1 Samuel 16:6-13 (ESV)
6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” 7 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.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 Then 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 get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 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.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.
In this passage, the Lord sends Samuel to Bethlehem, to Jesse, to anoint one of his sons as the king of Israel. Now Saul, whom the people had chosen, was currently presiding as king; he was tall and handsome (1 Samuel 9:2). Perhaps this is the image that Samuel had as he met Jesse’s sons, that the king God had selected would be tall and handsome.
But God had rejected Saul as king—not because of his outward appearance, but because of his heart. Saul had grown prideful and was more concerned about his own well-being and his own glory than he was about honoring and glorifying God.
God chose David to replace Saul as king. He chose David for his heart. Obediently, Samuel anointed David as king, but it would be years before David would actually reign over Israel. During that period of waiting, God modeled and shaped David into a king who would bring Him glory.
When David was anointed, the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him from that day forward. And he was transformed from the inside out. No, David was not perfect—nor are we. But when David sinned, he repented; and he steadfastly sought to honor and glorify God.
God already knows the condition of your heart. By His grace, He accepts you where you are. But He doesn’t leave you there, wanting to give you the best that He has for you. Put Him first in your life and see how He uses you—faults and all—to bring glory to His Name.
Most merciful God, create in us clean hearts and renew Your Spirit within us, that we would walk in Your ways and bring glory to Your Holy Name. Amen.