(1 Samuel 16:1-13; 2 Samuel 5:1-5)
Lesson 6 -- Fourth Quarter 1992
October 11, 1992
© Copyright 1992, Christian Light Publications
Israel's first king got off to an appalling start. He had scarcely served 5% of his tenure when he was rejected by God. Saul didn't keep the commandment of God, so "the Lord...sought Him a man after His own heart" (1 Samuel 13:14). Saul had turned back from following God, becoming rebellious and stubborn. Saul was suffering from a common human affliction--he ceased to be little in his own sight. So God rent the kingdom of Israel from him.
And God chose David, whose heart was set after God's. God chose one of the least, knowing full well that he would always remain that way at heart. God chose an obscure server with a shepherd's heart. God chose a follower with a rock-solid faith and a delicate conscience.
Samuel suffered from another common human affliction--dazzled by the obvious. We get the impression Samuel was almost overcome by Eliab's manifest eligibility. Samuel was impressed by his physique. But likely more than that, by his bearing and demeanor. Eliab was the firstborn, accustomed to leadership, responsibility, and decision-making. This guy had KING! written all over him. But he didn't have it written in him, so God refused him.
The peril of the obvious. God doesn't look for the eloquent nor the personable nor the convincing nor the learned nor the impressive nor the forceful nor the theological. Even a person with leadership ability, magnetism, and experience is not necessarily God's choice for church leadership. We need to humble ourselves and surrender our preferences as did Samuel. We ought to follow the Lord's leading in the selection of leadership because we will naturally be dazzled by the obvious. Only God knows the heart of a man. Only God knows the end of a man. Let us subject our choices to the careful scrutiny of the Omniscient. We don't need to know just our surface reasons for choosing someone, we need to know the hidden motives of our hearts. Only God can show us those.
God chose David and allowed ample time to prepare him. Saul still had over 30 years of his reign left at this point. God taught David many lessons as He patiently guided him from being a harp-picking shepherd to being king of the mightiest kingdom in the known world of his day. Patience may well have been the major lesson. Patience is a supreme manifestation of faith. Patience says, "I know God will work; I'll wait His timing and His way." Impatience sees only self and passing time. That became David's major downfall, leading him to presumption (numbering Israel) and immorality and murder (the Bathsheba incident). However, even in these failures, God's analysis of David proved true. Here was truly a man after God's own heart. He did not try to justify himself as Saul did. David repented in true contrition.
David's choices and decisions in his youth determined his usability in later years. And so it is for you, too. One of David's relatives verbalized this principle many centuries later. "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much" (Luke 16:10). Perhaps carnality, worldliness, materialism, selfishness, and wild oats don't seem of much consequence right now. Perhaps visitation, serving, studying, devotions, a job well done, and faithful church attendance don't seem so critical right now. Do not err. Your life now shapes your usefulness later!
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