I was reading 1 Samuel and realised what an exceptional man Samuel was. By the time we read 1 Samuel 16 he was advanced in years (old). He has had his fair share of heartaches and disappointments as well as many years of joy in serving God as judge (leader) of the nation of Israel. He is experienced and respected by all the people, he has never acted corruptly.
At the start of this chapter (verses 1-13 are shown below from The Message) he is commissioned by the Lord to go and anoint a son of Jesse to be the next king of Israel. We can see a number of features here that make Samuel appear to be, from a godly perspective, an attractive man. Here are a few ideas.
- he has been wallowing in the disappointment of the past, as The Message puts it “moping over Saul.” Yet we see here even as an old man he is open to God’s correction. I have met any people, both old and young, who are stuck in a rut of disappointment – here is a wonderful example of allowing God to challenge and change our heart.
it would appear he initially thought God would choose a successor to Saul on the same selection criteria as had been used previously – was he tall and good looking? Yet we see he is open to God, he is listening, so he doesn’t make any hasty decisions based upon appearances but allows God to speak and to change his mind. Experience tells me that many old people base much of what they do upon what they have experienced and learned – undoubtedly this is helpful. But what happens when God wants to do it differently? Are you open to allow God to do it his way? Young or old we have to learn listening to God is essential in every sphere of life.
he was afraid of Saul. Fear cripples us. His love for God overcame his fear of man. Fear of God releases us to the liberty of the Spirit and allows us to choose God’s way of doing things – a blessed obedient sacrifice, declaring “not my will but yours.”
There are many other observations we could make. Have a read below and see for yourself.
God addressed Samuel: “So, how long are you going to mope over Saul? You know I’ve rejected him as king over Israel. Fill your flask with anointing oil and get going. I’m sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I’ve spotted the very king I want among his sons.”
2-3 “I can’t do that,” said Samuel. “Saul will hear about it and kill me.”
God said, “Take a heifer with you and announce, ‘I’ve come to lead you in worship of God, with this heifer as a sacrifice.’ Make sure Jesse gets invited. I’ll let you know what to do next. I’ll point out the one you are to anoint.”
4 Samuel did what God told him. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the town fathers greeted him, but apprehensively. “Is there something wrong?”
5 “Nothing’s wrong. I’ve come to sacrifice this heifer and lead you in the worship of God. Prepare yourselves, be consecrated, and join me in worship.” He made sure Jesse and his sons were also consecrated and called to worship.
6 When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Here he is! God’s anointed!”
7 But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.”
8 Jesse then called up Abinadab and presented him to Samuel. Samuel said, “This man isn’t God’s choice either.”
9 Next Jesse presented Shammah. Samuel said, “No, this man isn’t either.”
10 Jesse presented his seven sons to Samuel. Samuel was blunt with Jesse, “God hasn’t chosen any of these.”
11 Then he asked Jesse, “Is this it? Are there no more sons?”
“Well, yes, there’s the runt. But he’s out tending the sheep.”
Samuel ordered Jesse, “Go get him. We’re not moving from this spot until he’s here.”
12 Jesse sent for him. He was brought in, the very picture of health—bright-eyed, good-looking.
God said, “Up on your feet! Anoint him! This is the one.”
13 Samuel took his flask of oil and anointed him, with his brothers standing around watching. The Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind, God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life.
Samuel left and went home to Ramah.