some reason they could not get totally satisfied. They thought what they needed was a KING like all the other nations. They forgot that God was their ruler. They figured that if they had a king, they would be better led and less likely to be attacked by their enemies all the time. Well, they were wrong!
When we allow God to rule over our hearts, our lives are far better off than if we relied upon the direction and leadership of others in our life. The Israelites learned that kings are not reliable. They are men in leadership, but men make mistakes – even the best of men make mistakes, and people’s lives will be affected when they make mistakes. However, when we allow God to lead our lives, we have this assurance: God does not make mistakes! God wants and desires only good and right things to happen in our lives. Does that mean we will not have problems and challenges? No! God often uses problems and challenges to make us better and stronger. But, God also only gives us what we deserve and need so that we can follow Him daily.
If only the Israelites had not desired a king of their own, how different history might have been. Even King David, who God selected to replace the people’s choice for king, made some poor choices in his life, but God blessed him anyway. In fact, it is through David’s family that Jesus was born into this world. So, even with the problems and challenges that David brought onto himself and his family, he was blessed by God for his faithfulness through it all.
When you are looking at people, take the key point in this passage: do not be fooled by one’s outward appearance. Take the time to get to know a person on the inside before you judge them. A person’s character – the way they behave and act – is rooted in the heart. Therefore, prayerfully ask God to help you to see people for who they are the inside before you make a decision about them.
Friendships are built over time! Choose carefully who you allow to be your friend and adviser. Always know the difference between being friendly and having friends. Both come with responsibility and consequences for your life. (Parents, take the time to share this with your children.)