A Heart Like Samuel’s

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“Arise, anoint him: for this is he.” 1 Samuel 16: 12

The people of Israel had rejected God as their king and demanded the prophet Samuel to give them a King. Saul ended up being their choice. Scripture says in 1 Samuel 9: 2, “And he had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.” Saul, not only looked like a King but he started off on a right path of kingship. However, his disobedient actions derailed him off of the path God had set for Him, clearly demonstrating that it is not how we start but it is always how we finish.

Fast forward, after a series of bad decisions, including, keeping King Agag alive, the spirit of the Lord was removed from Saul and God instructed Samuel to anoint a king. His King. Saul was the people’s choice and David was God’s choice.

In obedience, Samuel made a visit to Bethlehem to anoint God’s chosen king who would have been chosen from the sons of Jesse. Samuel took with him a heifer and informed the elders of the town that he came in peace and invited them to a “sacrifice of the Lord” that would take place at Jesse’s house.

While at the feast, Samuel inspected the sons of Jesse: 1 Samuel 16: 10 – 12, “Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are these all the children?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.”

1 Samuel 16: 12, 13, “Jesse sent for him. He had a healthy complexion, attractive eyes, and a handsome appearance. The Lord said, “Go ahead, anoint him. He is the one.” Samuel took the flask of olive oil and anointed David in the presence of his brothers. The Lord’s Spirit came over David and stayed with him from that day on. Then Samuel left for Ramah.”

God’s choice of David shows that God not only remembers those who seem small in our esteem but He considers the heart of a man, above everything else that defines the man.

Though David’s brothers looked the part to be king, they did not have the heart to reign as king. God wanted more than an appealing exterior, He wanted a heart that was devoted to Him and would remain devoted to Him even when the complexities of that heart, threatened to separate the man from the presence of God.

David had such a heart.

Where did David get this heart? In the hills of Bethlehem.

While caring for and guarding sheep, David spent quality time with God. When no one else took notice and in the mundane moments of shepherding, David allowed God to capture His heart and become His good shepherded. While beholding the rich landscape of the hills and the delicate spread of nature that surrounded him, David not only learnt tender lessons of life that would remain with him in his adult life but he also learnt of the God of it all. Just consider his psalms of praise strung together in his youth.

God wants to reveal Himself to us in the silent moments, filling us completely, when we are emptied of every distraction. However, it’s hard to mirror this simple act of devotion like David had while shepherding, in our time. The demands of our generation destroy our solitude and rob us of having quiet moments. But like Moses, we have to nestle ourselves in the greenery of nature and seek God or be like Daniel and separate ourselves during intervals in the day to seek the Lord through prayer or send the multitudes away like Jesus did in Matthew 14 so that we can have some alone time with God.

We can only obtain a heart like young David when we spend quality, unmolested time with God.

Speaking of quiet moments, did you realize that God chose David in a seemingly obscure moment in His life (while he was taking care of sheep): “The Lord had chosen David, and was preparing him, in his solitary life with his flocks, for the work He designed to commit to his trust in after years. While David was thus living in the retirement of his humble shepherd’s life, the Lord God was speaking about him to the prophet Samuel” Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets.

God continued to prepare David for kingship during the same obscure moments of His youth. David had to go back to shepherding and grow from knowledge to knowledge throughout the years, before God’s promise to him could have been made manifest. “Notwithstanding the high position which he was to occupy, he quietly continued his employment, content to await the development of the Lord’s plans in His own time and way. As humble and modest as before his anointing, the shepherd boy returned to the hills and watched and guarded his flocks as tenderly as ever” Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets.

This is sometimes how God’s calling on our lives flourish…we receive a calling from Him, however, with the calling in our hearts and mind, we have to go back to our ordinary lives so God alone can prepare us for the thing which we are called to do in the future. We have to faithfully and patiently wait for that glorious seed to bear fruit and develop in time.

I suspect that the wait to kingship did not weary David for the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him. In the same vein, don’t let the wait of being ushered into your calling cause you to grow faint and weary….let the Spirit of God that is upon your life renew your faith and perseverance daily.

Can we focus on Samuel now? Yes.

Truthfully, I never noted how key a role the spiritual leader of Israel played in the anointing of our star David until the Spirit of God led me back to our scripture of focus this week. Without Samuel’s obedience, this story would have taken a completely different turn.

God chose Samuel to anoint the future king of Israel because Samuel had a track record of listening to the voice of God above all other voices. Do you remember…Samuel as a little boy serving under Eli’s direction, in the still of the night, saying, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” Yes, that young man who was given back to God by his mother, grew into a powerful messenger of the Lord – “So Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the Lord” 1 Samuel 3: 19, 20.

Our special-ears prophet, cared deeply about the blessed nation of Israel and was extremely crushed when Saul failed. His deep hurt over the turn of events for Israel and the failure of Saul sent the prophet into a state of mourning and deep sorrow.  God himself, had to call Samuel out of his mourning and call him to go anoint to the new blessing – the new king.

If you note nothing else in this post, note this: even when we are caught up with our own emotions, God calls us out of our sorrowful state and commands us to move toward a new blessing. God does not want us to remain in an emotional funk, no matter how justified being in that state is. He wants His children to move forward and upward at all times. This is what I love about God!

And like Samuel, we must be obedient and listening to do this. In spite of his emotions, Samuel got up, went to Bethlehem and listened carefully to God when Jesse brought out his sons.

When Jesse’s sons came before Samuel  and one by one, God said, “I have not chosen him”, special-ears Samuel, knew there was a problem -he knew that if God told Him that a King would be provided from one of Jesse’s sons, and the seven that paraded before him were not chosen by God, then there must have been another son. This logic made sense to Samuel because he knew God’s word was true and what the Lord says is. So he asked a strange question, is there another one? That is when Jesse mentioned David!

Samuel could have decided that one of the seven sons was the best choice to be king; he could have doubted God’s choice when he saw the young David, who looked nice but did not look like a king, but Samuel did not lean toward his own preference and knowledge, he acted strictly on what the Lord had told him to do…and anointed young David.

As believers, we have to ask strange questions of our circumstances when they go contrary to what God says to us or what His word says to us. We have to learn to look for more than what our eyes can see because of what God has promised us. We have to learn to listen to His word even when our emotions are contrarily tickled. This takes time but the Holy Spirit is available to work with us.

I am slowly learning that a heart like David’s is what we all desire (one that gains God’s approval) but a heart like Samuel is one worth having too – a heart that obeys God’s commands even if what we see goes against our tradition (in those days, the oldest son was almost always chosen to receive the blessing or anointing…not the youngest. David was the youngest of his brothers); a heart that obeys God against our emotions and a heart that questions that which is before us when it does not line up with what God has commanded of us or promised to us.

Love, peace and light,

Dee

Scripture of the Week: “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 people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16: 7

(c) 2016, Dentrecia Blanchette