First Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a

God Judges the Heart

How does God judge us? How does he know we are ready for his will?

1 YHWH said to Samuel, "Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite; for I have provided a king for myself among his sons."

6 It happened, when they had come, that he looked at Eliab, and said, "Surely YHWH's anointed is before him."

7 But YHWH said to Samuel, "Don't look on his face, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him: for I see not as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but YHWH looks at the heart."

10 Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. Samuel said to Jesse, "YHWH has not chosen these." 11 Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all your children here?"

He said, "There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is keeping the sheep."

Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and get him; for we will not sit down until he comes here."

12 He sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful face, and goodly to look on. YHWH said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is he."

13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers: and the Spirit of YHWH came mightily on David from that day forward.

World English Bible

These verses tell the abbreviated story of David's first anointing as king. In the narrative, God was clearly in charge, revealing his will at the appropriate time. He commanded Samuel to visit the house of Jesse in the countryside, so he could seek a new king [16:1]. Samuel had some hesitation. He still hoped King Saul would repent. And God would again favor his anointed. But this was not to be.

Like people everywhere, Samuel was positively impressed when he saw one of Jesse's sons [16:6]. But, in the high point of the narrative, God declared his way of judgment. He measured not by appearance (or strength, or guile). He judged by the person's heart [16:7].

All of Jesse's sons were presented to Samuel. None were found acceptable [16:10]. So, Samuel asked if there were any other sons. Jesse presented his youngest, David. God commanded Samuel to anoint the boy. And the Spirit "rushed" upon David [16:11-13a].

The narrative clearly emphasized God's initiative, his judgment, and his power. He searches us, chooses us, and empowers us. His measure is the human heart. Let us pray he will reveal his intent to us. And let us pray we can freely and fully cooperate with his providence.

Have you ever been disappointed with God's will? Have you ever been delighted with God's will? Has this delight or this disappointment kept you from an openness to his will?