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.”1 Samuel 16:6-7 NIV
The prophet Samuel is on a divine assignment to anoint the next king of Israel.
The Lord sends Samuel to the household of Jesse in Bethlehem. All the prophet knows at this point is that God has chosen one of Jesse’s sons.
Have you noticed that God often discloses just one detail at a time?
When Samuel sees the first son, Eliab, he makes a snap judgement based on the son’s striking stature. Quite sure of himself, Samuel uses his human wisdom and arrives at the wrong conclusion.
Imagine if he would have acted on this initial impulse! Thankfully, he defers to the Lord, who uses the situation as a major teaching moment for the prophet … and all of us.
We’re prone to judge physical appearances. At best, it’s shallow. At worst, it’s sinful.
God sees straight through the superficial. He knows what’s hidden in our hearts. And he cares deeply about our character.
After seven of Jesse’s sons pass by Samuel, the prophet still doesn’t get the green light from God.
Going off God’s initial word, Samuel asks Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” To which the (forgetful?) father answers, “There is still the youngest … he is tending sheep.”
When the youngest son, David, arrives, the Lord gives Samuel the next detail: This is the one.
This story has many takeaways. Today, may it encourage you to seek God’s guidance and discernment rather than defaulting to your initial impressions — whether it’s about a person, decision, or situation.
And as you wait on your Father’s wisdom, remember the last word he gave you. Guard it. Obey it. He wants you to depend on him.
He always comes through.
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