Jump Start # 2390
1 Samuel 16:11 “And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are these all the children?’ And he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest, and behold his is tending the sheep.’ Then Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes.’”
Our verse today is the connection between David and Samuel. Saul was the king but God was finished with him. He disobeyed God repeatedly throughout his reign. A new king was to be appointed and it would be David. Samuel knew the family but not the specific person who God was choosing. Jesse, David’s father, had several children. Three sons are named. A total of seven sons appear before Samuel. None of them are the choice. There remained one more, the youngest, and probably, the least likely of the bunch, David.
David wasn’t in the house. He was in the fields tending the sheep, which tells us that Jesse was probably not a wealthy man. Watching sheep is something that hired men could do, not sons. And, very likely, each of Jesse’s sons, took turns watching the sheep until the next one was old enough to take his place. And, now, there is David, the youngest. It’s his turn and he’s out with the sheep.
There is layered here several lessons for us.
First, the oldest aren’t always the best, the tops, nor the chosen. Side by side, David’s older brothers likely had more knowledge, experience and would be better picks. Even Samuel thought the oldest would be the one. But often that’s not the case. God was looking at hearts, not size, not strength, nor years on the job. Some of us have gotten older through the years, but we haven’t gotten any better.
Even in the church this generational difference can be an issue. Although the office and the term “elder” implies years and experience, that doesn’t discount the heart of some who are younger. Paul told Timothy to not let others look down upon his youthful age. Instead, he was to be an example. In faith, heart and behavior, Timothy was to show others by his life, what all should be doing. Young and dumb is not only insulting, but it would question the wisdom of God in choosing a young David. Fresh ideas can bring life to an old, stale congregation, if it is allowed. Some church buildings I’ve been in would make great episodes for a hoarder show. Some congregations are acting as if we are still in the 1960’s. We certainly will never change God’s message, but the methods we use and the way we try to attract folks certainly needs some serious looking at. And, often, those very ideas do not come from the top down, but from the bottom up. It’s not the older folks, who can be stuck in their ways, but the younger ones who are eager to get things going. It was the youngest, not the oldest of Jesse’s children that was chosen by God.
Second, David’s brothers all had the same opportunities as he did. We are not talking about people from different families or different countries. They came from the same dad and likely they all tended the sheep at one time in their lives. David used that time to grow his faith. He cared for the sheep with tenderness and compassion. He fought to protect those sheep from wild animals. I think about a few of the summer jobs I had in high school and in college. Several of them I hated. I spent way too much time wishing I was somewhere else and wishing I had a better job. Watching sheep isn’t something that is exciting. The shepherd is alone. No one to talk to. No cell phones. No tablets to entertain you. No earbuds. David made his own music with his harp. He honed his skills as a hunter with the sling shot. Little did he know that the harp would put in in the palace one day and his sling shot would put him before a giant. So many of the Psalms are written as if someone is outside looking at the stars at night. As David did that, he wasn’t day dreaming, he wasn’t pouting because there was no one else in the family to take his place in the fields. He was thinking about God. His heart was opened to God. He used that time to connect, grow and build his faith.
There are many tasks that we do in a week that doesn’t take a lot of brain power. Mowing the yard is pretty simple. Running the vacuum, washing dishes, folding clothes, all of them can be done without intense mental energy. While we are doing those things, where is our minds? Great times to pray. Great times to focus upon good things. Great times to be thankful. Great times to pull thoughts Heavenward. That’s David. God saw that. His brothers could have, but they didn’t. Now, I wonder if we do?
Third, David’s brothers were passed over by God. There wasn’t anything there that impressed God. God was looking at the hearts and he kept looking and looking. He knew what was in David’s heart. David was the one God wanted. This is not to say that David’s brothers were bad, wicked or evil. They didn’t have the heart of God like David did.
It’s not uncommon for a congregation to look over the men in the group to select deacons and shepherds. Some men are not even considered. They may be of age, but there’s nothing there. There’s no outstanding spiritual qualities. They come but for some that’s about it. Now, some, when it is announced that men will be selected, suddenly polish themselves up real good and try to out shine the others, but it’s too late. Either a person has the heart or they don’t. Pretending or even faking doesn’t work.
There was something in young David’s heart that caught the eye of God. I wonder if such is in your heart? Are you living daily as God would want? Are you making the right choices every day? Are you showing compassion for others? Do you walk with the Lord? God sees those things. Those are the things that catches the attention of not only Heaven, but God’s people.
Samuel asked, “Are these all the children?” Is this it? Slim pickins’ we might say. No all stars here. Run of the mill, plain ole’ average people, but nothing that is catching the eye of God. Noting “kingly” in this bunch. And, we must wonder, if you and I were standing in that line, would God had noticed anything about us? It didn’t start when David walked into that house. It was already there. God saw it when David was alone in the fields. What is God seeing when you are alone?
The heart is what God is interested in. The heart of faith.