"Why was David a man after God's own heart?" someone asks. Perhaps because he did not run ahead? Knowing he was to be king, he spared his predecessor twice––during manhunts for his own life.
A group of us circled a beautifully appointed living room last night (thanks, Paul and Bev). Once a month we meet to study Bible characters. Each one exposes God and humanity = God's interaction with us in community and as individuals. Yesterday, David came under the magnifying glass.
We read scripture passages aloud and then discuss the nature of God, the nature of humans, and our response to God within the joys and challenges of our own humanity. On the way home, W and I talked about what we had learned.
When Samuel came to anoint one of Jesse's sons as future king, he noted that God looked on the inner person rather than the outward appearance. David's quest to please God and his willingness to let God work out the details in God's time set him head and shoulders above seven brothers. It made the shepherd "of a few sheep" (according to a snide remark from his brother) an amazing leader of a nation.
I'm ending a season of study. I get many suggestions of what I could do and where God might be leading me. The study of David reinforced my caution against moving forward and making things happen. I'm going to wait for God's go-ahead and a clear call to action. [A year after this was written in 2012, we committed to moving to Indonesia permanently. The PhD in Intercultural Studies that I was working on will certainly come in handy, though I didn't know it at the time. It's worth waiting for God's timing. RK]
Make us beautiful inside so that your Spirit can direct us in life's menial and circuitous paths as needed, whether kingship or sheep herder is our destiny. Amen.
*The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”
But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”
The LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”
Samuel did what the LORD said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.”
Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.”
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.” Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.
Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David. 1 Samuel 16
*Read more about David in 1 Samuel 17 through 2 Samuel 2.