And the Lord said unto Samuel, … fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. 1 Samuel 16:1.
When the sacrifice was ended, and before partaking of the offering feast, Samuel began his prophetic inspection of the noble-appearing sons of Jesse. Eliab was the eldest, and more nearly resembled Saul for stature and beauty than the others. His comely features and finely developed form attracted the attention of the prophet. As Samuel looked upon his princely bearing, he thought, “This is indeed the man whom God has chosen as successor to Saul.” … But Jehovah did not look upon the outward appearance. Eliab did not fear the Lord. Had he been called to the throne, he would have been a proud, exacting ruler….
No outward beauty can recommend the soul to God. The wisdom and excellence revealed in the character and deportment, express the true beauty of the man; and it is the inner worth, the excellency of the heart, that determines our acceptance with the Lord of hosts. How deeply should we feel this truth in the judgment of ourselves and others. We may learn from the mistake of Samuel how vain is the estimation that rests on beauty of face or nobility of stature.
The elder brothers, from whom Samuel would have chosen, did not possess the qualifications that God saw to be essential in a ruler of His people. Proud, self-centered, self-confident, they were set aside for the one whom they lightly regarded, one who had preserved the simplicity and sincerity of his youth, and who, while little in his own sight, could be trained by God for the responsibilities of the kingdom. So today, in many a child whom the parents would pass by, God sees capabilities far above those revealed by others who are thought to possess great promise. And as regards life’s possibilities, who is capable of deciding what is great and what is small? How many a worker in the lowly places of life, by setting on foot agencies for the blessing of the world, has achieved results that kings might envy!
Conflict and Courage p. 160
—–Please pray for B who is struggling right now. L
One hot summer day, Edwin Harmon, my grandfather, begged his mother to let him go to the river with a group of his friends. He was only 8, but he felt there would be no problem since he was going with others. His mother sighed. Ed was supposed to be watching Harold, his four year old brother.
Looking fondly at her first born, Ada relented. “You may go if you take Harold with you. Now you must watch him carefully, because he cannot swim.”
Ed promised that he would not let Harold out of his sight, gave his mother a big hug, grabbed his little brother’s hand, and started running as fast as Harold could go. His friends had been waiting for him by the dusty road, and when they saw his happy face, they let out a shout of victory. Ed’s friends were not too happy when they found out that little brother had to tag along, but they were glad to have Ed with them, so they allowed Harold to tag along.
As they walked along the road, they stopped and waited for a few more boys to join them. Finally, they got to the water. Ed turned to Harold and told him to stay on the river bank and not go near the water. He showed Harold some stones and sticks and acorns to play with. In the little boy’s imagination those simple objects could become anything.
Harold played happily for a long time but eventually became bored. Seeing his big brother and the other boys laughing and splashing and dunking each other, Harold suddenly felt very left out of all the fun. In spite of his brother’s warning, he headed down to the water. Soon he was wading along the edge.
Ed was having so much fun that he had not checked to see if Harold was alright for a very long time. Harold felt like he was a big boy too and became braver and braver. Soon he was out in deeper water. Then it happened. Whether he fell or stepped into a hole he did not know, but soon he was over his head and struggling to stay up. None of the boys saw his struggle. None of them heard his cry. Soon he sunk beneath the surface and did not come up again.
Suddenly from out of nowhere came a huge black dog. Jumping into the water he plunged down and grabbed the child in his mouth. This action got the boy’s attention and fear replaced their happy laughter. Looking up at the riverbank, Ed’s heart stood still. Harold was not to be seen.
Within seconds, the large animal had brought the boy to the river’s edge and he and Harold were instantly surrounded by all the boys. That stray animal was petted and loved. Ed was especially grateful. Harold was alive! He was coughing up water and wheezing a few breaths, but he was alive!
About that time, Ed looked up and saw his mother coming. He knew he was in big trouble. Ada wrapped Harold in her large apron and cuddled him. Tears of relief and gratefulness ran down her cheeks. Her tear-filled eyes and troubled face was a greater punishment to Ed than the beating that he knew his father would give him when he got home.
As they walked back to the house, Ada told her two sons how she had felt impressed to pray for her boys. She had suddenly had such a feeling of dread that she could no longer stay at home. She knew she must go and see if her boys were alright. Ada looked down at Harold, whom she was carrying in her arms. Harold snuggled into her ample chest and reached his arms around her neck. He was tired from his ordeal, but he was safe.
Praise God for His protecting care! ?The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.? Ps 34:7 Our Heavenly Protector might not send a stray Black Lab to rescue us like He sent to rescue Harold, but we have His promise of protection and deliverance in my grandmother’s favorite psalm.
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God, in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day, Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation, There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.” Ps 91