December 15, 2018

A Shepherd

1 Samuel 16:1-13

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

—  1 Samuel 16:11

One by one, the sons of Jesse pass before the prophet Samuel. When Samuel sees Eliab, the eldest son, he says to himself, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here.” But the Lord says, in effect, “You’re only looking at appearances, but I look at the heart.”

When seven of Jesse’s sons have passed before him, Samuel tells Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So then the youngest, the shepherd-boy David, is summoned from the fields—and at God’s command Samuel anoints him king over God’s people.

David turns out to be a much better king than Saul, the first king of Israel. Yet David too has flaws and failings of his own. But God, who sees what we cannot, chooses David, indicating he is “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). Throughout David’s story and in the psalms he wrote, we see a sensitivity and a wonder at God’s glory and power, as well as a deep sense of humility before God, especially when he fails. These qualities make him not only a good king but also a suitable shepherd for God’s people.

Later God makes a promise to David that his throne will be established forever (2 Samuel 7). And this means that God will bring from David’s line the very greatest King and Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

You know all human hearts, O God. Purify ours so that we can be your children after your own heart. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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