David was chosen by God to be the King of Israel. We know him as the boy who kills Goliath and the mighty man of God who destroys the enemies of God. He is the chosen King of Israel, the man after God’s own heart. Yet, his own family had a very different view of him. David was the overlooked son of the family. He is the runt of the litter who does not get much respect from his own family. Yet, God chose him to be His man. Why did God choose him? When push came to shove, David would always do what God said to do. Obedience to God is what moves mountains.
God works miracles with the simplest of people who are willing to listen to Him.
Samuel was the prophet of God sent to find the man who would be the new King of Israel. The current King, Saul, stopped listening to God and refused to repent each time that he was confronted with it. He had a ton of excuses but no actual sorrow over failing to listen to God. So God sent Samuel to the family of Jesse to choose a new King. An interesting thing happens when Samuel arrives.
Jesse has 8 sons. When Samuel arrives to examine them and determine who would be King, Jesse brings out 7 of the boys and parades them before the old prophet. Samuel is immediately impressed. He sees the oldest, Eliab, first and judging his appearance immediately thinks he looks like a king. The King choosing contest is over. He likely was tall, strong and handsome. He just looked like the type of man who would look good on horseback leading his men into battle. He appeared to be God’s mighty warrior. Since Eliab looked the part and his selection made perfect sense to Samuel. Yet, God’s standard for choosing His leaders is very different.
Samuel sees Eliab’s physical appearance and is impressed. God sees Eliab’s heart and is put off. God rejects him outright. What is the problem? Eliab’s heart is not with the Lord. He looked great but was in some way not dedicated to being God’s man. Six more of Jesse’s sons are brought before Samuel and meet his approval only to be rejected by God. Each one does not have the heart for God that God is looking for. They are blessed in every way as the world judges but they are not men after God’s own heart. When things would get tough they would do their own thing rather than follow God. They would walk by sight and not by faith.
The process gets so bad that it Jesse appears to run out of sons. It looks like Samuel has struck out. Each of Jesse’s sons has passed by and each has been rejected. It takes Samuel asking Jesse whether he has any other sons hidden away somewhere for Jesse to even consider God may be looking for David. Jesse seems to have very little regard for the qualities in David that will make him a great King of Israel. David is exactly the man the Nation of Israel needs but not even his dad realizes it.
Man’s self-centered standard has Samuel and Jesse looking for the completely wrong type of King. This is what led Israel to originally ask for Saul as their first King. The main characteristic Saul displayed that had people clamoring for him was that he was tall. He was the tallest man around therefore he would be a great king. Makes sense, right? This same warped logic recurs when Israel receives her true King, Jesus. The fact that they are looking for the King who would lead a rebellion against Rome leads them to overlook the King sent directly from heaven. They are looking for the King that they want rather than the King that God has given them and that they need.
After David is chosen and anointed King, a wonderfully telling incident takes place. God displays why He chose David over his more impressive brothers.
We know the story of David and Goliath. The still young boy David uses his sling to fell the giant warrior of the Philistines. We focus on the climax of the story and it is truly miraculous but there is more to the account.
David only faces Goliath because his father asks him to bring provisions to his 3 oldest brothers. They are part of the terrified army of Israel that is arrayed against the Philistines. It appears that David is too young for military service.
Do we remember what happens before David arrives and faces Goliath?
Goliath has spent days taunting the Israelites. He challenged King Saul and his army to single combat to decide the outcome of the battle. The Israelites refuse and cower in fear before him. Included among this army of cowering Israelites are the very men who Samuel thought looked like they should have been King of Israel before David. His oldest brother Eliab sees Goliath and his heart fails him. The same happens to the other two brothers. They simply do not have the same trust and hope in God as David. They may be taller, more handsome and stronger than David but they are not men after God’s own heart like David. Much like their King Saul, their judgment and actions have very little to do with God and his power.
In contrast, David is appalled by the situations he finds. He rightly sees that Goliath’s mockery is not only for the scared warriors but for God Himself. Where his brother’s hearts failed them, David’s is filled with outrage. How dare Goliath oppose the Army of God.
Where David’s brothers are aware that their strength is no match for Goliath, David knows that it is God that is fighting the battle and rejoices. David is shown very quickly even as a young boy to be a man after God’s own heart. No matter the challenge or odds, David would take on the enemies of God trusting that God would deliver them.
How are we judging ourselves and others for God’s service? Are we being like Samuel and seeing the outward appearance? Do we feel like because we are not tall, strong and handsome like Eliab, we have nothing to offer God? Are we picking people for our teams that serve Jesus that are impressive in the eyes of the world?
Or do we trust what the Lord says? That He is looking for a few good men and women whose hearts are with Him. His power is still more than enough to destroy even the scariest giants in our lives today. We just have to put all of our trust in Him and do what He says when we are facing our Goliaths.
Where is your heart today? Where is your hope today? Where is your trust today?
Are you David or are you Eliab?