God chose David; God chooses you

“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!

David is anointed with oil

What do you suppose the family dinner table conversation sounded like that night? It could have gone something like this…

open quote
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!

Someone who…

  • 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.

Who? Me?

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?


Photo credits…
David is Anointed from an unknown publisher of Bible Cards, Date=early 1900’s; in the Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Who do you want to become?

Do you remember that persistent question you faced from a very young age?

What do you want to do when you grow up?

I always hated that question. (Because, how did I know?)

I believe we are asking kids (and ourselves) the wrong question. Instead we should be asking…

Who do you want to become?

We are surrounded by a culture where the focus is on “appearances.” Who thinks about what a person can become? People are impressed by good looks, by how well you speak or how strong you are. How are we to help our kids combat this bias?

By teaching them to look inside.

Our current Rotation is a good place to start. In our story, David is chosen as the next king of Israel. Can you hear his family sputtering, “Him? He’s just a young boy; a lowly sheep-keeper.”

Ah, but we learn that God doesn’t look at outside qualities, he looks at our inside, at our heart.

word art

Here’s what God tells Samuel about why David’s older brother, Eliab, wasn’t the one chosen king:

'Samuel, don’t think Eliab is the one just because he’s tall and handsome. He isn’t the one I’ve chosen. People judge others by what they look like, but I judge people by what is in their hearts.  1 Samuel 16:7

What did God “see” in David’s heart?


David is thought to have been between 10 and 15 years old when he was designated as Israel’s next king, but he didn’t take the leadership right away. David continued to care for sheep, building courage, a good leadership quality. David also wrote Psalms. We can look in his Psalms to find other seen-by-God heart characteristics.

Bring out a Bible and read the following Psalms. Try to figure out the heart quality conveyed.

  • Psalm 23 “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want…” (Potential expressed heart-quality: Trust)
  • Psalm 5:7 “I am filled with wonder as I bow down to worship.” (A worshipful attitude)
  • Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. 
Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt.” (Gratitude)
  • Psalm 5:3 “Each morning you listen to my prayer, as I bring my requests to you and wait for your reply.” (Asking for help)
  • Psalm 19:11 “By your teachings, Lord, I am warned; by obeying them, I am greatly rewarded.” (Obedience)
  • Psalm 25:11 “Be true to your name, Lord, by forgiving each one
of my terrible sins.” (A repentant attitude)
  • Psalm 16:2 “I say to God, ‘Be my Lord!’ Without you, nothing makes sense.” (taken from The Message) (Realizing the importance of a connection to God)

God sees these qualities and possibilities in each one of us; each person is important to God. God looks at who we can become.

Discuss with your family about what heart-attitudes you see in each other. You may be surprised!
Are their qualities you need to work on adding?

Who do you want to become?


Photo credits:
Heart-shaped word art was created by moi, using Image Chef Word Mosaic.

Starting off the school year with… A Chosen King

I’m a summer kind of gal… kicked-back, long days, sunshine, and gardening! Yes, please! So fall is not my favorite time of year. But there is one thing that I do find appealing about fall: the return to a full program of the Rotation Model!

Rotation Model logoThe Workshop Rotation Model of Christian Education at FUMC rocks! Here’s why I get excited:

  • A Bible story is explored and learned in-depth through a variety of creative teaching mediums (workshops) over a period of several weeks.
  • Each new workshop visited deepens kids lesson memory.
  • Adults who help out in our program are learning right along with the kids! (It’s adult ed disguised as a children’s program!)
  • Kids from age 3 to 6th grade, whether attending Sunday’s downtown or Saturday’s at Green Wood, are all focusing on the same story, which allows families to share learning at home.

To kick off, we are studying about how a lowly shepherd-boy, David, was chosen by God to be the King of Israel. The prophet Samuel anointed David with oil (shown below).

Why did God choose him as king??

Read about our story in 1 Samuel 16:1-13. And come along with us as we begin our year of Rotation!

Stained glass from a cathedral in Ely, England

To see a growing list of opportunities to foster faith learning at home…
for this month’s story :: click here.

This is where the “Schedule” used to appear — which grades were visiting which workshops over the course of this Rotation. However it was removed as it was sort of out of date 🙂 Our current schedule of workshops, for whatever Rotation we are currently on, can be found on this page.

For prosperity, here is what we did in each workshop during this Rotation:

  • In the Art Workshop students will create modern “name” art based on the style of artist Paul Klee. Contemplate your inner character as you work!
  • In the Cooking Workshop two teams of students will make muffins with two different recipes. One has something special in it and one does not! Students will note that both look the same in a raw state. I wonder about the baked muffins?
  • In the Creative Writing Workshop students will create an acrostic poem using the word “heart” and describe their inner character. What attitudes are in your heart?
  • In the Bible Skills & Games Workshop students will participate in a variety of games – voting with your body, a game of “Spoons,” and a quiz game that involves collecting “heart” qualities (graffiti-style).

If you are in the area please join us for the fun learning at First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, MI.

Photo credits:
Stained glass of David’s anointing by Lawrence OP, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.