God Chooses the Faithful
David was the unlikeliest of choice to be the King of Israel. History knows David as the boy who kills Goliath. He becomes the mighty man of God who destroys the enemies of God. He is remembered as the chosen King of Israel and the man after God’s own heart according to the Bible. Yet, his own family initially had a very different view of him. David was evidently the overlooked son. His own father did not think he was qualified. He was the last of Jesse’s sons likely to be chosen as a warrior King. Yet, when God went looking for a King, He rejects everyone else in favor of David. Out of all the possible candidates in Israel, God picks a young boy. Why? What was so special about David. It was the same thing that leads David to be called a man after God’s heart. When push came to shove, David would always do what God said to do. Obedience to God is what made David extraordinary, not natural talents.
God works miracles with the simplest of people who are willing to listen to Him.
God’s Standard for Service
Samuel was the prophet of God sent to find the man who would be the new King of Israel. The current King, Saul, stopped listening to God and refused to repent each time that he was confronted with it. He had a ton of excuses but no actual sorrow over failing to obey God. So God sent Samuel to the family of Jesse to choose a new King. An interesting thing happens when Samuel arrives.
Even Godly Men Can be Fooled by Appearance
Jesse has household overflowing with blessing in his 8 sons. Samuel is sent to his home to choose the next King from among these sons. When Samuel arrives to examine them, Jesse only brings out 7 of the boys and parades them before the old prophet. They are evidently an impressive as Samuel is immediately taken in by the sight. He sees the oldest, Eliab, and thinks the King choosing contest is over. This guy just looks like a King! Eliab was likely tall, strong and handsome. He seemed like the type of man who would look good on horseback leading his men into battle. He appeared to be God’s mighty warrior because he was physically gifted. Since Eliab looked the part his selection made perfect sense to Samuel. Yet, God’s standard for choosing His leaders is very different.
God Sees a Man’s Heart
Samuel is a faithful prophet of God. He is acting as God’s man in this selection process but even he is open to deception. He sees Eliab’s outward physical appearance and is impressed. He doesn’t see Eliab’s heart. God does and is put off. God rejects him outright. What is the problem? Eliab’s heart is not with the Lord. He looked great but was in some way not dedicated to being God’s man. Six more of Jesse’s sons are brought before Samuel and meet his approval only to be rejected by God. Each one does not have the heart for God that God is looking for. They are blessed in every way as the world judges but they are not men after God’s own heart. When things would get tough they would do their own thing rather than follow God. They would walk by sight and not by faith.
The process gets so bad that it Jesse appears to run out of sons. It looks like Samuel has struck out. Each of Jesse’s sons has passed by and each has been rejected. Finally, Samuel asks Jesse whether he has any other sons hidden away somewhere. It is only then Jesse considers God may be looking for David. Jesse seems to have very little regard for the qualities in David that will make him a great King of Israel. David is exactly the man the Nation of Israel needs but not even his dad realizes it.
Man’s self-centered standard has Samuel and Jesse looking for the completely wrong type of King. This is what led Israel to originally ask for Saul as their first King. The main characteristics Saul displayed that had people clamoring for him was that he was tall and handsome. He was the tallest, dreamiest man around therefore he would be a great king. This crazy, right? Well, consider current political races. Someone who just looks the part is more likely to get elected than the one who is qualified but is not physically impressive. Closer to home, the eloquent good looking speaker is much more likely to be chosen to fill pulpits in the churches across the world than the man who is faithful but unimpressive. Man is still deceived by the outward appearances.
This same warped logic recurs when Israel receives her true King, Jesus. The Jews are looking for a King that satisfy their characteristics rather than God’s. They are looking for an Eliab, one who appears like a warrior King to lead a rebellion against Rome rather than the King sent directly from heaven. They are looking for the King who impresses them outwardly rather than the King that God has given them and that they need.
God Chose the Right Man
After David is chosen and anointed King, a wonderfully telling incident takes place. God displays why He chose David over his more impressive brothers. David’s trust is in God and not his own talents. We know the story of David and Goliath. The young boy David uses his sling to fell the giant warrior of the Philistines. We tend to focus on the climax of the story where Goliath is killed by the rock flung from the sling of David. But there is more to the account. David only faces Goliath because his father asks him to bring provisions to his 3 oldest brothers. They are part of the terrified army of Israel that is arrayed against the Philistines. It appears that David is too young for military service. Do we remember what happens before David arrives and faces Goliath?
Eliab Does Not Trust God
Goliath taunts the Israelites for days. He challenged King Saul and his army to single combat to decide the outcome of the battle. The Israelites refuse and cower in fear before him. Included among this army of cowering Israelites are the very men who Samuel thought should have been King of Israel before David. His oldest brother Eliab sees Goliath and his heart fails him. Eliab measures his strength against the giant’s and knows that he would fall in that battle. His talents are not enough to defeat the enemy. The same happens to the other two brothers. They apparently never factor in that they are only the vessels. It is God who will fight Goliath. All they have to do is have faith. This is where the reason for God’s rejection becomes so clear. They simply do not have the same trust and hope in God as David. They may be taller, more handsome and stronger than David but they are not men after God’s own heart like David. Much like their King Saul, their judgment and actions have very little to do with God and his power.
In contrast, David is appalled by the situations he finds. He rightly sees that Goliath’s mockery is not only for the scared warriors but for God Himself. Where his brother’s hearts failed them, David’s is filled with outrage. How dare Goliath oppose the Army of God.
Where David’s brothers are aware that their strength is no match for Goliath, David knows that it is God that is fighting the battle and rejoices. David shows very quickly he is the man after God’s own heart. No matter the challenge or odds, David would take on the enemies of God trusting that God would deliver them. His heart is with God and therefore he is the one chosen to be God’s servant. God sees the heart and judges accordingly.
What is Our Standard for Service?
How are we judging ourselves and others for God’s service? Are we being like Samuel and seeing the outward appearance? Do we feel like because we are not tall, strong and handsome like Eliab, we have nothing to offer God? Are we picking people for our team who are impressive in the eyes of the world? The story of Eliab and David shows these are huge mistakes. The Lord is concerned with a person’s heart. He will work from there and do great things with a humble, willing servant. God has more than enough talent and ability for all of us.
Or if we are struggling with a calling in our service to God, do we trust what the Lord says? That He is looking for a few good men and women whose hearts are with Him to show Himself strong on our behalf. Not because we look good, sound good or are members of MENSA, but simply because we are dedicated to Him. His power is at our fingertips and still more than enough to destroy even the scariest giants in our lives today. We just have to put all of our trust in Him and do what He says.
Where is our heart today? Where is our hope today? Where is our trust today?
Are we choosing David or are you Eliab? Are we judging ourselves by our hearts with the Lord or on how tall we are?
Trust is God’s standard today! He may have giants out there just waiting for you to take them down.