I wanted to share something that I came across last Wednesday in our Old Testament studies in 1 Samuel. There is a little lesson tucked away in the story of the selection of David as king, in 1 Sam 16.
Samuel has been sent on assignment from God to designate a new king. As he is doing that, he is presented with the seven older sons of Jesse. Clearly, Jesse is directing the presentation of his sons and he completely disregards his youngest son David.
When pressed by Samuel, all Jesse has to say about David is “There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.”
It seems as though David is not considered to be a man at this point, at least not by his father. He is overlooked.
A little later in the chapter, we read a remarkably different account of David. When Saul requests that a skillful musician be found, one of the young men has the following to say of young David: “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, and a handsome man; and the LORD is with him.” Wow! Is this the same David that was overlooked by his father? It would seem that David’s peer knew him better than his own father did.
Thankfully, David’s heavenly father knew him well. He knew that he was “a man after his own heart,” and that he would be a good king. As the Lord spoke to Samuel earlier: “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, …because God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
As a father, I felt a strong admonition from this lesson to pay closer attention to my children, to know them, to see their strengths and weaknesses, that I might seek to help them succeed, and not hold them back. Rather than be like Jesse, I think we should seek to “launch” our kids.
“Know well the condition of your flocks, And pay attention to your herds” –Proverbs 27:23