“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
We are all familiar with the story of the Lord’s choosing of David to be the second king of Israel. But let me share an insight that had escaped me, one recently shared with me by our assistant pastor.
If you’ll go to the story and read the entire context, you’ll find that the first three sons of Jesse, David’s father, were named: Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah. Each was rejected by the Lord for reasons unseen by man, as where seven other sons, though scripture does not mention the names of these. What was it God saw that Samuel could not see?
God does not leave us in the darkness on this matter, for what disqualified these from becoming king was clearly manifested a short time later when David was sent by his father to take vituals to his brothers on the war front where Israel was being defiled by Goliath, the Philistine’s champion. On this occasion the Lord once more specifically named the first three brothers. Listen to the Word of God (1 Samuel 17) as it plainly declares the true nature of the hearts of the three named brothers, i.e., why they could never be king:
“And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.” (vs 13)
“And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle. For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army. And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren. And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them. And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.” (vss 20-24)
“And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (vs 26)
“And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause? And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.” (vss 28-30)
So the Lord is faithful to reveal why David’s brothers were not qualified to become king. While David, even in his youth, was courageous in the Lord, they were cowards, trembling when confronted by the enemies of God. And not only so, they were haughty and presumptuous, attempting to create a scapegoat for their own sins of fear and unbelief by “attacking” their youngest brother’s confidence in the Lord, treating him as if his faith were something evil. And not only so, they could not even contain their sins to themselves, but, rather, incited the same contempt for David’s holy faith in those around them. Hardly “kingly” character, behavior or fruit!
God knows best doesn’t He? When He makes a choice, though men may not understand it, it is always right. So it is with your life.
May God give you rest today as you trust in His holy, omniscient providence. He knows what He is doing. His will is best. Let Him rule.
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