A Shepherd's Heart | 1 Samuel 16

Welcome to Real Life. Our culture prizes outward beauty. God prizes inward beauty. An ugly soul can hide from most, but never from God.

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at.
People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b

He began humbly enough. But, it wasn’t long before Israel’s first king grew proud and arrogant and directly disobeyed God. When Saul rejected God’s authority, God rejected him as king.

Therefore, the Lord sent his prophet to anoint a new king from among the sons of Jesse in Bethlehem. Jesse paraded seven sons before the prophet Samuel. But, God chose none of them. “Are these all the sons you have?” Samuel asked.

“There is still the youngest, but he is tending the sheep,” Jesse replied. Then, he summoned his youngest son. David came in directly from the fields, no time to wash or change clothes.

“Rise and anoint him; he is the one,” the Lord told Samuel.

As youngest, not even David’s father chose him for greatness. David wasn’t considered important enough to attend the sacrifice with God’s prophet. He was left to tend sheep.

     _____

At the close of WWII, my father wandered Europe as a Slovakian war refugee. From the docks in Hamburg, Germany, he stowed away on a ship bound for Canada. Upon his arrival, he was given the option to stay and immigrate if he signed a contract to work as a shepherd for five years. My father refused. They shipped him back to Hamburg.

It was my father’s dream to immigrate to America. (Eight long years later, he finally arrived on American soil in 1953.) When he told me this story, I asked, “Why wouldn’t you shepherd for five years? You’d have been so close to America.” His answer surprised me.

“Shepherding is not a manly profession.” It was a lowly job. As a young man, my father held higher aspirations.

     _____

The Lord chose a humble shepherd. David cared for his flock. He guided, nourished, and protected them. He was a good shepherd, a man after God’s own heart.[1] And so, God elevated a lowly shepherd to the highest position in the land—king of Israel!
“The Lord does not look at the things people look at.
People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b

What do you see, dear Lord, when you look at my heart?

[1] Psalm 119:1, John 10:11, 1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22
Image:  http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/lost-sheep/

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