By the end of 1 Samuel 15 and Samuel’s confrontation with Saul on account of his disobedience, we read that they go their separate ways and Samuel does not see the rejected king again until the day of Saul’s death. The bible exposes us to the prophet’s tender heart when it says plainly, “Samuel grieved over Saul” (1 Samuel 15:35). As chapter 16 begins, enough time has passed that the Lord challenges Samuel to move past his grief and fill his “horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided myself a king among his sons. (16:2)” The horn of oil means one thing, he was to anoint Israel’s next king! Though he has questions, and expresses fear for the task at hand, we also see simple obedience: “Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem.” Before we consider the nature of God’s anointing this week, and the implications for us, I encourage you to reflect upon the importance of obedience. Sometimes, Christians can chase after God’s anointing as a means toward blessing and power in their lives. We will consider a Christian’s anointing later in the week, but for now I want to encourage you to see the blessing and protection from simple obedience to the Lord.
Something to See:
Once settled in Jesse’s household, Samuel begins the process of identifying the Lord’s king. All he knows is that he is one of Jesse’s sons. Seven sons are presented and Samuel looks first upon Eliab and thinks, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him (16:6)” Curiously, he makes the same mistake the nation makes with Saul and judges by mere appearance. “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 a man sees: man looks upon the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.(v7)’” The first thing we notice is that the recipient of God’s anointing is assessed in a way that doesn’t come to us naturally. It didn’t matter to God how natural a leader Eliab looked. We tend to see how a man looks, but God sees what a man is. This is one reason Paul encourages us to “regard no one according to the flesh (2 Corinthians 5:16a).”