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Inside Out

Key References: 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Patriarchs and Prophets, chap. 62, pp. 637-642; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 3, pp. 187-192; Our Beliefs, nos. 22, 18, 11

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“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 16:7).

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Heaven rejoices when we praise God wholeheartedly.

Have you ever met someone whom you felt could see inside you? Do you like what you see when you look inside yourself? Imagine David, the youngest of a large family.

David stroked the lamb on his lap, picked up his harp, and breathed deeply. It was good to be back with the sheep. He kept replaying yesterday’s events, trying to make sense of them.

David had been staring off into the distance when a messenger appeared in front of him bringing news. David learned that Samuel, the prophet was in town and had invited Jesse’s family to offer sacrifice with him. This is how the events had unfolded earlier that day:

Jesse, followed by his sons in order from oldest to youngest, filed into the place of sacrifice. When Samuel saw how the oldest carried himself, his eyes lit up. Surely, the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord, Samuel thought (1 Samuel 16:6).

The Lord had already told Samuel that Saul was no longer fit to be king. “Fill your horn with oil and be on your way,” God had commanded. “I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

“How can I go?” asked Samuel. “If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

The Lord replied and said: “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate” (verses 1-3).

So Samuel had set out with a young cow for the sacrifice and his horn of oil for anointing. The elders were happy when he told them he had come to sacrifice.

As Eliab passed before Samuel, the prophet heard the Lord’s voice, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (verse 7).

Samuel turned next to Aminadab, the second son of Jesse. “The Lord has not chosen this one, either,” Samuel said. Jesse called Shammah, the third oldest. “Nor has the Lord chosen this one,” said Samuel. After the last of the seven sons passed in front of Samuel, the prophet said, “The Lord has not chosen these.” Then he asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” replied Jesse. “He is tending the sheep.” “Send for him,” Samuel ordered. “We will not sit down until he arrives” (verses 8-11).

That’s when the messenger brought the news to David that the prophet was waiting to see him. David was very surprised. Why would the prophet want to see him? he wondered. And who would guard his father’s sheep?

Just then the messenger took David’s staff and began to watch over the sheep. David hurried away to meet the prophet. As soon as Samuel saw David, he felt a glimmer of hope. David’s bronzed handsome face was flushed from running into town. Samuel could tell he was strong like his older brothers. But their resemblance ended there. There was a light in David’s eyes that seemed to come from deep within him. David wore an air of purity, innocence, courage, and kindness.

“Rise and anoint him,” God said to Samuel. “This is the one.”

Samuel pulled out his horn of oil.

When the prophet touched his head with the oil, David felt deeply moved that God had chosen him, a humble shepherd boy, and the youngest in his family, to one day rule the nation of Israel. His heart was full of joy, gratitude, and praise to God.

Now as David sat on the hill once more, he composed another song of praise to the Lord. He didn’t know what lay ahead of him, but he knew Who was with him.