1 Samuel 16:1–5
16 Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.”
2 But Samuel asked, “How can I do that? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”
“Take a heifer with you,” the Lord replied, “and say that you have come to make a sacrifice to the Lord. 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you which of his sons to anoint for me.”
4 So Samuel did as the Lord instructed. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town came trembling to meet him. “What’s wrong?” they asked. “Do you come in peace?”
5 “Yes,” Samuel replied. “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then Samuel performed the purification rite for Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice, too.
What was Samuel’s problem? He was panic-stricken. He was just plain scared. Where were Samuel’s eyes? Well, they certainly weren’t on the Lord. They were riveted on Saul.
From a human viewpoint, of course, Samuel was right. King Saul was murderous. But God was completely aware of the situation. After all, Saul was the one God was going to use to shape David’s life in the in-between years, between the sheep and the throne. God knew Saul very well.
By the way, do you have a Saul in your life? Is there somebody who irritates and rubs and files and scrapes and irritates you? God knows all about it. That person is all part of His plan, strange as that may seem. The Lord doesn’t answer Samuel’s remark about Saul. Instead, He says, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ You shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate to you” (1 Samuel 16:2–3).
Follow the Leader! That’s what God is saying. You don’t have to be smart to be obedient. You don’t have to be creative or clever. All you have to do is obey. We think we have to sort of outwit God on the horizontal. But God says, “I know your situation. I’m telling you exactly what you ought to do, so go do it. Take a heifer, go to Jesse, offer the sacrifice, and look around. I’ll tell you the man I’ve chosen for the job.” Isn’t that simple?
God has some extremely exciting things in mind for His children. For some it may happen tomorrow. For some it may happen next month or next year or five years down the road. We don’t know when. For some, it could happen today. But the beautiful thing about this adventure called faith is that we can count on Him never to lead us astray. He knows exactly where He’s taking us. Our job is to obey, to live in close fellowship with God as we walk our earthly path. In the process of that simple arrangement, God engages us in His eternal plan.
We don’t have to be smart, creative, or clever to obey God. We just obey.
— Charles R. Swindoll