On this Fifth Sunday of Lent, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises. This week’s theme is “From Kingdom to Exile,” which begins with the establishment of the Davidic Dynasty and takes us through to Babylonian exile.
After God rejects Saul as His king, he sends His prophet, Samuel, on an errand to find Saul’s successor. God directs Samuel to the family of Jesse and Samuel starts interviewing Jesse’s sons.
He begins with Eliab, Jesse’s eldest. Apparently Eliab has a stately—perhaps regal—appearance about him and Samuel is taken by Eliab’s bearing. But God rejects Jesse’s eldest, reminding Jesse:
“God does not see as a mortal, who sees the appearance. The LORD looks into the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7.
And so it goes with the next six brothers. Each one is rejected, including Abinidab, who later would prove to be a mighty warrior.
Finally, Samuel has Jesse send for his youngest, David, described as “ruddy, a youth with beautiful eyes, and good looking.” 1 Samuel 16:12. And God chooses David, the youngest and smallest of the brothers.
As David’s life unfolds, we begin to catch a glimpse of why God favored him over his older brothers. Ultimately we understand that God chose David because David was a man after God’s own heart. Acts 13:22.
What does this mean, to be a man after God’s own heart? David reveals this in song:
I say to the LORD,
you are my Lord,
you are my only good. Ps. 16:2.
David recognizes that he derives value solely from his relationship with God. Maybe this is the criterion God uses: our voluntary complete dependence on Him. A desire to seek—and please—Him.
Even Samuel, God’s own prophet, fails to use God’s criteria when seeking a king. Samuel thinks Jesse’s eldest—Eliab—is good king material. And after God rejected Eliab, Samuel believes each successive son to be adequate.
But God chooses the youngest son to be the hero of His people.
So I have to ask myself: how do I choose my role models? What criteria do I use to select the heroes in my life?
Do I look to athletic prowess or sporting accomplishments, like seven Tour-de-France wins? Or Cy Young Awards?
Do I look for popularity, intelligence, charisma?
Randy Travis noted that “your heroes will help you find good in yourself.” Maybe I should seek heroes who will help me to see God’s image in myself and others.
If this is the criterion, who has lived up to this standard? The teacher who encouraged me to live to my potential. My Dad who taught me to serve others. The wheelchair-bound quadriplegic who always had a smile on his face.
God places many people in my life who help draw me closer to Him. How can I be a hero to others and draw them closer to God?