There was a Benjamite, a man of standing, whose name was Kish son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bekorath, the son of Aphiah of Benjamin. Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else. (1 Samuel 9:1, 2 NIV)
This is the man God chose to be the first king of Israel. When Saul became arrogant (1 Samuel 15:12) and disobedient (1 Samuel 13:6-13 and 1 Samuel 15:9), God rejected him as King and chose another. The second King was David, a young, harp playing poet, and shepherd. This time, God told Samuel that height and appearance were not to be factors in the choosing of the next king: “. . . the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, . . . . The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Some of us who are tall, others who are handsome, get by on appearances. We can look like a great leader. But what is going on in the heart? What does the Lord see inside each of us.
Because God used both Saul and David (two very different leaders), this passage also tells me that God can use a variety of personality and leadership types; he even uses people with whom I disagree. Just as God used both Saul and David with their various strengths and weaknesses, I need to recognize that today, God uses each person in unique ways. For example, Mark Driscoll and I are pretty far removed on our positions on the egalitarian/complementarian scale of men’s and women’s roles in the church. Yet, I cannot deny that God has used this man to attract many twenty-something young men to re-engage with church and the gospel. Mark Driscoll, on the other hand may need to recognize that God has used many robe-wearing Anglicans, monks, catholics, and British theologians to build God’s church over the centuries. Perhaps we all need to be more gracious and ask God to show us what is in the heart of a man or woman. Psalm 25:8, 9 says, “Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” May I be a humble learner before God. May I be a man after God’s own heart.
1 Samuel 13:14 New International Version (NIV)
But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
Acts 13:22 New International Version (NIV)
After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’