Who Will God Choose for the Team?

1 Samuel 16:1-13


David Anointed as King

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.” 10 Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 11 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.” 12 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.” 13 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.

David is the last one his father thought would be the one to be chosen. David? Really? Is that who God wants as king?


It isn’t about being the best, strongest, tallest, fastest or… (you can complete the sentence). As someone once said, “God doesn’t called the equipped – God instead equips the called.”


There was an episode on the old TV show The Wonder Years that I vaguely remember. It was about choosing basketball teams in PE class. The teacher chose two captains who picked the rest of their teams. As usual, the poor players were always chosen last — which did little to help their self-esteem. Kevin was the main character in the show. Some of his friends, who were usually chosen last, complained to Kevin. Kevin brought their complaint to the teacher, who promptly made Kevin one of the next captains. He has to choose his team. His best friend — and one of the worst players — looks at Kevin with eager anticipation. Will Kevin choose him early in the rounds — or be like all the other captains?


Kevin chooses his friend — and he felt good about bolstering his ego. So the next round, he chooses another poor-playing friend. Some of those he had chosen were getting after Kevin. “Pick some of those good players. We want to win this game.” Kevin kept picking the losers — and he felt good about it — and they felt good about being picked early.


As I remember the basketball game, Kevin’s team did miserably. They didn’t come close to winning, but they enjoyed the game. They weren’t playing to win. They were playing to have fun. Isn’t that what sports should be about?


If Jesus wanted to win in the religious game, he should have chosen the Pharisees. They were the extremely pious people in the first century. They were the ones who prayed at least three times a day. They knew their scripture. They worked hard at obeying every one of God’s laws. They fasted once or twice a week to show their religious devotion to God. They gave 10% of their income.


Who did Jesus choose? He chose fishermen — known to be crude and foul-mouthed, impatient and hot-headed. He chose a tax collector — known to be a swindler. He chose a zealot — a fanatical revolutionary. Jesus chooses us — known sinners, known to be somewhat less than perfect, known to have all kinds of problems in our lives. As someone else stated: God elects the rejects.


But there is a little difference between Jesus’ team of poor players and Kevin’s team, who at first wanted to win. Jesus’ victory is already assured. So it’s no longer about winning and losing. It’s about enjoying the game and having fun. It is being filled with joy! Having life abundantly!

Let Us Pray

Almighty God, you have called us to be on Your team. Equip us to be your hands and feet, knowing that the victory is already in hand. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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