St. Andrews-Cheney Memorial Church
August 1997


What is God Looking For?

The Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you grieve over Saul, seeing I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons." And Samuel said, "How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me." And the Lord said, "Take a heifer with you, and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.' And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me him whom I name to you."

Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, "Do you come peaceably?" And he said, "Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice." And he consecrated Jesse and his sons, and invited them to the sacrifice. When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lord's anointed is before him." But the Lord said to Samuel, "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." Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, "Neither has the Lord chosen this one." Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, "Neither has the Lord chosen this one." And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, "The Lord has not chosen these." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all your sons here?" And he said, "There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and fetch him; for we will not sit down till he comes here." And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. And the Lord said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is he."

I Samuel 16:1-12 RSV

All of us know the story of David and Saul the first two kings of Israel. Saul is remembered as a bad and wicked king, while David is remembered as a man after God's own heart.

In the Scripture quoted above we read about God rejecting Saul as king and selecting David to replace him. Perhaps you have wondered why Saul was removed and David given his throne. Let's compare the lives of these two men and see if we can come up with an answer.

We'll start with their good points.

Saul was a physically imposing and attractive man. We read, "...and when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward." (I Samuel 10:23) Saul was a commanding figure and certainly looked like a king.

Along with his physical stature Saul possessed leadership abilities. Following his coronation the people readily followed his lead. And Saul led them courageously, defeating many of Israel's enemies.

David was also physically attractive. It is written that, "he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome." David, too, looked like a royal figure.

It is equally clear that David possessed great leadership ability. He was never without a following, even when being pursued by Saul. David's courage is unquestioned. How else could he face a giant like Goliath armed only with a sling and a few stones?

So far we see little difference between David and Saul. Let's turn to their bad points, for maybe there we will see what distinguishes them.

Saul's bad points are numerous indeed, for he disobeyed God's express will on several occasions. Saul intruded into the priest's office, offering sacrifice at the sacred altar. When commanded by God to completely destroy the Amalekites and all that was their's, Saul spared their king along with the best of their cattle and other goods. Saul was even willing to commit murder and made several attempts on David's life, for Saul perceived him to be a rival to the throne.

What about David? Here too, sad to say, we see little difference, for David also disobeyed God's express will.

Lusting after his neighbor's wife, Bathsheba, he took her while her husband, Uriah was away on a military campaign. When Bathsheba became pregnant, David conspired to have Uriah killed to cover up his sin.

Up to this point there really doesn't seem to be much difference between Saul and David. We might ask, was David chosen because he looked more like a king than Saul? No! Was David chosen because he was a more capable leader than Saul? No! Was David chosen because he was more courageous than Saul? No! Was David chosen because he was less sinful than Saul? Here again we must answer, No!

Why then did God choose David to replace Saul? The answer is found in God's words to the prophet Samuel, "...for the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."

God looked into David's heart and knew that he would use his abilities to glorify God and not himself, as Saul had done. God knew that David would truly repent of his wrong doing when he sinned, unlike Saul who always made excuses and blamed someone else for his sins. God was not looking for a perfect man. There were none to be found, anyway. What God wanted was a man who would endeavor to glorify Him. This, God did not find in Saul, but He did see these qualities in David.

Saul was a failure, not because of a lack of ability, but because of a lack of dedication to God. David was a success, not because of superior talent, but because God was first in his heart and life.

What is God looking for in us? Is He focusing on physical appearance and ability? No, such does not last. Is God looking for the most intelligent? No, intelligence may be used in destructive ways as well as constructive. Is God judging us on the basis of our leadership ability and talent? No, for that too is not always used for the good.

God is looking for men and women like David of whom God said, "I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my own heart, who will do my will." (Acts 13:22) That is the type of person God is still looking for. May we be such people.

Rev. Frank M. Levi


(LUKE 18:42)
"Your faith has made you well!"

Your faith has made you well;
It's put your soul at rest,
Because His words do tell:
He'll do for you what's best.
Though you may suffer pain,
As Christ upon the cross,
It shall not be in vain,
Nor shall it be a loss.
For, every trial you bear
Just gives you strength within.
For others you'll then care
And make them hope and grin.
Then they, like you and Paul,
Will learn whate'er their state
To find content with all
And praise their Lord, so great!

-Marilyn M. Smith-

Diocesan Council
August 23, 1997

Here at
St. Andrew's Church

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