While studying the life of David with my husband this week in preparation for Bible study class, we found ourselves reading about the anointment of David by God; particularly how and why David was chosen. In 1 Samuel chapter 16 we find that King Saul has lost favor with God. He has rebelled against the Lord and God has set into motion the removal and replacement of Saul. God sent the prophet, Samuel, to Bethlehem to see a man named Jesse, who was the grandson of Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 4:17, 22.) From Jesse’s sons God would anoint the future King of Israel.
We don’t know if Jesse knew that Samuel was coming. I can only imagine what would be going on in his mind if he did. Was he in turmoil over which child to present? Did he have a clear favorite? Was he concerned about how his children would represent him? I would be a nervous wreck. Wouldn’t you be?
When Samuel arrives at Jesse’s home he is immediately met with Jesse’s oldest son, Eliab. Eliab was a tall, handsome man. The best of Jesse’s crop so to speak. Samuel himself believes immediately that he is standing in the presence of the future king, but God says otherwise.
7 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.”
Jesse presents each of his six oldest boys to Samuel. Each is rejected by God. Jesse has one son left but he is only a boy. He is working in the fields, tending sheep. Samuel sends for him. His is the heart God wants.
11 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.” 12 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.” 13 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.
Do you see what happened here?Jesse brought forth the child he thought the highest of. The one he felt was the most qualified to be King of Israel. He based that on the things he knew of his son. His height was of importance, as I am sure was his education, strength, and appearance. He was judged on his outward appearance, as we all are. God said no to his first choice. God continued to say no to all of the sons Jesse felt were fit for this role. Did you notice that Jesse hadn’t even bothered to have David home and cleaned up for this meeting? He didn’t even consider him as a possible candidate. The Bible tells us that David was handsome, but small and rugged. He was only a boy. It was probably laughable that he would be considered for such an important position as King. But God didn’t laugh.
God did not care about his stature or appearance or even his age. He wasn’t worried about how polished or educated this boys was. God only wanted his willing heart. David trusted God daily. We learn in later verses that David had fought off both a bear and a lion while tending sheep. God protected him because he believed that He would. David was faithful, fearless and in complete submission to God. That’s what God was after; a man, regardless of stature, who had a heart for Him.
When we are teaching our children we see their differences. We know their weaknesses and their strengths. We know who’s more likely to have a career in math or science and which one will be more artistic or free spirited. We know our children on a very deep level but we cannot know them the way that God knows them. This is why His plan for them is so much greater than ours ever could be. We sometimes stifle our children’s future by putting our own limitations on them.
That child you have who struggles to read or learn may be weighing your soul down today. You may be banging your head against a wall and hitting your knees on a daily basis for him to understand. You may be questioning how you’re going to get him prepared for adulthood. We all want our children to be successful but it’s not always so black and white. Sometimes the best way to prepare them is to give them to Jesus. Every day.
Jesus can prepare our children for their future in a way that we cannot even fathom. He already knows their struggles. He knows the sins of their hearts. He knows where they will fail and where they will soar. He’s designed a plan for them to soar! He tells us this in Jeremiah 29…
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a]and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Stop worrying about your children. Teach them to have a heart that is submissive to God. This will take him farther than algebra ever could. Yes, it is our job to educate our kids and to give them as much as we possibly can to prepare them for their lives but let us not forget what God wants from them. He wants a willing heart. He wants a heart who will obey, trust and believe. If we can give our children that they will go on to live out the greatest of God’s plans for their life. There is nothing more valuable to a mother than seeing their child succeed!
Our children are called for great things in this world. Our God does not call the qualified, our gracious God qualifies the called.