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The Pastor's Blog

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Saul, the first of Israel’s monarchs, looked like a king. “When he stood among the people, he stood a head taller than anyone else. Samuel said to all the people, ‘Do you see the one the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among the entire population.’ And all the people shouted, ‘Long live the king!’ ” (1 Samuel 10:23–24).

Saul looked like a statesman, a soldier, an athlete, or a Hollywood star! He looked royal, regal. He was tall, dark, and ruggedly handsome. He looked the part! “So all the people went to Gilgal, and there in the Lord’s presence they made Saul king… and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly” (1 Samuel 11:15). Hip-hip-hurrah!

But, when Saul’s heart became self-seeking and sinful, God declared, “I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned away from following me and has not carried out my instructions” (1 Samuel 15:11).

The God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob “found a man after his own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14) and sent Samuel, the high priest, to anoint David as the new king.

At the Lord’s direction, Samuel set out toward Bethlehem. God’s instructions were clear, but not too specific. God said, “Go to Jessie’s house and anoint one of his sons.” But which son?

Tradition said that the oldest son should be chosen. When he “arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and said, ‘Certainly the Lord’s anointed one is here before him’ ” (1 Samuel 16:6). He, like Saul, looked the part. He looked like a king. “But the Lordsaid to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the Lord sees, for humans see what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart’ ” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Jessie’s oldest son, Eliab, wasn’t chosen. How about son number two, Abinadab? Nope! He looked good, but he wasn’t God choice. He wasn’t the man to be king of Israel! Okay, how about son number three? “Then Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said, ‘The Lord hasn’t chosen this one either’ ” (1 Samuel 16:9).

Jessie’s seven sons were paraded before the prophet. Each was rejected, not because he didn’t look kingly, but because God said, “No! He’s not the right guy! He doesn’t have the right heart.”

There was an eighth son, the youngest, the smallest, the least likely. He was in the hills outside of Bethlehem, tending the sheep. He didn’t look like a king. He wasn’t regal and royal, but God said, “Yes! He’s the right guy! His motives are pure. His mind is keen and his heart is mine.”

“So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully on David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:13).

Why? Unmerited. Unwarranted. Undeserved. God’s great grace.


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