God instructed Samuel, the prophet, to anoint a new king over Israel. “I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons” (1 Samuel 16:1). Please notice how specifically God spoke to Samuel. The Lord gave him both the father’s name as well as the town where he lived.
Earlier in the story, God gave Samuel details about situations that were going to happen. For example, Samuel knew about a man who would be carrying three loaves of bread. He knew about a group of musical prophets, where they would be, and exactly what instruments they would be playing.
In light of all this, doesn’t the instruction about one of Jesse’s sons seem strange? After all, if there were multiple sons, why not name the chosen one? Why the generic, “a king among his sons”?
Is it possible that there was a lesson that Samuel needed to learn, or at least one that needed to be passed on to us?
As Samuel checked out Jesse’s male offspring, the first was Eliab. He was apparently a big, strong, handsome man. In his mind, Samuel was pretty sure Eliab must be God’s choice. But the Lord spoke to him, “Do not look on his appearance or the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as a man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
If the Lord would have simply told Samuel to go anoint Jesse’s son, David, as king, we would not have gotten this lesson. And a valuable lesson it is. People aren’t always as they appear in the natural realm. The Lord isn’t impressed with physical looks. God sees the heart first.
So… how’s your heart today?