Memo 1036: Disqualified
Last week, we began our series on the life of David, my goal being to collect lessons and inspiration to help each of us be people of creativity and purposeful work. We saw in our first entry that David was an afterthought to his family. Samuel had to prod them to find out David even existed. This week, let's look more closely at the root cause of this snub and oversight and how you can even be doing it to yourself.
"SURELY THIS IS THE ONE"
Samuel came with the intent to anoint a new king to replace Saul but, needing to keep that information from Saul, he informed the leaders he had come to conduct a public worship service. He specifically invited Jesse and his sons who obeyed and attended. We read,
Samuel replied, “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “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" (1 Samuel 16:5-7).
When Eliab, the oldest son, came forward, Samuel assumed he was God's choice for he was tall and handsome. However, God dismissed him and all the other sons, having already decided that David was the one. God had weighed hearts and found only David's met the criteria He was looking for. That tendency to look at things as they are externally is a tendency we all have. It's hard not to look at the outward, visible things when considering who is capable of doing God's will. That also pertains to our self-evaluation, for we can be hard on ourselves, quick to dismiss our own potential when God assigns us a purpose or creative gifts.
When the Lord appeared to Gideon, He had a word for him: "When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, 'The Lord is with you, mighty warrior. . . Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?'” (Judges 6:12, 14). Yet Gideon refuted that word, a word he had received from a celestial being! “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family (Judges 6:15). You have probably done as Gideon did when you had a thought or inclination to go, write, innovate, learn, or speak on God's behalf. Before you could even get started, you shut yourself down, waiting for more confirmation.
And then there's the matter of the heart. We have been taught that the heart is wicked beyond description, not to be trusted and in need of constant renovation and regeneration. So even though there was something in David's heart that endeared him to the Lord, you don't think there is much in yours that could be the basis for your call or purpose. You look at how you are on the outside—how you speak or look, your age, gender, height, vocabulary, just to name a few—and disqualify yourself.
Consider, however, that God may have fulfilled a promise He made to Ezekiel in your life: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 36:26). Perhaps you need to stop judging yourself as Samuel evaluated Jesse's sons—by looking at things that aren't important to the Lord. You have quoted the words Paul wrote when God has used you to explain your success: “'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me" (2 Corinthians 12:9).
It's time to allow God to have the final say in your life. Give Him permission to use you as He sees fit. He sees your heart and on that basis, you may qualify based on the work He has done there over the years. God is still in the business of evaluating His servants and His record is perfect and His insight impeccable. If He says you do it, I suggest you put your faith in His perspective. Have a blessed week!