“Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?” Proverbs 20:6
The answer? God can.
King Saul had forfeited his position as King of Israel. The esteemed prophet Samuel was sent on a mission to anoint Saul’s successor. He was directed to the house of Jesse and once there. he began the process that would lead to the anointing of the next ruler of Israel.Even the wisest among us can misjudge the character and potential of an individual. Although we are all equally loved with a love that spared nothing to redeem us, we each have our own paths to walk in life. And one thing the Bible teaches us and our own experience reminds us is that you cannot judge a person’s future by their present situation.
Looking upon the impressive form of Jesse’s oldest son Eliab, Samuel was certain he was gazing at the next king who would rule Israel. But then Samuel heard the famous words that give us some insight into the mind of God.
“Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” I Samuel 16:7
If we can pause long enough to consider these divine words of wisdom we can gain much. It reminds us that what’s inside of an individual is more important than the outward appearance. It cautions us against two extremes. The first is the natural tendency to equate the favorable appearance of a person with equal virtue or at the least a specialness that warrants better treatment or reception.
King Saul, who I suspect was a strikingly impressive person to look at, failed in the area that counted most – his character. The nation in their desire to be like other nations, took pride in their representative. But all of this was folly and a valuable lesson to us today.
The second extreme we have to guard against is the natural tendency to look at the disadvantaged and uneducated or unrefined as less worthy of our interest. Jesus’ example as he walked this earth was to touch the untouchable and to love the seemingly unlovable. He saw the best in others and knew the potential they each possessed. Just ask the demoniac freed from a legion of devils. Or ask the woman trapped in adultery. Or talk to the man who after 38 years of helplessness became a vibrant witness to all of the goodness of God.
The prophet Samuel, after examining all of the other sons of Jesse who were present, knew that the Lord had chosen none of them. After calling the youngest son David to appear before him, Samuel hears the words that would mark the beginning of a new era for Israel.
“Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” 1 Samuel 16:12
I cannot begin to know what must have been the feelings in that room that day. Nothing this big had ever happened to the household of Jesse, let alone the young boy David. He has been informed that he, a shepherd boy, would be the next king of the nation.
This week as we discuss Words of Wisdom, we find the example of David a helpful guide for the points we are discussing. When we talk about the Test of Life we see in David that during our young years we are determining our future destiny. Our fidelity, integrity and virtue are known to God. Each day we are fitting ourselves for further usefulness or sadly we are disqualifying ourselves. Everyday counts.
But if there is one area that we all struggle with from time to time it is waiting for the Lord. David had been anointed to be the next king of Israel, yet, the very next day he was back in the fields shepherding the sheep. There was no external sign that his life had changed. The menial tasks he performed the day before his anointing were the same menial tasks he performed after his anointing. David had to wait on the Lord.
Waiting for the Lord is an exercise of faith. To believe that what He said will come true even though what we see seems to indicate the opposite is the great test of faith. To be patient as providence opens doors that no man can shut and closes doors that no man can open will take a life of prayer and devotion.
David, through no maneuvers of his own, found himself a servant of Saul working in the actual palace that he would one day rule. Yet David still waited on the Lord. Even as he was hunted by the deranged King Saul, David had to hold onto the promise of God. He had to banish thoughts of revenge and subdue the inclination to take matters into his own hands. David had to wait on the Lord.
So today we are each faced with our unique callings by God. He has a plan for every life and to the contrite heart He makes His will known. He takes us on a faith walk that will deepen our trust of Him. He reminds us though His word that He has never failed nor can His plans be thwarted. But we must learn to wait on the Lord.
Here are a few Hit the Mark questions for this week’s lesson discussion:
- What does “trusting God” mean to you?
- What, if any, is the difference between believing in God and trusting God?
- How can one know if they are taking matters into their hands and out of God’s hands?
- Is it permissible to retaliate (verbally, physically, etc) against those who do us wrong? Why yes or no?
- Does having the faith of a mustard seed mean it’s ok to have little faith? (if your answer is yes please explain why Christ would say, “O ye of little faith” to those who did not exhibit strong faith)
- Is the following statement True, Mostly True, Somewhat True or Not True: The reason God allows all of us to go through difficult times is to increase our trust in Him. Explain your answer.
We close this week with a promise about the surety we can place in God. He’s given us all the evidence that heaven could offer.
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:31-31
Until next week, let’s all continue to Hit the Mark in Sabbath School!
For online lessons please visit http://www.ssnet.org/lessons/15a/less08.html