Samuel worked for God and he was on assignment. Israel needed a new king and Samuel was on his way to Jesse of Bethlehem because God had chosen one of Jesse’s eight sons to be Israel’s next king. God hadn’t told Samuel which son was the chosen one, but had simply said to Samuel “. . . I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for Me the one I indicate.” (1 Samuel 16:3)
Now a little back story here. Samuel was an Old Testament prophet, a man of God who spoke God’s word to Israel. Israel’s current king, Saul, had fallen out of favor with God because he had disobeyed God’s instructions to him, given through Samuel. It was time for a new king and Samuel’s assignment at the moment was to identify and anoint Saul’s successor. But Samuel almost picked the wrong guy. In 1 Samuel 16:6-7, we read what happened,
“When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ ”
And that makes all the difference in the world – “but the Lord” – He alone has the unique ability to look at people’s hearts (because He made them) rather than rely on their physical appearance in order to make any sort of a judgement. This could explain why God is the only one “who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23) He sees our hearts. In Hebrews 4:12-13 we read this about God’s word –
” . . . it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
My eyesight is limited to the physical realm and isn’t all that clear a lot of the time, except maybe in hindsight. But my Heavenly Father has perfect vision in every aspect, both physical and spiritual, and His past, present and future vision are all perfect too.
Samuel saw Eliab’s height and made an assumption that he was destined to become Israel’s next king. Samuel would have made a big mistake – “But the Lord” spoke to Samuel and instructed him saying “but the Lord looks at the heart.” Samuel listened to God. Jesse introduced each of his sons to Samuel until finally –
“Then the Lord said, ‘Rise and anoint him; he is the one.’ So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power.” (1 Samuel 16:12-13)
Samuel would have gotten it wrong – “but God.” That’s the story of my life. I have a plan – “but God” – God has a better plan. How many times does He save me from myself? (that’s a rhetorical question) I am grateful for God’s intervention in my life each and every day. Where would I be except “but God”?
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)
sincerely, Grace Day