It has been quite a while since I’ve post. A lack of imagination, drive and general business led me to let this blog whither. I would rather not keep it that way, at least not too much, and so here is another scripture post.
The first passage is from the book of Samuel:
9 But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No! but we will have a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Hearken to their voice, and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”
There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish, the son of Abi′el, son of Zeror, son of Beco′rath, son of Aphi′ah, a Benjaminite, a man of wealth; 2 and he had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he; from his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.
(1 Samuel 8:9-9:2
I have been thinking lately about how what people want is not necessarily what is best for them. And so while scanning scripture I came across this. It is interesting that the handsomeness of Saul merited multiple mentions, not just once. Plus the mention of his height as well. It got me thinking about how Saul must have looked very much like what Israel imagined a king would be. Tall, handsome, probably covered in muscles. He would have been a very imposing and masculine presence. And yet of course God sees what us humans do not. Or perhaps, what us humans do not want to see. And this of course is part of the message here, as is explained not much later when we are first introduced to David.
6 When they came, he looked on Eli′ab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” 7 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 sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abin′adab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and fetch him; for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is he.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.
(1 Samuel 16:6-13)
Now it is interesting because David too was handsome. And yet that was not the reason why he was chosen. He wasn’t chosen because he looked the part of a king, but because as faulty as he was, David would always return to God when the time came. David always repented, unlike many of his descendants, even the ones who started out good. Of course, David was also very young at the time as well, and so probably wasn’t anywhere near the masculine presence of Saul. We see here how we must be careful about judging by appearance. Ultimately it is character and heart which matters. One might have both and be unattractive, or have them and be attractive as well.
The Israelites unfortunately never really lost this trait. Even to the time of Jesus, they did not understand. So it was well that Isaiah prophesied thus:
Who has believed what we have heard?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.