Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. They look at life through rose-colored glasses. Walk a mile in a person’s shoes before passing judgment on their life.
All of these metaphors speak to the topic of perspective. If you look at an issue from one direction, you will see one thing. But if you look at it from another direction, you will see a different picture.
What we think we need is quite different from what we really need. How we see the world is vastly different from how God sees the world. How we choose leaders is often the polar opposite of how God chooses leaders.
1 Samuel 16:1-13 presents the story of God sending Samuel to anoint David as the next king of Israel. It emphasizes the point that we need a new perspective. We need to see life and people from God’s viewpoint.
Plan B: A king chosen BY Israel (1a). The story begins by explaining that God had rejected Saul as king. Saul had been chosen by the people (8:18; 12:13) rather than by God. If you study the previous chapters, you discover that God had a different view of Saul than the people did.
The people thought Saul was a take charge leader. God viewed him as impatient (13:8-12). People viewed him as decisive while God judged him as rash and impulsive (14:24-30, 39, 43-45). People liked Saul because he thought for himself while God saw his actions as disobedience (15:1-3, 8-9). The nation viewed Saul as analytical while God saw that he rationalized and shifted blame (15:15). Instead of being a man of the people, he was really a people pleaser (15:24). To people Saul looked very impressive, but God knew that he was over image conscious (15:25, 30).
Plan A: A king chosen BY God (1b-13). God instructed Samuel to stop grieving over what might have been and instead, set out to anoint the man God had chosen as the next king. While Samuel was initially reluctant and fearful, he obeyed God and carried out the task.
Samuel journeyed to Bethlehem under the pretext of offering a sacrifice. While there, he invited the family of Jesse and his sons to join him. Samuel thought each of Jesse’s seven sons looked like kingly material. However, God rejected each one of them. Instead, God explained, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
Samuel learns that Jesse had an eighth son who was caring for the sheep. Not only was he the youngest, he was also the smallest of the boys. Since he was not included in an adult gathering, David was possibly 11 or 12 years old at the time. Following God’s instructions, Samuel anoints David and the Holy Spirit takes us residence in his life from that day forward.
We can gain several principles about perspective from this story. In the darkest of times, God is still at work. We need to trust his plan. When God gives us a task, we need to obey his instructions and carry out the task. Since God views life and people from a different perspective, we should ask him to open our eyes. Since God chooses leaders on the basis of their heart, we should ask God to increase our desire for him. Lastly, if God calls us to a task, we should rely on his provision to equip us to be successful.
This is the synopsis of a sermon preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on May 31, 2020. It is part of a series of expository sermons on the life of David. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.