Surely the relentless days of sheep keeping ran together for the youngest son of Jesse.
It is most likely that he had no idea that the day of Samuel’s visit to the family farm would be any different for him. He wasn’t invited to the sacrifice. Jesse had a strong grasp on the situation. Everyone knew that King Saul was in big trouble. He felt sure that God would find the next king among Jesse’s impressive collection of young men. Still this had nothing to do with young David. Somebody needed to watch the flock and David was really good at that so let him stay in the field and write some more of those songs.
The Prophet Who Mumbled
The ceremony was a strange one as the old Prophet Samuel with a horn of anointing oil in his hand went down the row of fine young men. No one knows how many passes he made before stopping in front of Eliab, the eldest son of Jesse. The moment that Samuel used to look deep into the eyes of Eliab was at least an hour long for those looking on. The frown on the wrinkled face of the last judge of Israel did nothing to reassure Jesse or his brood. The old man was heard by all but understood by none as he mumbled a conversation with God.
The frown became a slow rotation of the head from right to left, increasing in speed and violence. A familiar voice in the old man’s heart told him that God saw things differently than men. He was looking inside for something that was absent from Eliab. Jesse was numb and barely breathing as his next two sons, Abinadab and Shammah, each one every bit as striking in appearance as their older brother, got the same treatment.
Samuel made it through all seven sons with the same mumbling result. He knew God’s voice and that the chosen one had to be here somewhere. Inquiries revealed the existence of David out in the fields. This must have annoyed Samuel because he wouldn’t let anyone sit down until David was arrived.
The young man’s appearance was striking, even more handsome than his vaunted brothers.
The Prophet locked eyes with him and as he did his heart began to race. He saw something deep in David’s eyes that only God had seen before. The eyes were clear. Unclouded by mixed motives and undimmed by selfish schemes, they were windows to a soul that knew something of God. This was the heart of one who pursued the heart of God.
Quickly, the horn of oil was lifted high and upturned to splash its holy contents on the head of this shepherd boy who would become the King. The oil signified that he had been chosen for the position.
- He would go into battle in the power of the Name of the Lord as giants and pagan armies would prove unable to defeat him.
- He would lead the people of God with a skillful hand and a musical heart.
- His heart would be called one that is after—meaning it was fashioned in the likeness of—the heart of God.
- But when that likeness failed him and he sinned against God, his heart continued to pursue the heart of God in repentance.
When Jesus Walks among Us
Like Samuel, the Lord Jesus walks the well-ordered ranks of worshipers gathered together, holding a vial of precious oil, looking for hearts that are true. He has an anointing for each of us—a person to be, and a work to do—a calling, a selection that defines the life we should live. When God chooses, we call that the anointing. God does not leave us to serve Him in our ability—He empowers us to do what He calls us to do. This empowerment is also called the anointing.
It is the business of each of us to return the searching gaze of God, looking deep into His heart. For the anointing flows when the heart of the worshiper connects with the heart of God.
1 Samuel 16:1-13
The Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.’ Samuel said, ‘How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.’ And the Lord 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 you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one 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?’ He said, ‘Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.’ And he sanctified 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 now before the Lord.’ 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 does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’ Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. 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.’ Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen any of these.’ Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are all your sons here?’ And he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.’ And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.’ He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, ‘Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.
1 John 2:20; 27 NIV
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth….As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit — just as it has taught you, remain in him.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NIV
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Lord Jesus, my life is no accident. It can only be a miracle that every man, woman, and child on earth has been chosen. We are chosen for salvation for Your died for all. We have been packed with talents and interests that we discover in play as children and in work as adults. These gifts are indications of what You have put us on earth—Your Divine Choice for Us! I want to walk in your anointing today. I want to sow the good seed and water the young plants, tend those who are threatened by confusing weeds, and I want to harvest the ripened fruit of ministry. This is somehow done in a mysterious connection between my humanity and Your divinity, my skills and Your anointing for thus You have chosen me! Thank You, Lord! Amen.
Spirit of the Living God
Words and Music: David Iverson
Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.
Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me,
Melt me. Mold me. Fill me. Use men.
Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved