Summary: Too often, young people are told that they aren’t good enough, experienced enough, or educated enough. Meanwhile, talent and gifts are going unused.
Tonight, I want to start right off by jumping into the Word and looking at a passage about a young boy being used by God in a big way. Let’s open our Bibles to 1 Samuel 16:1-13.
***Have a youth read 1 Samuel 16:1-13***
As we pick up our text, a man named Saul has been King of Israel. In fact, he was the very first king the nation had ever had. The people, after a time of being led by judges who were appointed by God, demanded that they have a king so that they could be like the other nations. The people had grown tired of following God and wanted someone that they could see and who would strike fear into their enemies hearts. They wanted all the glamor, the power, and the presence of a human leader. God was hurt and not pleased but gave the people what they wanted anyways.
Saul was chosen from the tribe of Benjamin, and then from a very wealthy and influential family within the tribe, which according to our standards makes perfect sense for the future king. Saul also was known as the “most handsome man in Israel – head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land.” Again, sounds great when it comes to a king. The people would have been instantly attracted to him as a king due to his success, wealth, and good looks. Unfortunately for the people, this relationship, though everything looked good at the beginning, did not work out very well. Saul became very selfish and prideful. God became an afterthought to Saul and he began to do what he wanted, when he wanted, so eventually, God rejected him as king over Israel and sends Samuel out to anoint the next king who would replace Saul. God tells Samuel to head to a little town called Bethlehem where he is to find a man named Jesse because it is one of his sons who will be the next king of Israel.
Upon arriving, Samuel invites Jesse’s family to a sacrifice so that he could carry out what God asked him to do. As Jesse’s family arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab, probably the oldest and very handsome, and he said, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!” But God quickly says that it isn’t and says something very counter cultural and unexpected. God warns Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” In one minute, God took the way that man thinks about power, presence, and leadership and shot it down saying that God looks at something different that appearance, instead God looks at the heart.
One by one, Jesse has seven of his sons come before Samuel but not one of them is the next king. Sensing the frustration in Samuel’s voice he asks Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” And Jesse says that they had left out the youngest who is out in the fields watching the sheep and goats. So they sent for David and as soon as he entered the room, Samuel knew that he was the one that God had wanted. Samuel anointed him as the next King of Israel.
The next king of Israel was a mere boy at the time. As the important prophet came to town and invited Jesse’s family to the sacrifice, it was assumed that the young David wouldn’t miss anything important by staying home. Someone had to stay home and watch the sheep and goats, so of course the obvious choice was David. But yet from the place no one expected, God called the person least expected to be one of the most important people in Israel’s history as he would go on to the be one of the greatest kings to ever live and, more importantly, whose family line would bring about the King of Kings; Jesus Christ.
In our culture, we have a habit of looking at life the way Samuel and the Israelites first looked at things. We want to look at someone’s appearance to deem them acceptable and worthy of great things. And by outward appearance, I am not just talking about looks. I’m talking about wealth, power, material possessions, experience, age, degrees and accomplishments. Take a second and think about the current presidential candidates. Each of the people running in the primaries are each very successful, powerful, rich, and popular. They have degrees and experience and all sorts of other accomplishments that have deemed them the title of “worthy candidates.” Most of them, by many standards, are good looking and attractive to a majority of people. Physical appearance is so important to some that after the New Hampshire Democratic debate a few weeks ago, the Boston Herald ran a huge article about the appearance that Hillary Clinton had had plastic surgery (which ended up not being true by the way and was simply just good lighting and good makeup).