Summary: The unlikely people God chooses to accomplish his purposes are those who have a heart for him, who love God passionately and choose to follow him even when the going gets tough.
Over the summer I will be preaching a series from the life of David, the shepherd boy who became the king over the nation of Israel. David’s descendents became the great line of kings who would rule over Israel and then Judah for 423 years. It was to David that God promised he would establish his throne forever, that a descendent of David’s son would rule over God’s kingdom forever (1 Chr. 17:12). We know this descendent to be Jesus, mentioned as the Son of David in the gospels. Jesus became the king of kings, who was and is exalted to the right hand of God, and who has established his kingdom in the world through us Christians, the church, and at some day would come again to rule over the whole earth.
Why focus on David? There is a couple of reasons. 1) More is written in the Bible about David than any other person except Jesus. 2) David was an ordinary person who was used by God in an extraordinary way because he was a man after God’s heart. By looking at David’s life we can learn how we, normal Christians, can be used by God in extraordinary ways.
I. God’s Measuring Stick for His Calling – the Heart
As we begin looking at the life of David let me ask you a question to get you thinking a little bit. Who does God choose to accomplish his purposes? Let me say it in another way, what kind of person does God pick to do his supernatural work in the world? Does God choose the “good” people that have got it all together? The really talented people? Smart people? The people who come from good family backgrounds? Charismatic or outgoing people? Good looking people? What does God look for when choosing people to do his work? God does not choose people by the worlds standards. God does not look at the outside packaging, rather God looks at the inside. God uses one measuring stick above all others to choose people to accomplish his plans, and it has nothing to do with anything on the list I just mentioned. The one thing God looks at is the heart. He chooses people who are sold out for God, whose motives and intentions are focused on God’s desires above their own. God is looking for people who love him and have a heart to serve God without thought to what they will receive in return. How do I know? David.
II. David the Unlikely King
David is perfect example that God is really looking at a persons heart to accomplish his purposes.
Before we get into David’s part of this story, let me give you a little background on our passage this morning. By the time we get to 1 Sam. 16, the very first king has been ruling over Israel for 20-25 year, his name was Saul. God didn’t want to give his people Israel a king, but they demanded one because they wanted to be just like the nations surrounding them. God finally conceded and chose a king they would want, God chose Saul. By all human standards Saul was a perfect candidate for king, the Bible says Saul was a head taller than anyone else, and handsome (1 Sam. 9:1-2). His family was wealthy and influential. He made a perfect king, at least by human standards.
At first Saul seemed to be a good king, he mobilized the scattered nation of Israel to win victories against the attacks of surrounding nations. However while he won victories on the battlefield, as time rolled on, it became evident that he had many flaws. He was impatient and impulsive, prone to temper tantrums, was concerned about his image and popularity (in other words he was interested in what people thought of him rather than what God thought of him), he was prone to jealousy, and worst he disobeyed God on several occasions. Although Saul was a natural choice for king by outward appearances, he failed as a king. Just before we are introduced to David, we learn in chapter 15 that God had rejected Saul because of Saul’s disobedience of God, and he sent the prophet Samuel out to anoint a new king over Israel whom God had already chosen.
We read in 1 Sam. 16:1
"God sent the prophet Samuel to the house of Jesse in Bethlehem to anoint one of his sons to be the next king." Which son would it be? Jesse lined his sons up from oldest to youngest for Samuel’s inspection. The first was Eliab, the oldest and Samuel thought surely this was God’s chosen, he was a lot like Saul, tall, dark, handsome, strong, a soldier. But what was God’s response to Samuel?
1 Sam. 16:7 "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 man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’"