‘So hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.’ Ezekiel 3:17b
When Eliab - the eldest son of Jesse - came in, Samuel was so impressed with his appearance that he thought this man would surely become their king. But, fortunately, the Lord had said, ‘You are to anoint for Me the one I indicate.’ Samuel was a servant of God and he had learned to listen to Him since his youth. Thankfully so, otherwise a big mistake had been made. Who relies on his own insights can sometimes seem prosperous, but to the kingdom of God he is a misleading danger. For such people never learn to listen to what God says, they follow their own spirit (Ezekiel 13:3).
Now Samuel was, apart from being a servant of God, also an ordinary person. When he saw Eliab enter, Samuel was convinced Eliab would be king of Israel (:6). But even though he was so sure of this, he still kept listening to what the Lord would say to him. And God told him something from which we too can learn a lot. ‘People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ The hidden truths of the heart cannot be seen by others. Only God knows the deepest stirrings of our hearts.
Jesse had eight sons, but it seems David could – according to his father – not qualify for kingship at all, for he had to stay with the sheep, as usual. If a son of Jesse was to become king, then surely, it had to be one of the seven… Jesse had not yet learned to listen to God and he still followed the inclination of his own heart. Thankfully, God had Samuel.
Are we prepared to be so inwardly still too, so that the voice of God becomes more important than our own thoughts which we often so take for granted?