We’ve seen in I Samuel 15 that King Saul disobeyed a clear and direct command from God to annihilate the Amalekite people, including their animals! Saul is then rejected as king by the Lord. Samuel mourns this turn of events, and the Lord commands him to stop mourning (v. 1)! There is a time to mourn and there is a time to get on with the Lord’s business!
The Lord sends Samuel to Jesse of Bethlehem to anoint one of his sons as king. Samuel understandably fears a reprisal by Saul. The Lord gives Samuel a plan — a plan to have a worship service and to invite Jesse to the sacrifice (v. 3).
The Bethlehem elders tremble when they see Samuel, asking if he was coming in peace. Samuel consecrates Jesse and his sons at the service (v. 5).
Samuel then goes through (in his mind) the selection process, seeing Eliab and thinking, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed” (v. 6). The Lord says 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.” (v. 7). [Remember that Saul’s height was one of his impressive features when he was anointed king].
A second son, Abinadab, was presented to Samuel who then said, “The Lord hasn’t chosen this one either” (v. 8). Then Shammah passes by and is rejected. Seven of Jesse’s sons pass by Samuel and are rejected. “Are these all your sons?”, Samuel asks Jesse.
“There is still the youngest, tending the sheep,” Jesse said. Samuel asks that he be sent. When David arrives, the text says, “He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.”
The Lord commands Samuel to anoint David who promptly obeys. We read that, “from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David.” (v. 13).
Some takeaways for me:
1. There is a time to mourn. And some of us do precious little mourning. But there is also a time to move on and do the Lord’s work!
2. Like King Saul, we can trust our evaluative processes too much. Samuel’s sense of which son of Jesse should be anointed was not the Lord’s will. We should use the best powers of judgment the Lord gives us, but tentatively, realizing the Lord may have other plans.
3. I need to long that the Spirit of the Lord would come powerfully on me to do the work that He has set out for me. The same goes for you, my friend.