1 Samuel 16: 1-13, The Message translation
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 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.
Samuel knew his role. In this passage, he was to anoint a future Israelite king.
He was intimately acquainted with the Lord. He had spent the majority of his life listening to the Lord’s commands and delivering hard messages that few welcomed. But, even after a lifetime of prophesying God’s difficult to understand teachings to Israel, Samuel still initially sought logic as they way to discern the Father’s will.
Welcomed into Jesse’s home, Samuel began the process of king selection. Immediately upon meeting Jesse’s oldest son, he assumed (led astray by his own understanding) that Eliab would be the next Israelite king. And that is exactly what God had just told him not to do.
God advised him very clearly. Look, Samuel, don’t trust your eyes on this one. I’m looking for a certain kind of man. You are choose the one with a heart like none other. He will serve as my king.
Of course, we’re not privy to the entire discourse that ensued as Jesse brought the next six sons before Samuel, each of them rejected.
But we do know who God chose for Samuel to anoint – David, the youngest of eight sons, the runt, the one who wasn’t even home that day and who had to be chased down from the fields to meet the prophet.
God seemed to make an illogical choice for this next leader of nations until we remember how He reasons throughout the entire Bible.
Our Father does not reason like us. We are limited human beings, and we too often seek understanding of the wrong things.
As mothers, we strive to understand many things, especially our children. And that task is overwhelming. We long to make logical sense of why God made each child the way He did. Even more problematic, we sometimes spin our wheels trying to change our children into what we want them to be.
Homeschool moms often feel that burden amplified. After all, we spend a lot of time with our children, so shouldn’t we be that much more responsible for their personalities, their accomplishments, their characters?
Our household has just finished the hardest school year to date. We pursued the university model with four children. The Lord allowed me to feel consistently weak throughout the academic year. He permitted specific circumstances to cause pain, whipping me like a surge of stinging waves. I struggled to make sense of it, to find the logic behind school-initiated decisions that were meant to help me instruct my children well, but instead hurt.
I spent many prayer moments asking God, “Why are you allowing this _____?” I filled in the blank with many phrases. Consistently frustrated and eventually angry many days, I ended the days, emotionally exhausted and without answers to my questions. Finally, I asked the one question I should have been asking all along.
Who is this God who I attempt to understand?
Then the answers came flooding in.
He is a God who sees me. He sees you.
And He does not see things how we see them.
So although I am completely irritated at that and desperately want to understand my not understanding Him, I am disciplining myself to sit in it. I will have days when I yell and shake my fist at Him and pound my pillow like an angst-ridden, hormone-driven teenager who cannot control her mind. But I will also enjoy more tender days. And I will beg Him to do the one thing He already does and beg Him not to do the thing He promises not to do.
I beg you to understand me, and You do. Always. Forever. Intimately. Historically. Patiently.
I beg you not to give to me too much. And you never do. You withhold the knowledge of things I cannot understand so I do not have to bear them.
You save me in the very way I am asking.
I wish I could say thank you in every language because my thanks pours out of my heart in such a way that the two words don’t seem to be enough. I don’t want the repetition of the two words to lose their meaning by virtue of being repeated.
But you’re not looking for me to express myself creatively. Or intellectually. Or to have an uncanny wit or be paradoxical or anything that might be impressive to man.
Because you do not see things ever as we see them.