December 19, 2017

King David

1 Samuel 16:1-13

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

—  1 Samuel 16:7

God sent Samuel to Bethlehem to anoint a new king. The current king, Saul, had failed to obey and honor God, so God decided to announce his choice of the next king.

Jesse’s sons became the focus of Samuel’s attention: a line of seven young men—starting with the oldest and tallest. Samuel made his way down the line, and as he stopped to look at each one, God told him that was not the one. Saul had been chosen king partly because he was tall and handsome, but this time God made a point of saying that height and appearance don’t matter. God looks at what is inside—in the heart.

After Samuel reached the end of the line of Jesse’s sons, Jesse informed him that his youngest son, David, was out in the fields tending sheep. David was chosen to be the next king because, as Samuel put it, God “sought out a man after his own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). God saw in David a heart that would commit to him without reservation.

God finds possibilities for grace in the most unlikely of people. To choose the youngest son to be a king seems strange. To say that a baby born in a stable, who dies on a cross under a false sentence of treason, is the Savior of the world and God in the flesh is incredible. But the mystery of Advent is that this is how God works—with the least, the weak, and the foolish. God likes to surprise us.

Lord, we are weak and foolish, but we know you can use us, like David, to bring your grace to your world. Amen.

About the author — Thea Leunk

Thea Nyhoff Leunk has been a high school English teacher, a director of Christian education, a pastor of discipleship, and a regional coach for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. She is currently the senior pastor at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Thea has also written courses for teens and young adults on world religions, Christian faith traditions, and science and the Bible. She and her husband have three adult children.

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