“He is the one.”
Samuel distinctly heard God say the words. In a flourish, Samuel uncorked the animal horn; the one he had so carefully carried all the way to Bethlehem; the horn that held the olive oil. Not for cooking! No, this oil would be used in a sacred ceremony.
We are not told what words accompanied the pouring of oil on David’s head, but we do know the significance of this action: this “anointing” signified assignment of a special task. David had been chosen by God to be the next king of Israel!
What do you suppose the family dinner table conversation sounded like that night? It could have gone something like this…
|Jesse (David’s father): … I was very surprised at how it all turned out!
|Eliab (Jesse’s oldest son): I realize that it was God doing the choosing and all, but it was unnerving! As we all approached, Samuel kept muttering, “The Lord hasn’t chosen him…”
|Jesse: Please pass the bread.
|Abinadab (Jesse’s 2nd son): All seven of us…one by one… nixed!
|Shammah (Jesse’s 3rd son): When Samuel asked you, “Are there any others?” I thought to myself, “what does he mean? All of us kingly-handsome, nice-and-strong sons are right in front of you!”
David was an unlikely candidate for king. He was a downright surprise candidate! After all, boy-David — who was probably 10 to 15 years old — hadn’t even been initially invited to visit with the prophet Samuel. Nope; small-fry-David was sent to tend sheep.
So why did God choose David?
Because God looks at the inside character of people. (See 1 Samuel 16:7c)
And God liked what he saw.
God decided that David was a man after God’s own heart.
A man after God’s own heart? What’s that mean?
Let’s back up in our Bible story. We know that God was in search of a replacement for Israel’s current king, Saul. Saul had started off as an okay king, but then he turned away from God. The prophet Samuel reported on the consequences for Saul:
You have not kept the Lord’s commands. Your kingly rule is falling to pieces. God is out looking for your replacement; he is looking for someone after his own heart. (Translation of 1 Samuel 13:14).
Of course “heart” in this case doesn’t mean the organ that pumps our blood. (You might know this but what about the youngsters around you? Explain it as: The Bible uses “heart” meaning our inner thoughts and feelings; the part of us where we wrestle with life, where we check it out inside.)
God was looking for someone who had a “heart” just like his!
- Cares about the same stuff that God cherishes;
- Is humble; empties themselves so they are not focused on their own plans and agenda;
- Admits to their wrongs and keeps on turning to God for forgiveness, for guidance and for help.
And do you know what?
God believes that this describes your heart!
God thinks of you as someone who has potential! As someone who displays admirable inside character. You are the one! Chosen by God!
You are a person after God’s own heart.
Yes you! We do not have to be “perfect” to be chosen by God. David was far from perfect! (Refer to 2 Samuel 11:2-4, 14-17.) God values each one of us because we were created by him. God sees good qualities and possibilities in each one of us; each person is important to God!
So what does it mean to be a person after God’s own heart?
Hard work! God gives us a choice. We can choose to work at living up to the way God sees us, or we can ignore God and make a go of it all on our own.
What you can do?
- Talk with your kids about how hard this can be in the midst of today’s societal pressures. Living a Christ-like life means we often have to go against the ways of society. (Good news: God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us attain this; to follow the example of Christ.)
- Role-play situations where this choice may be exhibited: Standing up to a bully; noticing someone cheating; observing someone doing good. (Yes, practice affirming the positive!)
- Over time we come to believe the words we say to ourselves. Fill your child’s mind with affirmations by regularly blessing them.
God looks at our heart, our motivations, and desires, at who we are on the inside. He chooses you! How will you respond?
David is Anointed from an unknown publisher of Bible Cards, Date=early 1900’s; in the Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.