“The Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.’ And Samuel said, ‘How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.’ And the Lord said, ‘Take a heifer with you and say, “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.” And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.’ Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, ‘Do you come peaceably?’ And he said, ‘Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.’ And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
“When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord's anointed is before him.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’ Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’ Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’ And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen these.’ Then Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are all your sons here?’ And he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.’ And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.’ And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, ‘Arise, anoint him, for this is he.’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.” (1 Samuel 16:1-13)
God’s people, the Israelites, saw that all of the other nations around them had kings, and they wanted one too. Many times, what we think we want doesn’t turn out to be good for us. So it was with the Israelites. Saul seemed like a good king at first, but soon he became proud, selfish, and wouldn’t listen to God. God determined it was time to select a new king for His people.
God sent His prophet Samuel to Bethlehem to meet with a man named Jesse, who was the grandson of Boaz and Ruth. God promised to tell Samuel which of Jesse’s eight sons would be the future king of Israel. Samuel, much like us, looked at the outer appearance of each of Jesse’s sons and thought the biggest and the strongest would be the new king. However, God doesn’t see things the same way we do. God told Samuel that He doesn’t value the outside of the person, but He looks at the inside—the heart. God wants a heart that loves Him, will follow His plan, and is completely His. Much to Samuel’s surprise, God picked David, the youngest and smallest of Jesse’s sons.
Though David certainly wasn’t perfect, he loved and trusted God completely. Because of that, God was able to work through David to do some great things. And through David’s family, many generations later, a new King was born in Bethlehem. This baby didn’t look much like a king either. In fact, Isaiah 53:2 says, “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” However, God’s plan is always perfect, and He sent a perfect King who would lead humbly, serve selflessly, and rule eternally (Philippians 2:5-11).
Draw a jar of oil to remind you of the oil Samuel used to anoint David as king. God does not look at a person’s outward appearance, but rather at their heart. Take time to encourage one another today by sharing at least one thing you’re thankful for about each of them. Pray that God would strengthen your family’s faith in the Lord so that what you internally believe is true about God would show up in your external actions.