Summary: God looks on the heart not on the outside. The human ruler is at his most kingly when he bows before God, freely, willing, and out of love for God.

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By Guerin Tueno

What a disaster!

King Saul has gone from being the golden boy of Israel to the John Elliot of the Old Testament.

Saul’s reign was like a roller-coaster ride.

Started low, but then he shot up as King, and then down again.

He misunderstood who’s really in charge.

God isn’t some lucky mascot to drag around with you next battle.

Saul repeatedly failed to obey God.

He developed the bad habit of blaming others:

"It was my soldiers’ fault – they made me keep the good stuff"

He’s a bit vain – erecting monuments to himself.

And God has had enough.

Samuel told Saul that God is going to take away the kingship from his family and give it to someone else.

Someone after God’s own heart – who’ll care about God cares about; who’ll obey God and not forget who’s really King.

Have you ever imagined yourself as a character in the Bible?

I’ve always found the idea of being an Old Testament prophet pretty appealing.

You know, wild hair, wilder taste in clothes and getting to say in a deep voice:


But being a prophet would have had to be one of the scariest job’s going.

Poor Samuel.

He was the one who told Saul he’d failed and would lose the crown.

If I were Samuel, I would have been expecting a date with the pointy end of a spear.

And now God tells Samuel it’s time to anoint someone to eventually replace Saul.

Naturally enough Samuel believes this will cause Saul to declare open season on him.

The Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons." And Samuel said, "How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me."

So God gave Samuel a plausible reason for going out that wouldn’t get his killed, along with directions on where to go, and what will happen.

And the Lord said, "Take a heifer with you and say, ’I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you." Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem.

Eventually Samuel found Jesse and his sons.

Not an important family.

Often in the Old Testament, the writers give us someone’s family tree to show that their important, with great ancestors. But this is just Jesse of Bethlehem. Nobody special.

Samuel’s eyes look around and settle on Jesse’s son Eliab.


Good build.

Can probably wield a sword all right.

Would look good on stamps and coins.

Perfect! This one will do just fine!

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him." But 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 sees not as mortlas see: they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."

Samuel, you’re judging from the outside.

I’m concerned with what’s inside.

Saul looked right externally, but I rejected him because of his attitude to me.

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