This passage hit me head-on today:
When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s annointed stands here before the Lord.” 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 people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinidab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” – 1 Samuel 16:6-12
Here are the ideas that came to me:
1. The most mature and powerful believer of the day STILL was looking at things the way they were outwardly (i.e. the world’s way). His values were still messed up. Among other things, this means that if you’re still struggling you’re in pretty good company.
2. God sees what humans don’t. And if we are to see what God sees it will take a miracle of grace! So pray for grace.
3. If nobody takes notice of you, don’t fret. God sees what you do for Him even in secret and will one day reward you openly. Just don’t assume a certain timetable. Your reward might be reserved in heaven…only. What if God should choose to hide you in obscurity…your whole life? Would you be happy with just the knowledge of His love and approval? Or would you freak out and have to get a drug-fix from the world somehow?
4. Eliab was humiliated in front of everyone. God will not spare your pride if you insist on operating by the world’s value system. This kind cometh forth by prayer and fasting!!! Have you ever been offended because you assumed a level of prominence that God didn’t grant or ordain? And it ended up really embarrassing you? Or maybe it’s been working pretty decent for you (as far as the world goes). But now you’re realizing that burning on fossil fuel can’t last forever. If so, repent and embrace Kingdom values: the greatest is servant to all. The first shall be last and the last first.
5. Eliab became jealous and bitter toward David from that moment. David had to face Eliab’s jealousy and criticism later. If God promotes you for His reasons (and not necessarily man’s), don’t expect the other crabs in the pot to be real proud of it. They will try to pull you back down in the pot! And better watch yourself when someone else is promoted and not you! (Now you finally know what the crab picture was all about! I hope you didn’t judge by appearances…)
If you’ve read this far, you probably have some applications of your own. Why not take a moment and jot them down in a comment so that others can glean from them?