Are you familiar with the story of how David was chosen to be king? It’s a story that starts with David being overlooked by his ENTIRE family.
King Saul, the first ever king of Israel, disobeyed God by dealing with Amalek his way instead of God’s way (1 Samuel 15:2-3,9). Saul got distracted from obedience by greed, and God knew this was a pattern that would keep repeating itself. Because Saul showed no remorse and took no responsibility for what he did (1 Samuel 15:24). And as leader of Israel, he needed to set the example for Israel in being obedient and fully committed.
So God declared it was time for a change, and He already knew who He wanted for the next leader of His people. And He sends Samuel to let him know. God tells Samuel to “fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king” (1 Samuel 16:1).
Samuel is greeted by Jesse and hosted by the entire family. Except one – “And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are all the young men here?’ Then he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep’” (1 Samuel 16:11). David was not worthy enough in his own family to meet the prophet. He was young, possibly scrawny, and maybe annoying. So they left him in the sheep fields to do the dirtiest and loneliest work possible. They chose to not even call him in for supper. How’s that for insignificant?
Because there were seven other sons to choose from, and definitely one of them would be king. They looked the part. Even Samuel assumed the oldest and most rugged boy was the next king. But God had a different plan. But God wasn’t looking for the look a king. God was looking for the heart of a servant. “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
And one by one, all seven of the brothers were brought before Samuel – and quickly rejected as the next king. Until only David, forgotten out in the fields, was left. And for the first time since Samuel arrived, David’s existence is mentioned. So Samuel insists he is brought in. And immediately God chooses him – “This is the one; anoint him” (1 Samuel 15:12).
And maybe in that moment his brothers sat down in complete disbelief. Surely their mouths dropped open in unveiled surprise. David? Really? But God made His choice, and God was sure.
David’s family saw a runt and a pest – God saw a king and a conqueror. God saw the heart that was already learning trust and loyalty to Him and Him alone. God saw the heart of a warrior and the determination of a champion. God saw the patience David was developing being separated from his family. And God honored that young heart by honoring him first and foremost in front of his family, giving them perhaps the first truth about their wrong treatment of David.
And in the moment, David may not have believed he was worthy to be king. His life didn’t change in that moment, that day, that week, or that year. In fact, as Samuel was walking away from their home, David probably returned to the place he was most welcome – the sheep field.
David may not have believed he was seen and known by God before Samuel arrived. But he was, and God showed up and showed out on David’s behalf that day and proved to David He cared greatly for him. Maybe he walked a little taller after that. Maybe he went back to the sheep fields with new purpose. He was definitely changed from that point forward.
Today is the day you can be changed, too. Today is the day you can know that God has chosen you. That God has designed you for something wonderful. That God has filled you with significance and covered you with importance. Though you may be overlooked by the world, maybe even by your own family, God sees you and knows you. And God adores you, just as you are.
So today YOU can stand a little taller as you realize how much God loves you, how uniquely God has called you, and how clearly God always sees you. Let the truth of who you are IN HIM change the way you see yourself. And let your heart be dedicated and true to Him alone. Just like David.
Marie Fremin. 2/25 and 3/4/17.