The Daily Devotion, 10 May

As this devotion points out we so often like to judge from appearances.  But God judges differently   “…  for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”  Listen for the voice and let it inflame your heart with the love of the Lord.

Daily Devotional is a ministry of the Living Church Foundation.
Image licensed via Creative Commmons
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God’s Vision
Daily Devotional • May 10
By the Rev. Emily R. Hylden

Even as Samuel mourns Saul’s fall from grace, God calls the prophet to proceed with anointing the next king of Israel. Though God provides a warning when Samuel is impressed with the appearance of Jesse’s oldest son, the text is careful to provide a complimentary physical description of David when he arrives. I wonder if the Word then speaks not only of beauty, but refers to the human addiction to “the most likely to succeed.” Surely the oldest son is the one God will choose to lead his people. He’s been well-prepared for leadership and taking on his father’s responsibilities; what better person to place in even more exalted leadership?

And yet, as God does throughout Israelite history, God chooses the one whose heart is ready and willing, not the one whose résumé is most-padded. The most faithful thing is the most simple thing (though not the easiest): love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.

God’s expectations are not complicated and God’s favor is not difficult to understand, but for a species easily distracted by shiny things and long-winded speeches full of flowery words, the most simple things are often the most elusive.

1 Samuel 16:1-13a

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 2Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.” 4Samuel 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?” 5He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

6When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.” 7But 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 does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”8Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 9Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 11Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” 12He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” 13Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

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