People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
William Carey was a sickly boy, born to a humble family near Northampton, England. His future didn’t look too bright. But God had plans for him. Against all odds, he moved to India, where he brought incredible social reforms and translated the Bible into several Indian languages. He loved God and people, and accomplished many things for God.
David, son of Jesse, was an ordinary young man, the youngest in his family. He was seemingly an insignificant shepherd on the hills of Bethlehem (1 Samuel 16:11–12). Yet God saw David’s heart and had a plan for him. King Saul had been rejected by God for disobedience. While the prophet Samuel mourned Saul’s choices, God called Samuel to anoint a different king, one of Jesse’s sons.
When Samuel saw the handsome, tall Eliab, he naturally thought, “surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord” (v. 6). However, God’s strategy to select a king was much different than Samuel’s. In fact, God said no to each of Jesse’s sons, except the youngest one. Selecting David as king was definitely not a strategic move from God’s part, or so it seemed at first glance. What would a young shepherd have to offer his community, let alone his country?
How comforting to know that the Lord knows our hearts and has His plans for us.
Dear Lord, thank You that You care more about my heart’s attitude toward You than my outward beauty, possessions, or achievements.
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God’s priority is your heart.
Samuel, whose name means “heard by God,” was Israel’s last judge as well as a priest and prophet. Samuel was born during the time of the judges at a turning point in Israel’s history. The son of Hannah and Elkanah, Samuel was dedicated to the Lord by his mother. As a little boy, Samuel went to live in the “house of the Lord at Shiloh,” the tabernacle (see 1 Samuel 1:24–28). There he was trained under the guidance of the priest Eli, and there he received a special calling from God (3:1–21). Samuel anointed the first king, Saul (chs. 9–10); and in today’s passage we see him preparing to anoint David, Saul’s replacement (16:1–13).