1 Samuel 16:6-7 (NRSV)
When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.” 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 does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
By Chuck Griffin
At this point in 1 Samuel, God had rejected Saul as king, sending the Prophet Samuel in search of a new leader for the chosen people. Samuel arrived in the right place, but his eyes were drawn to the wrong person.
Israel was led by a man who looked “kingly” but could not follow God in a sustained way despite God’s Spirit resting on him. A little later, God would tell Samuel that David was Saul’s successor, and the prophet would anoint David to fulfill the role as a man after God’s own heart.
It’s clear from David’s physical description that the people would find him physically attractive, but that was not his qualifying characteristic, the aspect of his being that would make him the greatest earthly king of Israel.
We always should remember that David certainly was not perfect. What seems to matter is that he was very much inclined toward seeking and following God’s will, an Old Testament example of the pursuit of holiness.
We are reminded that if we are to act righteously, we first have to desire that God’s will be accomplished. Developing such a desire can be a complicated step in our life-long walk with God.
After all, we have to overcome the tendency to look out for ourselves and pursue what we want, which so often has to do with how we hope to appear to other people rather than to the God who looks within us.
My mind goes to Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:7: “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” Implicit in this statement is that our asking, searching and knocking should be driven by a holy desire to see God’s will fulfilled in every aspect of our lives.
Lord, bring our hearts fully into alignment with yours, so our desires match your desires. Amen.