Red and white tulips on the Cathedral grounds

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.

The Reading from the Book of Samuel brings into view a striking contrast. In this moment of building and rebuilding our commitments of faith, this passage from Samuel challenges our judgements and our seeking the will of God. The choice for a new leader was at first glance driven by outward appearance and fitting a certain type. We are often cherishing our own opinions and assuming that God will agree with us. Samuel shows us how if Samuel had been left to himself, he would have been guided his choices by the natural preferences. We see Samuel surveying the oldest son of Jess with an inner satisfaction. It was then that Samuel heard the Lord say, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Throughout this Lenten season we are not to be focused on fixing up our outward appearance, it is our heart that the Lord is looking at and examining. The one who was ready for service was the one who was seeking to be close to God. This private encounter and ceremony of anointing was for the setting apart of a servant for public service. Let our focus in private moments prepare our hearts for public service so we can build and rebuild together.


Keep me, Jesus, Keep Me

Keep me ‘neath Thy mighty wing, Keep me, Jesus, keep me; Help me praise Thy Holy name, Keep me, Jesus, keep me. O my Lamb, come, my Lamb, O my good Lamb, Save me, Jesus, save me. Hear me as I cry to Thee; Keep me, Jesus, Keep me; May I that bright Glory see; Keep me, Jesus, Keep me. O my Lamb, my good Lamb, O my good Lamb, Keep me, Jesus, Keep me.

(Waverly Turner Michael)