“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.” -1 Samuel 16:7
Could God really use me? I don’t have experience in that field? I’m too old to do that! I didn’t go to college!
Our list of excuses are endless. As humans, we’re always ready to meet a challenge with an excuse. But as I read 1 Samuel this afternoon, God started speaking to me and this post is the product of our discourse. Let me start with discussing the events prior to 1 Samuel 16.
The Israelites were determined to have a king. This is after the Lord answered their cries for freedom from Egyptian control. After he provided every meal they ate, after he extended new mercies despite their unbelief, even after Samuel delivered a message from the Lord about how big of a mistake it would be, they were STILL convinced that a king other than the Lord was required.
Scripture states in 1 Samuel 8:19-20, “But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20: Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”
“Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight out battles.” This really jumped out at me, because how many of us are guilty of asking God for carbon-copied assignments? We see what our friends are achieving, we see the luxurious lifestyles of various celebrities and we’re quickly dissuaded from what God is calling us to do. I remember as a child, I would ask my mom for all the trendy apparel, and she would say, “Why do you want that?” My response was, “Everybody else has it.” In return, she would say, “Well, you’re not everybody else.” At the time, I didn’t understand the relevance of that statement, but it’s a nugget of wisdom that has framed my life. And as children of God, we, too, have to remember, “We’re not everybody else.”
So Samuel consults with the Lord and he’s instructed to give the Israelites what they’re demanding- a king. Samuel appoints Saul as their king and things started unfolding just as the Lord predicted. Now, let’s fast forward to the end of Saul’s reign. Saul has rebelled against the Lord byway of disobedience and he’s now getting the boot. Who’s going to replace him? You’ll have to read on to find out. So, the Lord sends Samuel to Bethlehem where he’s to anoint the chosen leader.
When Samuel meets Jesse, he’s introduced to his first son, Eliab, and he’s convinced that Eliab is the one God has anointed. 1 Samuel 16:6, “When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” But Samuel thought wrong. We, too, cannot allow our thoughts to sway us from fulfilling our assignment. God says 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.”
The scripture says that Jesse sent seven of his sons before David. It’s safe to assume that Jesse was bringing the cream of the crop, but none of them were chosen. So Samuel says, “Are these all the sons you have? (1 Sam 16:11)” And Jesse replies,“There is still the youngest, but he is tending the sheep. (1 Sam 16:11)“
As I was reading this particular chapter, God reminded me of the Cinderella tale. In that classic tale, the evil stepmother presents all of the sisters except Cinderella. She never thought Cinderella was worthy of the prince’s attention. I mean she was a slave basically, who would be interested in her? She didn’t look like a princess; she didn’t have previous experience with being a princess; but in the end she was chosen.
David was the Cinderella in his family. He was overlooked, undervalued and least likely to “wow” the Lord (according to his family), but when he walked into the room, the Lord immediately spoke to Samuel stating, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one. (1 Sam 16:12) And we all know that David turned out to be a brave and devoted leader for God’s Kingdom!
So how does this apply to my life?
When God calls you to accomplish a specific assignment, he’s not concerned with how things appear on the outside. He’s not looking at your physical attributes, he’s not concerned with your résumé, you can toss those letters of recommendation; God looks at your heart. Whatever he’s asking you to do, wherever he’s sending you, do not question his direction. The Israelites focused on what they could see, that’s not faith nor is it trust. When God chooses you, understand that he’s aware of your age, your IQ, your experience and your past, and it’s just not relevant to Him!
So hold tight to your assignment, trust the journey and exchange those excuses with one powerful truth, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phillipians 4:13)”