When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. 1 Samuel 16:6-13
Imagine David during this process. He’s been told to shepherd the sheep, which he does really well. David defended those sheep in his possession against bears and lions. He loves his sheep, and he’s not slacking in his responsibility. As he’s watching and leading his sheep from one pasture to the next, from one watering hole to the next, someone comes bounding over the fields, telling him to go to his dad’s house. I’m thinking whomever that was stayed and took care of the sheep, and must have been trustworthy in the eyes of David, else he wouldn’t have left.
Some famous prophet has come to his dad’s house, with a heifer to sacrifice and eat, without really divulging what he was looking for. When David enters the home, I can see Samuel’s eyes fix on him, and we read of God telling him to anoint David king of Israel. After reviewing all the older brothers, their handsome visage and features, this youngest of them all is God’s choice.
David was a great shepherd to his flock. David defended this flock with his life, taking lions and bears by the beard (1 Samuel 17:34-36) and slaying them in order to save a lamb from death. He dearly loved his flock, and took this responsibility very seriously. But now, it seemed it was time for him to step away from this flock for another. He was to become king of Israel. He was to lead a larger flock, with love and dedication similar to what he demonstrated with his dad’s flock of sheep.
In this moment, I’m certain that David couldn’t figure out why God would choose him over someone else (like his brothers) to take on this task. I’m also certain that his family couldn’t figure it out. But, his faith in God determined his path. He trusted. He listened. He heard. God’s call came in a manner unexpected by all, but it came nonetheless. And David trusted. I almost never know why God does things the way he does. But, I’ve been on this journey long enough to know that God knows. His path, whether full of rocks or not, is always best. Our souls need the honing he provides. As we and others are called, sometimes in ways we’d rather not see, trust in the Lord. God knows what he’s trying to accomplish. If you feel the Lord calling you into something that seems hard or difficult, step into it. Trust.
By Rich Obrecht