King David

“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 man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7

Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13

We Americans know the demands we place on the candidates for president. After a grueling primary season, the winners of their party’s nominations face off in what has become everything from a beauty pageant to an ordeal of personal background checks. Every four years the Electoral College declares our winner. More than our fair share of presidents have passed the test by being tall and handsome.

God had a much simpler process in mind when he chose David to reign as king following his rejection of the disobedient King Saul (1 Samuel 15:4-9). God assigned the prophet Samuel to anoint the king of Yahweh’s choosing. The standards were not what the people expected. Samuel himself was surprised that the Lord passed on all of Jesse’s sons until he arrived at the youngest, and probably the smallest, David. What an irony that the text describes David’s appearance! “He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features” (1 Samuel 16:12).

We humans are apparently incapable of overlooking a person’s appearance when choosing leaders. Samuel himself did not take long to ignore Yahweh’s advice—as evidenced by the note in 1 Samuel 16.

While David proved to be the standard by which Israel’s kings were evaluated, he too was undone by falling for the beauty of Bathsheba later in his life.

Such is the human condition. Advent reminds us that God sends a savior king to his created people—people seemingly unable to look beyond outward appearances. Thank you for sending us the king who came with the appearance of an infant!

Lord, save us from our need to prove our worth through outward appearances and the easy snap judgments we make about people. May we learn from you to value obedience and submission.

Chuck Buller, M.Div., Director of Seminary Advancement,
Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary