How very apropos this reading is, the day after a heated presidential debate in the US. For our Canadian readers and our readers around the world, I am quite certain you can relate to the tension and excitement that comes from political debates and campaigns like the one the US is currently undergoing. In 20 days the US will be electing a new president. The divide has had rippling effects between families, coworkers, neighbors, and communities across the country. We can only pray that, following the election, we can come together as a country and as a collection of smaller communities to support one another and love one another.
King Saul proved to be unworthy of the honor and responsibility of leading God’s people. The people mourned as his leadership disintegrated before their eyes. The prophet, Samuel, took a dangerous covert action by meeting with Jesse with the intention of finding and anointing a king to overthrow Saul. Fortunately for Samuel and for David, God was fully involved in this political move. To Samuel’s eyes, any of Jesse’s large and formidable-looking sons would have made wonderful leaders in place of Saul. But God had other plans. The smallest, youngest son, David, had the heart God was looking for.
In the next 19 days I humbly ask people all over the world to pray about the upcoming election in the US. May we pray that God will look into the hearts of the candidates and then lead and guide voters to call into service a leader that will honor the responsibility.
1 Samuel 16:1-13
The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.” Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.