God’s People, part 47: Jesse

Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah).” (Matthew 1:5-6)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

Jesse-Shepherd-DavidGod’s People, Jesse. We all know the story, right? Samuel was disgusted with King Saul, who seemed hellbent on doing things his own way. Ah, it’s good to be the king, you know? Well, it was for a while; however, when Samuel learned that Saul had captured and kept alive the king of the enemy he was supposed to have destroyed, Samuel flipped out on him. Saul had been notorious for being a rogue agent, doing things his own way for his own gain and God, through Samuel, cut him and his family off from the throne.

While this change didn’t happen overnight, Samuel did immediately go searching for the one who would replace Saul as king of Israel. On his quest, God led him to the town of Bethlehem, to a man named Jesse who was a farmer, breeder and owner of sheep.

Once there, Samuel peformed a ritual sacrifice and then asked Jesse to bring forward one of his sons. One by one, Samuel looked at the sons that Jesse brought before him. Each time, Samuel believed that the person standing before him must surely be God’s’ next annointed one. Each time both Jesse and Samuel were wrong in their judgment. Though each of the young men looked the part of a king in the eyes of Samuel, God chose none of them. Each of the young sons were the ones Jesse thought worthy of bringing forward; however, they were not worthy of being King in the eyes of God.

Finally, Samuel asked Jesse, “Are these all your sons you have?” In reply, Jesse admitted that, “There is still the youngest, but he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.” Samuel demanded that he be sent for at once. When David arrived before Samuel, the LORD said, “This is the one; anoint him.” So, obeying God, Samuel annointed David as Saul’s successor, as the next king of Israel.

The question for us is this, how many times do we pass over God’s choice because, by the sight of our own eyes, someone or something is simply not worthy enough. How many times do we limit people in our perception of them. How many times do we not see the divine worth in the people around us because we think we know them and they just couldn’t be up for the task at hand? How many times do we not see that someone is anointed by God, because we see ourselves or others as better than they are?

Today we are being challenged to lay down our preconceived opinions and perceptions of others. Like David, there are plenty of people who don’t look the part but have been called by God. Like Samuel and Jesse, we have proven time and time again that we are not the best judges in the world. We have shown that our perceptions are often way off the mark, and that we don’t know the people around us as much as we think we do. What’s more, we certainly don’t know them as well as God. Today we are being challenged to drop those perceptions, to step out of the way, and to join with God in encouraging those around us to see their call to be leaders in the Kingdom.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Seeing reality for what it is is what we call discernment. The work of discernment is very hard.” – Lewis B. Smedes

PRAYER
Lord, give me the discernment to separate my perception from reality, and give me an open, compassionate heart so that I may see the true value of others. Amen.

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