It Ain’t What It Looks Like: I Samuel 16


He was a young boy.  Handsome.  Had dreams.  His brothers envied him.  There were bigger ones.  Stronger ones.  And, they decided to kill him.  Leave him for dead in a pit.  Long story short is that he was rescued and God used him to rescue his whole family.

But, who would have thought?  The young one?  He didn’t look like he would have been the one.

Over 400 years later.


A 40 year old adopted son strikes down someone, hides the murder, and then runs scared.  Like a little scared cat he runs away.  This is no champion.  This is a 40 year old runaway.  So, he hides in the wilderness. He’s scared to face the nation that adopted him and fearful of his own people.  When God appears to him in a burning bush, it’s no surprise that he makes excuses.  He says he can’t talk.  Think about it, though…He’s 80.  He’s been running all of his life from his real identity…but God calls him.  Think about that.  God calls an 80 year old scaredy cat.

Who would have thought?  The old one.  The runaway.   The excuse maker.

Fast forward over 400 years.


The Prophet Samuel is called to go and anoint a new king.  Saul was rejected.  Time to anoint a new one.  He’s told to go to Bethlehem, to a man named Jesse, and to choose the new king from among his sons.  So, the first one comes out.  Looks pretty good.  Strong, rugged.  He’s about to anoint him, when God says, “No – not him.”

Another son comes along…he’s not quite as big, and not quite as rugged, but he’s pretty big.  He’s got a swagger about him.  Yes, he’s the one.

God says, “Not him.”

They go through this seven times.  Seven sons are paraded.  None are chosen.  Samuel gets upset and asks them…is there another?   And they tell him, “Well, he’s just a young kid…we left him out in the flock.  We knew you wouldn’t need to see him.”

Samuel says, “Bring him here.”

Samuel knows this must be the one.  He’s expecting the new warrior king.  I wonder what was running through his mind.  He may have been thinking, “I’m pumped…our next warrior king!”

He was expecting a first year NFL draft pick…instead he got something that looked more like boy band material.

I probably would have thought, “God, are you sure?  This kid is going to be our next warrior king?  He’s going to defeat the Philistines…Couldn’t you pick someone…that looks a little…tougher, meaner…stronger…older…anybody but this pretty boy?  I was expecting someone who looked more like The Rock and less like Justin Bieber!”

That’s basically what the people thought.  That’s what Saul thought when he saw him.  But, that’s not what God said.  It’s not the way his mind works.

Here’s what God said…

But, God said to Samuel, “’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, ” I Samuel 16:12-13.

I want you to hear that again.

“Rise and anoint him; this is the one.

I’m left wondering…Why David?  

I believe that God is predictable in that he is unpredictable.

He likes to use people you wouldn’t expect.  

Think about it.  No one expected David to be king, but he was the greatest Israel ever had.  No would would have expected Moses to lead the people out of Egypt.  No one would have dared dream that the dreamer Joseph would be the deliverer of his people.

Now, if you’re doubting yourself…

I’m too old…then remember Moses.

I’m not a good speaker…then remember who held the Ten Commandments.

I was adopted…then remember Moses.

I get bullied…then remember how Joseph survived and thrived.

I’m in the pit…in prison..falsely accused…then remember Joseph who was all those things…but later became second in command in the most powerful nation in the world..

My family doesn’t even like me…then remember Joseph and how he delivered his family.

I’m too young…then remember David the greatest king of Israel.

People don’t even consider me as a leader…then remember David who was left to tend the sheep..but later we still sing his Shepherd Psalm.

I’m not big enough, strong enough, or tall enough…then remember that God rejected the proud Saul and chose the humble David.

I don’t look the part…then remember the one who was chosen.

Any time you doubt that you are right for the part…know that God can use you in your weaknesses to show his strength…because God sees you differently:

“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.”  I Samuel 16:7.

So, remember this…once David was chosen, God’s Spirit came upon him mightily.  Be filled with God’s Spirit, and God can use you to do awesome things.  But, remember, it’s not about you.  It’s about God working in you.


flickr photo by Themeplus

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