I Samuel 16:7,
"But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the
height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth
not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the
LORD looketh on the heart."
This morning, once again man is plagued by the observations and judgments of things that are seen. We perceive, discern, and act based on the things that we see, and many times, our error lies in the fact that our senses betrayed us, as the answer was not seen, heard, felt, tasted, or smelled. To act simply on measurable observation of the senses is a recipe for a sure and ready disaster. To believe that our observation of a thing is the gold standard is one of the peaks of human arrogance and pride. Therefore, let us learn from the Master of observation as nothing passes beyond or around His eye of sense that perceives and knows the fulness of all things in this old world. To do this and do it correctly, we must admit our own fallibility and shortcomings. We must admit that there are realms that we cannot traverse or pass over in our daily activities.
Samuel has come to the house of Jesse (at the command of the Lord) to anoint a new king over Israel to rule in the place and stead of Saul. Because of Saul's disobedience, the Lord chose a new house and a new line for royalty in Israel. Now that Israel has a king (by their own desire), the Lord will establish a new house from which the King of kings will spring. As Samuel seeks the new anointed of the Lord, the Lord teaches the prophet (and us today) a great lesson that we would do well to take heed. Samuel was a man subject to like passions as are we, and as mortal creatures, we cannot judge the heart of a person as it falls into the realm beyond our scope to discern. While we at times see and observe the fruit of a heart, we cannot state with absolute certainty the state of a man's heart. To think we can beyond a shadow of a doubt flies in the face of clear, Scriptural statement and shows man's utter folly of self-aggrandizement
Samuel looked upon Jesse's firstborn Eliab as being surely the anointed of the Lord. What Samuel was doing was placing Saul as the standard by which the Lord would act. Saul stood head and shoulders above the realm in physical stature, and Samuel looked for the new king to be commanding in physical presence and lordly in his appearance. The Lord, however, plainly declares Eliab as not the Lord's anointed along with the next 6 sons of Jesse. When the last of the sons (David) comes in, he is but a youth and of a ruddy complexion. To the worldly estimation, David is a far inferior choice based on his age, experience, presence, and appearance than Eliab is. But, the Lord chose David and rejected Eliab. What should we learn from this?
While David was young, tender, and inexperienced by worldly standards, the Lord saw a tender heart (made so by God Almighty) that He had prepared to rule over His people Israel. The world would have the choicest, richest, lordliest people to inhabit the chiefest places on this earth, but the Lord has chosen the despised, poor, and rejected people of this earth to inhabit the choicest land (church) on this earth. (Zephaniah 3:12) This poor and afflicted people have not much to offer in worldly things, but the heart of that people is tender in the sight of God and prepared and fit as vessels of honour to the Master's use in His courts.
Also, we are to learn pivotally and foremost that we are not the judges of who the Lord's people are. As inept as Samuel was at discerning who the Lord's anointed was, we are just as inept at declaring the Lord's elect family in this world. The Lord knoweth them that are His (II Timothy 2:19), and we need to be content keeping ourselves unspotted from the world, while leaving the final chair and bar of authority on that matter to Him. Our best fruit inspection that we have (profession of faith in Christ) pales in comparison to His eye that cuts through the dark and hidden things to discern those that He knows, loves, and paid for.
Lastly, David, in the Scriptures, foreshadows his future offspring (Christ) in many ways. In the next chapter, David will defeat the giant Goliath in miraculous fashion, and also give us a picture of the ultimate battle that Christ fought and won on our behalf as the spiritual house of Israel. So, what does David's anointing on this occasion foreshadow? Hebrews 1 tells us that the Father has anointed His Son with the oil of gladness above His fellows. The Father honoured His Son while He lived and worked in this old world to be the Prince that brought us life. While He did not have much in worldly goods, His is the richest King that has ever lived. While His outward appearance looked meek and lowly, He brought the salvation of sinners in full resplendent glory through the gates of heaven. While living in the poorest of conditions with not even a place to lay His head, He owns and rules over all. While perceived to the world as the son of a
lowly carpenter of Galilee, He is declared to be the Son of the Highest by the resurrection from the dead.
David went from his anointing to do great things by the hand of the Lord. His beginning looked feeble and poor, but his end is glorious and refulgent. Christ came into this world as the anointed of God in humble beginnings, but He left this world as the victorious and conquering King. What no one but God saw in David before this time was manifest in short order, and what no one saw in Christ's beginning will be manifest in due time. David was anointed in the presence of just a few witnesses, but soon all of Israel knew him as their leader and king. Christ came and was heralded to the knowledge of just a few, with even some of His miracles being perceived by a small handful, but soon all of spiritual Israel will know Him as their Lord and Master.
Dear friends, the outward appearance can only tell us a little, but God knows all from the inside out. Let us leave the inside to Him, seek to perceive and discern what we can justly and righteously and always seek to honour the One that soon all will see coming in the clouds with glory. When David ascended the throne, his enemies knew who he was (he had defeated many of them before his ascent), and some of the Lord's enemies know who is as He obliterated their power and grip before His ascension. At that last day, all will know Him from the least to the greatest, and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. Let us be found following His commands till He shall call us home and leave His matters to Him.