Monday, March 20, 2017

The "see" that really matters

Image from The Story of the Bible
 by Charles Foster (© 1873-84)
Drawings by F. B. Schell and others

David anointed at Bethlehem - F.B. Schell
David anointed at Bethlehem
TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 16:1-23

TO CHEW ON: “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’” 1 Samuel 16:7

In 1 Samuel 16 we have five different views of David, who was soon to become an important character for the people of Israel and a pivotal player in the story of redemption.

The Parent (Jesse, David’s father):
In the eyes of his earthly father, David didn’t even rate the day off to meet with Samuel. When Samuel had gone through the first seven and asked if that was it for sons, Jesse replied: “‘There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep’” - 1 Samuel 16:11. David was the youngest. He was needed for work when the other older, more distinguished looking, filled out, fully grown sons got an invitation to worship with the prophet.

The Prophet (Samuel):
According to 1 Samuel’s introduction in my Bible, scholars believe that Samuel wrote 1 Samuel. So this description of David in the narration: “… ruddy, with bright eyes, and good looking” is probably how David looked to Samuel at this, their first meeting (1 Samuel 16:12).

God’s reaction to David is found in his words to Samuel: “‘Arise, anoint him for this is the one!’” - 1 Samuel 16:12. God chose David by what He saw in David’s heart, for he had just had Samuel turn down seven of Jesse’s sons on the basis of what was, or wasn’t, in their hearts: “‘I have refused him (and him, and him…). For the LORD… looks at the heart’” - 1 Samuel 16:7.

What came next is also significant, for following Samuel’s anointing of David “The Spirit of the LORD came on David from that day forward” - 1 Samuel 6:13.

A Fellow Citizen (Saul’s servant):
Later, when King Saul had “distressing spirit” problems and asked for help finding someone who could ease him with music, a servant who knew the populace suggested David. This is how he saw him: “‘… a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valour, a man of war, prudent in speech and a handsome person; and the LORD is with him” - 1 Samuel 16:18. Talk about a fabulous referral!

The Boss (King Saul):

So Saul summoned David for a job interview and he was hired on the spot for Saul “… loved him greatly.” David obviously passed his employment probation, for Saul soon requested of Jesse that David be released from shepherding to work for him full-time because David had “found favour” with him and could also chase the dark spirit away from Saul with his music - 1 Samuel 16:21-23.

Two take-aways:

1. God still sees and evaluates us by our hearts. No matter how young or old, ugly or beautiful, insignificant or important, skillful or klutzy we are, He sees beyond all exteriors to our inner selves. There’s no fooling Him with a fancy outside.

2. I love how David’s anointing and the Spirit’s coming upon him only enhanced his appearance, reputation, and favour. Even strangers like Saul’s servant noticed that “… the LORD is with him.” And his boss Saul experienced it through David’s work. May we, in this time when the Spirit is available for all who accept Jesus, be so filled that others would say: “The Lord is with him /her.”

PRAYER: Dear Father, I know You see my heart. Help me to see and understand myself better. And may Your Spirit on and in me be evident in the skill with which I do my work, my courageous attitude, my prudent speech, and in the favour my life attracts. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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