A Heart for God (Part 1)

A Heart for God
By Charles E. McCracken
GROW January 19


Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. 1 SAMUEL 16:13
David was in the field caring for his father’s sheep. Nothing about the day’s routine prepared him for the remarkable event that would powerfully impact his future.

He may have known that Samuel was in town. His brothers had been instructed to consecrate themselves at the invitation of Israel’s judge for a sacrificial offering (1 Sam. 16:5). David had not been included; but, when he saw his father’s servant running across the field calling him home, everything changed.

Samuel’s purpose in Bethlehem went beyond offering a special sacrifice. He was on a mission to anoint the next king of Israel. God specifically directed him to the household of Jesse with instructions to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the next king.

Jesse presented each son to Samuel, as requested. Without taking time to evaluate their qualifications, Samuel was ready to anoint the eldest son, Eliab, on sight. Samuel was in a hurry; he was in danger just for being in Bethlehem. If Saul heard he was anointing a new king, Samuel’s life would be in jeopardy (Sam. 16:2).

God had to remind Samuel that He looks into the heart to see the true measure of a man (v. 7). And, while his stature and good looks were obvious, Eliab didn’t have what God sought (I Sam. 17:28). Neither did Abinadab, Shammah or the four other sons Jesse paraded before Samuel.

After a moment of confusion, Samuel realized not all sons were present. When questioned, Jesse dissed David; surely he was too young, too small. However, when pressed, Jesse admitted his youngest was tending the sheep; and then looking across the fields, pointed to the lone figure.

Samuel immediately ordered that David be summoned.



David anointed king by Samuel, Dura-Europos Synagogue, Syria, panel WC3 : [PD-Art], via Wikimedia Commons ~ Enhancement: MKM Portfolios


Samuel may have been surprised by his first real look at Jesse’s youngest son. David was not only young, he is also described with the Hebrew adjective admoni— signifying a red head with a ruddy complexion—a sight seldom seen in Israel.

David’s cheerful countenance and sun-bronzed physique may have impressed Samuel; but, ultimately these external qualities were irrelevant.

At this point, God advised Samuel, Arise, anoint him; for this is the one! (v. 12). Samuel obeyed God’s leading and anointed David, in the midst of his brothers (v. 13). From all outward appearances, they looked more qualified—were older—more experienced—even served in Saul’s army; but, God overlooked them.


David anointed by Samuel, artist unknown [{PD]}, via Wikimedia commons ~ Enhancement: MKM Portfolios

Instead, God chose their youngest brother—the brother they thought would never be anything more than a shepherd (1 Sam. 17:28).

In a way, they were right. David was destined to serve the Lord as the shepherd-king of Israel. He had developed strengths and positive character traits in the shepherd’s fields that set him apart from his own brothers and even King Saul.

Samuel’s words to Saul announcing that his kingdom would end were straightforward: The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart (1 Sam. 13:14). 

The apostle Paul confirms God’s choice of David saying,

He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will (Acts 13:22)

God had rejected Saul.

It was imperative that the right man lead the nation of Israel. David was that man.

What did David possess that his brothers did not?

He had a heart for God and was willing to do all that God required of him.

David may not have been Samuel’s first choice, but he had a heart for God and that made him the right choice.

You can also be suitable for His service if you develop a heart for God. Others may not notice or expect great things from you; but God does and desires to work through you!

© Charles E. McCracken 2016, text content only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author.