1 Samuel 16:1-13
Welcome to Lent meditation and worship with Westside church. During this Lenten season, meet us here each day as we read scripture, worship and rest in the presence of God together. Know that as you listen today, you are doing so with others whether in the same space as you or not, and we pray that the Holy Spirit permeates the places we each find ourselves in right now.
Let us start today by clearing our minds and opening our hearts and minds to what the Lord wants to speak to us through His word today. Take a deep breath in and out. And another in and out.
1 Samuel 16:1-13
1 Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.”
2 But Samuel asked, “How can I do that? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”
“Take a heifer with you,” the Lord replied, “and say that you have come to make a sacrifice to the Lord. 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you which of his sons to anoint for me.”
4 So Samuel did as the Lord instructed. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town came trembling to meet him. “What’s wrong?” they asked. “Do you come in peace?”
5 “Yes,” Samuel replied. “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then Samuel performed the purification rite for Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice, too.
6 When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!”
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
8 Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to step forward and walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “This is not the one the Lord has chosen.” 9 Next Jesse summoned Shimea, but Samuel said, “Neither is this the one the Lord has chosen.” 10 In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.”11 Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.”
“Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.”
12 So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes.
And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.”
13 So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.
The anointing of David was an unexpected outcome of Samuel’s journey to say the least. David was the youngest of the sons and was clearly not held in the same esteem as the others. His father hadn’t even thought to bring him the sacrifice with his brothers. Upon meeting the sons of Jesse, Samuel assumes he knows who God will anoint. Eliab looked like the guy you want to be king.
It wasn’t assumed that David would be the chosen one to be king because he didn’t look like a king. But God knew his heart. He saw what was inside that no one else could see. That is incredibly simple and important lesson for us all. Especially in the current world we live in.
You can do all the right things, or live the right life. Have the family and the perfect house. Volunteer all the time at church and in the community. It may look all well and good. But what is on the inside? Where is that person’s heart and is the person devoted to God or just the appearance of being devoted to God.
It’s a big difference. And we can even fool ourselves into thinking that we’re doing it right and our hearts must be in the right place. But if we never sit down and take stock of what’s inside, we may miss it. We may the Eliab in the story. This is all a part of the practice of confession and repentance. If we don’t make a habit of looking at our hearts and motivations and actions with God, then we don’t let him show us the stuff inside that is not His way. We’ll assume like everyone else that we’ve got it right. And by default, then assume those that don’t look like us have got it wrong.
By looking at the outward appearance of others creates an “Us vs Them” approach to life and that has never been the way of Jesus. We are all redeemed by Jesus and we should be looking at the world in the same manner he looks at us all, with compassion and grace.
Discerner of hearts, you look beneath our outward appearance and see your image in each of us. Banish in us the blindness that prevents us from recognizing truth, so we may see the world through your eyes and with the compassion of Jesus Christ who redeems us. Amen.
WRITE and DISCUSS
Take some time in confession and repentance of the ways you have looked at the outside of someone instead of looking at them through the eyes of Jesus.