How God's Election Works
1 Samuel 16:10-13
Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, The LORD has not chosen these.…

Our subject is the choosing of a king from among the sons of Jesse the Bethlehemite. This narrative shows how the choosing was done. I have a situation to offer. There is no doubt about the offer or about the gift; the only doubt lies with yourself, as of old the difficulty lay among the sons of Jesse. For what is the office of the preacher, but always to be on the errand on which Samuel went, to that glen in Bethlehem of Judaea? We are ambassadors of Christ; we are here to offer to men a crown, a Kingdom that never fades away. Ah, wake up and listen! "The King has come very near to people who could have had no expectation that He would come so near, when the preacher stands before an audience in London or anywhere else. Why did not Eliab get Samuel's gift?" "Ah!" says the Spirit of God, virtually, "just, because he was too big; he made too big a show in the flesh, and too little a show in the spirit. And a number of us are kept from Christ, and kept out of the Kingdom, for the very same reason. If you are going to be proud and lifted up, man, you will do for the devil, and you will come to the devil's reward at the end. But the Son of God will do without you. If there is anything that God sets Himself against, it is this. "A high look is an abomination unto God; and that is what makes me tremble for some people when I am preaching the Gospel. Unless my judgment utterly fails me, you have not a gracious look, my poor lad; it does not seem as if the humbling and subsequently elevating grace of God had ever scratched the surface of your pride. There is a veneering over you, and would be God, as your friend, I could strip that paint off! Now, will you remember that the Lord Jesus Christ looks upon the heart, and a high look and a lofty look are an abomination unto Him. He will go past us, notwithstanding all our physical inches, and all our intellectual endowment, and He will take somebody out of the gutter, lift up that soul, and show that he is beholden absolutely for nothing to pride of mental or bodily girth. But before Samuel got to David he had more to do with other sons of Jesse. In came Abinadab, the second; and he said, "Neither hath the Lord chosen thee." Then came Shammah — he passed by and out. And seven sons of Jesse, in they came, and out they went.

I. WHY DID THESE SEVEN LOSE IT? Look at that procession — and I ask, what was wrong with them? Well, I think this is it: Eliab lost it because he was too big, too much concerned with himself, too proud; he would not do. And I rather think these other sons lost it because they were away at the other extreme; while Eliab was too big, they were too small, too little. Do not go about flaunting like a peacock, drawing all eyes to yourself and your strutting. But, on the other hand, and as much on the other hand, do not be a nobody. Do not be a round O, a mere decimal; and do not be thus, because life has in it one splendid opportunity that should compel every man to be bright and eager, and on the outlook for it, as it domes within his reach. I think, too, that it is depressing to read how these seven came in and went out, when I read their names, because in the Old Testament names meant something. Names nowadays mean nothing; they mean less than nothing and vanity. I met, not, so long ago, a poor abject creature with the glorious name of Hampden stuck upon him as a kind of sarcastic label of what he was not! So you have it hero. One of these is Abinadab, and another Shammah; great names that have something noble in them, as many Hebrew names had. Yet, notwithstanding their names, there may be no more in the owners of them than a day's work, a day's whistling at the plough tail, an evening's pleasure, a night's sleep, and their wages, Oh, they sadly lost it; and it came so near to them. and it hung after all so far above their heads! For when we are going to be nobodies, God will treat us like that, and will not, come and thrust upon you this salvation of yours, that cost Christ, His precious blood and all the wonderful thirty years of His incarnate history hero among men. They missed it because they deserved to miss it, because it, would have been wasted on them.

II. NOW, HOW DID DAVID GET IT? After these seven came in and went out, David's turn camel. Here David came m, and be is described for us; just as Eliab was described so David is. And they sent and brought him. Now, he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look at. The Lord hath no objection to fine looks, the Lord has no objection to a fine physique, and no objection to your developing your physique, in all natural, healthy, gymnastic exercises, as far as you please and as far as you may. God never wastes Himself on nothings and nobodies. Of course, to Him be all the praise; it is He who makes us what we are. Oh, will you humbly return from the pride and conceit that are killing you, and come to God, for He will build you up on a new plan altogether. In came David; and the Spirit of God said to Samuel whenever his eyes lit on him, "Arise, anoint him; for this is he." How did David get it?

1. First of all. he got it because he was there to get it. Suppose somebody had come to my father and said, "I want to choose one of your family for my situation, and I had been considered likely, and that I had been sent for, expecting to find me faithful to little things — namely, keeping crows away — but, lo, I was gone away hazel-nutting or bird-nesting, miles off!" The point is this: Be faithful where you are, whatever your sphere, be diligent,. And if you want the call of God in the Gospel to surely settle on your head, be on hand when the call is made. I want to say a word about non-churchgoing. Man, you are playing the devil's game, and he is winning with that trump card every time, since he got you to give up going to bear God's Gospel preachers, and since he made you think there is nothing in it. Notwithstanding all, there is the Gospel, and God is behind it, and His offer is sincere; therefore, quit your careless ways and be on hand, be in the market when the marketing in heavenly merchandise is going on.

2. David got it because he was there to get it, and, last, of all, because he took it. You can imagine David being just like the rest, and saying to Samuel, "I beg to decline. Really. Samuel, you have landed upon me too suddenly; don't you see, prophet, I have no time to think of this? I was out there keeping sheep, and I was suddenly called in; and here you are going to make me king, with all that that involves. I have no ambition that: way; it is not for me; give it to Eliab" — I think they all thought Eliab was the man "and let me go away back again." Do not take it home to think about it. The chances are — and here the parable of the sower comes in — that as surely as you go cut undecided, the devil will pick your pocket of my invitation and call to coma to Christ. For many of us are like the wayside hearers. "The fowls of the air came," says Christ, "and picked up the seed." Ah! this great day that, came to David did bring him trouble, it did bring him suffering. He was not, called to the throne, nor after that to the skies, but be was sustained, he came to the kingdom, and he came to the Eternal Kingdom in the fulness of time. There were dark days when David was hunted among the hills, when he might have said that the darkest day that ever came to him was the day when Samuel came and called him from following the sheep to be God's anointed king. But he held on to God, and God held on to him; and God justified all that He had said, and God fulfilled all that He had promised.

(John McNeill.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The LORD hath not chosen these.

WEB: Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. Samuel said to Jesse, "Yahweh has not chosen these."

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