And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are these all the children?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.”
1 Samuel 16:11 NASB
Samuel invited Jesse and his sons to a sacrifice, but whether through pragmatism or callousness, Jesse sees no need to invite David to the event, and he keeps his youngest son in the fields with the sheep. Translated into modern day, this would be like a dad telling his son to keep the shop open while he and the rest of the kids receive a visit from the president. And this visit was even bigger than Jesse could have known. Samuel was about to pick Israel’s new king from among his sons.
As Samuel observes each of Jesse’s sons, God shows him that the future king is not present, but God doesn’t hint that there could be another son. Samuel’s confused by the time he’s evaluated the last son. Surely God did not lie about this being the family of Israel’s new leader. He turns to Jesse. “Are these all the children?” The only rational explanation left to him is that someone is missing.
We see Jesse’s neglect and lack of consideration for David, and it’s easy to despise him for despising his son. But Samuel’s question echoed through my spirit the other day and I began to wonder, what would happen if God asked that question to America? Where are all of our children? Are they all here? Loved and cared for and presented for the anointing God will pour out on them? Or are some of them missing? Forgotten? Buried in the ground because of our fear or need for self-fulfillment?
“Are these all the children?”
Yes, Lord, they’re all here.
“Then where is the king? Where is my anointed?
Where is the one who is after my heart?
The one who will fulfill all I have for him in his generation?”
One of the biggest reason many of these children are missing is abortion, and it would be easy to read my thoughts here and turn them into an angry outcry against abortion. Don’t.
Because here’s the thing, anywhere that life is diminished, marginalized, or destroyed, that’s where the balm of Gilead and the heart of Jesus are needed. Anger and hate and argument are in Satan’s toolbox. Political scheming and name calling, arm twisting and divisiveness–they are weapons of mass destruction and only create more marginalized, diminished, and destroyed people.
Where is David? He is most certainly the aborted child. But he is also the frightened mom. The loathed doctor. The mistreated and ostracized homosexual. He’s the woman or the man on the screen you think no one can see you watching. He’s the socialist hippy liberal Democrat. He’s the bigoted bible-thumping Republican. He’s the person you hate, slander, gossip, and harbor violence against. He’s the child lost in the horrors of human trafficking. And he’s the president of the United States. He’s you.
Life can never be saved by devaluing life. The battle isn’t against abortion. It’s not political or social. The battle is against spiritual forces of darkness that would like nothing better than for us to attack the flesh and blood people they hide behind. Like Elijah’s servant, we need our eyes opened to stop responding in fear at the works of man. We win when we see the issues and people around us the way God see them. Only then can we start to see the shepherd boy that no one else seems to be missing.
Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. Would you have picked David? How do you know? You might have just overlooked him at the grocery store. Let’s not presume, like Jesse did, that we know who truly belongs at the table. The table we sit at is pretty big. Let’s invite all God’s children with our lives and with the grace of Christ. He can do the sorting.